Insulated from conflict?

By Dave Henning / February 17, 2023

“Holiness doesn’t protect us from conflict.  No matter how much we pray, read the Bible, fast, or give to the poor, we will not be insulated from conflict.”- Rich Villodas

“When Cephas came to Antioch, I (Paul) opposed him to his face.”- Galatians 2:11 (NIV)

As Rich Villodas moves on in Chapter 7 of Good and Beautiful and Kind, he talks about conflict in the Bible.  In particular, Rich  highlights the intense moment between Peter and Paul, as found in Galatians 2:11-21.  Because Pastor Villodas finds their conflict instructive for our own conflicts.

Most significantly, Pastor Villodas describes Peter and Paul as two of the most known and revered disciples of Jesus.  Pillars of the church in the New Testament,  holy men of God.  Yet, when Paul recognized dangerous, hypocritical behavior on Peter’s part, he opposed him to his face.

But Jesus established a new way of relating to God and to one another.  Hence, people not in a right relationship with God were made right through faith in Christ.  Therefore, Rich stresses, we can learn four lessons from this emotionally and theologically charged conflict.  Today the author covers the first lesson.

 1.  Healthy conflict requires confrontation.  First, Pastor Villodas defines confrontation as conflict that requires face time.  For many, though, confrontation feels scary and excruciating.  But it’s possible to have those difficult conversations.  Above all, Rich considers the following sentence liberating, even though the original context involves shame.

The sentence comes from Curt Thompson’s The Soul of Shame.  It reads: “I do not have what it takes to tolerate this moment.”

However, Rich stresses, that’s a lie!  Certainly, such moments are difficult.  Yet, we can get through them.  Absolutely!

In conclusion, Rich talks about the harmful effects triangulation wreaks in our lives and relationships.  Because in many instances, triangulation occurs when you talk to everyone about the problem except the person we need to speak to!

Today’s question: What ramps up your desire to be insulated from conflict?  Please share.

Coming Monday: the February Short Meditation, “Weary traveler, restless soul”

Tomorrow’s blog: “Addressing conflict cleanly”

About the author

Dave Henning

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