January 12 – Peace
Read: Ephesians 4:22-32
Many practitioners of various professions develop a knack for items specifically related to their area of expertise. Mediators develop a knack for recognizing conflict and causes of conflict: an invaluable skill to assist those who've asked for help. Quite often I can see the signs of conflict sprouting up before others in the room are even aware there might be a problem. It's also not uncommon to find seriously conflicted situations where there has been an implicit agreement by all involved to tacitly ignore and suppress the conflict itself.
I assumed everyone could perceive latent conflicts and so I rarely hesitated to point them out. Usually I had quite a few suggestions for resolution as well. It was quite dismaying when my actions resulted in additional and increased conflict rather than the result I wanted. Imagine my surprise when my offer of help and utilize my expertise was met with accusations of creating conflict for conflict‘s sake. Eventually I realized that tolerance for conflict is different for each individual. Some people are much less sensitive to perceiving a conflict than others. For these folks a conflict might need to get much more pronounced before they recognize a problem. An analogy might be the differences between two individuals' senses of smell. One might be overwhelmed by the mildest perfume while the other doesn't even notice there is a smell to be sensed.
People – me included – get used to the pain from ongoing conflicts in their lives. It can be like a sore tooth that isn‘t a problem unless you bite the wrong way. You keep meaning to get the tooth fixed, but you don't think of it until it's a problem, and it's not often a problem. Then, one day, you have an abscess and need a painful root canal instead of a relatively painless and quick filling. You might not let a tooth get that far, but have you thought about how much pain your latent conflicts have to inflict before you're motivated to change them?
Do I have any latent conflicts that I need to resolve?
How is Christ calling me to make peace in this situation?