Alternative Conflict Options
If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
- Galatians 5:15
On Tuesday we mentioned two different reasons we "bite and devour each other" ... to use Paul's words: scarcity and triumphalism. We engage in conflict in order to survive, protect ourselves, and win. What does a healthier alternative look like?
Scarcity is a real thing. There aren't always enough resources to go around. There are real threats to our safety and comfort. But God gives us healthier ways to respond to scarcity than "biting and devouring" our neighbors, spouses and friends.
If they say that "Necessity is the mother of invention," perhaps we can say that "Scarcity is the mother of work." Scarcity can prompt us to roll up our sleeve and work together to find creative, resource-expanding options. We are created in God's creative image.
When faced with a scarcity-induced conflict, see if you can link arms with the other party to come up with solutions to expand the pie rather than just fighting to make sure you get a piece of it.
On the triumphalist side, there are healthier options there too. Being created in the image of God, we were designed to rule and reign, to bring order out of chaos, to be in charge over our small and delegated corners of the cosmos. Our hyper-competitive expressions of conflict are just that good impulse gone awry.
When faced with a triumphalism-induced conflict, see if you can find a Win-Win Option where both parties have a chance to contribute their God-given powers of leadership and dominion.
As men and women created in God's image, we don't have to run from conflict. God doesn't have to do that. Instead, we can move into even the most intense conflicts with creativity and love.