I will admit to hating conflict to the point of sometimes failing to deal with it. This is a hard admission for me because I love people and sometimes conflict and confrontation are the path to good outcomes. On Thursdays our Celebrate Recovery meetings include 8 principles based on the Beatitudes. If you read the Beatitudes closely they are immersed in the conflicts we face in life ... submission to a greater good/power, properly expressed grief, placing ourselves in a position of humility, giving up time and energy to seek God's path of righteousness, having mercy when our spirit wants revenge, choosing purity when more pleasing options exist and (a biggie) making peace when other actions are more natural.
Our Revelation church this Sunday is Pergamum. The people of Pergamum have many of the conflicts listed above. They live in a place Jesus calls "Satan's home." One would think that Satan would embrace and promote an atmosphere of conflict. But often Satan leads us to just do nothing about issues that internally destroy us. For example, Christian Life Resources reports that since 1973 there have been over 50 million abortions. There have been 200,000 drug overdose deaths in the US since 2000 ... some of these have impacted people right here in Abbeville. The US ranks (in Ranking America) 14th in Education and 23rd in Science Scores among ranked countries. Do we ignore and tolerate these issues or do we oppose them? Pergamum chose the path of tolerating sinfulness within the midst of the Church. Maybe they choose to say "Why can't we all get along?" or "I just don't want to get involved." I see a lot of that these days. And what Jesus reminds the Church at Pergamum is that we can oppose these things now (when they are small) or have greater conflict later (when Jesus personally comes to oppose them with the "sword of His mouth"[v. 2:16]). I remember the old Fram oil filter commercial that says "you can pay me now or pay me later."
I wonder if we have (in our families, our state and our nation) decided that the path of no conflict is, in itself, a solution. My dad told me something very wise about this. He said, inaction is, in itself, a path of action. Some things are worth conflict. Let's remember that Jesus found our salvation and redemption worthy of conflict and a "hill worth dying on."