As soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the LORD had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, “You must die!”
Conflict for Christ
Many years ago, Steve Turner and Frank Weed teamed up to author a book entitled, Conflict in Organizations. The book is a how-to manual on dealing with conflict in the workplace. As they detail how various individuals react to conflict, Turner and Weed describe one specific group as “Concealers.” Concealers are willing to do a great deal not to experience conflict at all. According to the book, there are three basic types of concealers. First, there are the “Feeling-swallowers.” Feeling-swallowers will smile even when a situation is causing them great distress. Second, there are the “Subject-changers.” Subject-changers transition the conversation to a less confrontational subject as soon as possible. Third, there are the “Avoiders.” Avoiders will go far out of the way to put distance between themselves and any potential conflict.
Many of us can see ourselves in these descriptions. Conflict, after all, is unpleasant. Avoiding the unpleasant, therefore, is understandable.
Avoiding the unpleasant, however, is not a solution. It’s not a solution in the workplace. And it’s not a solution when it comes to serving as a witness for Jesus and his Word.
Let’s be candid, here. There have been all kinds of moments you and I have allowed to slip away—moments that were opportunities to share the message of Jesus with someone else. We let them slip away, however, because we just didn’t want to be bothered. We didn’t want to be bothered with a potential “awkward moment”—a potential conflict, with all the unpleasantness it might bring.
And that’s how my old sinful self often works. It doesn’t openly rebel against my Lord. It just finds a reason to put things off.
It’s time to come to repentance. It’s time to recognize how often I have put my needs ahead of someone who desperately needs Jesus. It’s time to find healing in the forgiveness that Jesus has purchased for me at the cross.
What’s more, it is in that very forgiveness that you and I will find fresh courage. We will find fresh courage to risk conflict and confrontation for the sake of Jesus and his gospel.
Lord Jesus, forgive the many times I have given in to my fears. Wash me clean. Give me fresh courage to live and speak for you. Amen.