A few days ago, I wrote a post on fear. I was very open about the fears I have faced. One came to mind later – the fear of conflict. I find that some people love it. I hate it, but it is a part of life.
We run into conflict at every turn – on the road, in the workplace, at church, at home, in the grocery store, etc. Because conflict is inevitable, why do we fear it or try to avoid it?
- We are afraid people may be disappointed with us if we do not meet their expectations. As someone in ministry, I have to frequently remind myself that my calling is not to meet others’ expectations but to honor the Lord.
- We are afraid of the consequences. I have seen many pastors refrain from being change agents because they are afraid they will lose their jobs, people will leave the church, giving will decrease, etc. So much goes back to the fear of man being stronger than the fear of God. Ouch! That’s convicting!
I have learned that we must find the balance of being compassion while addressing the conflict properly. It can be done. Some avoid it while others go full-force bulldog, biting all who get in the way.
I can remember a time in ministry when I had to address a major issue in the church. I did not want to have to do it. The issue should not have had to have been an issue. An abrupt change had taken place for which the church was not ready, and I had to find a balance. I consulted with the deacons, and they approved the compromise. In the overall picture, it was a healthy move. Looking at every little detail, there was a small group in the church that wanted it handled a little differently.
That was one of many conflicts I had to handle. God removed my fear of conflict during that ministry, but the aftermath did make me a bit gun shy. I am constantly being reminded in this season that I must face my fears and go ahead and do things afraid.
I can assure you that conflict avoidance only makes things worse. I can tell you multiple stories I have observed or experienced personally. The domino effect can create long-term issues.
It can be painful to be transparent about such things, but we will never grow forward if we try to hide it. There is no need to hide. Let’s run to the Father who invites us to cast ALL our cares upon Him. He can bring us victory in any area. Rest in that truth today!