Staying on top of conflict so that community is restored and strengthened is difficult. I appreciate the counsel of Peacemaker Ministries. In their description of the slippery slope of conflict describe what triggers most conflict. When I have unmet desires, differing expectations, or minor differences I can evolve into a play for control that drops off into either an escape response or an attack response.

While I would love if all my responses would stay geared towards peacemaking, I respect the reality that I do not always succeed.

Escape responses come from a desire to avoid unpleasant people or situations instead of trying to resolve differences.

Attack responses are evidence of a desire to hold on to power and control instead of preserving a relationship.

Power is the currency in both escape responses and attack responses.

How do my responses to unmet desires or confused expectations change when I do not look at the issue in terms of power and instead seek the view of grace?

The grace of God is the truth that God has made peace with us and between us through Jesus Christ. A peacemaking response builds on the strength of love, mercy, forgiveness, and wisdom.

The love of God in Christ Jesus transforms the relationship I have with God, and I am thankful that the compassion of Jesus Christ transforms the way I view my relationships with others.



A Cycle of Disobedience

In the book of Judges we find the stories of the Israelites as they struggle to keep their eyes fixed on the Lord God. When they become apathetic, forgetful about God, they begin to follow the false gods of the people around them. God allows them to go into their disobedience so that they can find out what life is like without him. It is lousy. The Israelites live under the burdens of raging rulers who harm them. They cry to the Lord for mercy. The Lord God provides a judge for the people who rescues them from their bondage to falsehood. There is peace in the land. The peace does not last. It lasts for maybe forty or eighty years but after a generation or two the people become forgetful again. This cycle of disobedience is not unique to the book of Judges. It is a cycle that every Christian becomes familiar with. I give thanks that the Lord has heard our cry for mercy and raised up for us a wonderful judge, Jesus Christ. Jesus delivers us from our enemies. I seek the Holy Spirit to keep our eyes focused on the prize.