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Necessary Conflict

by on May 26, 2017


I’m not a guy that enjoys conflict.  In fact I’ve been a guy that has always tried to avoid conflict with two exceptions.  The first being that I enjoyed competitive sports and I liked the battle that occurred on a wrestling mat when I was, shall we say, a younger man…  I also appreciated a good fight when I was younger.  It allowed me to test my metal so to speak.  I’m not proud of that anymore by the grace of God.  In fact I’m mostly repulsed by it but it’s a part of my past that I can’t ignore.

But sometimes conflict is necessary and sometimes it’s good.  As a Christian we must have conflict because we are in a world that is hostile to Christianity and hostile to truth.  There are also times to confront sin.  It could be in our own home, or it could be within a church.  But make no mistake it is necessary and it takes courage.  Lest we forget that no coward can enter the kingdom of heaven we must know how to be confrontational but maintain godliness.

Here are four examples of where conflict is necessary.

Church Leadership

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.  Acts 20:29-30

The job of an elder is to protect the flock from wolves.  To keep the flock safe from false teachings and from those that will even arise up from within.  To deal with problems that arise and head them off before they become problematic.  With this tremendous responsibility there is required great courage.

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.  Acts 20:28

It is with Christ’s blood that the church was bought and as one that must give an account this bears a significant weight.  As my pastor once told me “church leadership is no joke”.  He’s right.  Christ will judge them to a stricter standard and that is serious business.

Church Body

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works… – Hebrews 10:24

One of the purposes of the local gathering of believers is to care for one another.  This is done through helping with physical needs but it is also done by helping with spiritual needs and one of the spiritual needs is observing one another.  We should be watchful, not with a desire for “gotcha” but for a desire to see our brothers and sisters growing in holiness.  To stir literally means to irritate and agitate.  To incite or provoke.  Not very popular, I would say, and a couple things we must think about in this incitement that it is ultimately because we love them.  We desire to see them purified.  And it must also be done with gentleness and meekness, considering ourselves and our motivations (Galatians 6:1).

We must know them and here is the problem for most churches is that they really don’t know them.  They don’t spend time with them so it’s difficult to “consider” them.

As iron sharpens iron so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. – Proverbs 27:17

The Home

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. – Ephesians 5:25-27 

Husbands you are to be prepared for conflict in the home.  Are you ready?  If you’ve been married for more than a week you know that conflict will arise in the home and it won’t always be pretty.  But the conflict I have in mind here is not an argumentative conflict.  It’s not a self serving conflict.  It is a selfless love.  An agape love.  It gives itself away that the other is the beneficiary.  I love my wife by giving myself up for her.  How do I do that?  I don’t hide away in my “cave”.  I talk.  I confront in times of non-conflict.  I talk with her if I see sin in her life.  The Scripture says that I wash her through the word that I might present her to Christ better than when I first met her.   I know how this sounds because I struggled with this for years and still do but this is a necessary conflict that produces peace and harmony in our relationship.  When we deal with things biblically it’s not surprising that things go well.

In The World

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.  – John 15:18

We will have struggles in this world and especially if you are submitting yourself to the Great Commission.  If you step out and work at disciple making and biblical evangelism I can assure you that hatred and persecution will come upon you.  Do we shrink and withdraw?  Do we retreat to our bunker or hideaway in secret societies?  No, we must confront.


Because the world is dead in sins and transgressions…  (Ephesians 2:1).  If we love God and love people then we are compelled to tell them the truth.  We are under the conviction of the Spirit to tell others the good news.  The good news which is not good news to them.  It’s a despicable message to most.  It’s a foolish message.  But it’s necessary and without it none will be saved.

The Lord Jesus Christ

Lastly, I want to consider the Lord Jesus Christ.  If we are to be Christians then I guess the best course of action is to follow the examples that Christ left for us to follow.  Now, first of all we need to be sure we are actually talking about the Jesus of the Bible.  Not the one that those on the street will say “shouldn’t you be more like Jesus?”  They have a “Jesus” of their imagination, one that won’t save.

“I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” – John 8:24 

Necessary conflict.  Jesus confronts the false religion and tells them to believe in Him or die…  it’s no more complicated than that.  And that got Him killed didn’t it?  Do you have to die on the streets preaching Christ?  I don’t know; are you willing?

Not only is church leadership no joke, but Christianity is no joke.  We are called to a life of discipline, of self control, of self denial and that requires obedience to the Scriptures.  If we are to confront sin and to challenge those around us then conflict will always be necessary.  It can be done with gentleness and love but it must be done.

This list is by no means exhaustive but my desire is to help us think biblically about certain areas that there might be confusion.  I used to think that being a Christian was just being nice to everyone and not offending people.  It is not my desire to offend but the truth is offensive to those that live in sin and as a Christian the only hope they have is to turn to Christ.  And that message is as equally unpopular today as it’s ever been.



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One Comment
  1. GloryToGodAlone permalink

    Reblogged this on Glory to God Alone.

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