Seeing conflict as an opportunity leads to an amazingly effective approach to managing conflict, which I refer to as “stewarding.” This approach gives the phrase conflict management a unique emphasis. When Jesus talked about managing something, he was usually referring to a servant who had been entrusted by his master with certain resources and responsibilities (e.g., Luke 12:42). The Bible calls such a person a steward. A steward is not supposed to manage things for his own pleasure, convenience, or benefit. Instead, he is expected to follow his master’s instructions and look out for his master’s interests, even if they conflict with his own personal desires or convenience (John 12:24-26).
The concept of stewardship is especially relevant to peacemaking. Whenever you are involved in a conflict, God has given you a management opportunity. He has empowered you through the gospel and entrusted you with abilities and spiritual resources. His Word clearly explains how he wants you to manage the situation. The more faithfully you draw on his grace and follow his instructions, the more likely you are to see a constructive solution and genuine reconciliation.
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) pp. 38-39.
Food for Thought
With the economy struggling as it is, most of us are grateful to even have a job, let alone worry about trying to get a promotion. But remember, you already have been promoted to management!
So are you being a good steward of the conflict God has given to you to manage on His behalf? Are there any conflicts you are “stewarding” today according to your own desires–rather than His desire? Are there any conflicts you are managing by your principles rather than His? With God’s grace, any conflict you’re facing can be transformed by seeing it as a stewardship opportunity for which He has given you ample resources to manage. Remember: God is the best manager of all. He would never give you a responsibility without the resources to meet that challenge.