How do you respond to conflict? A friend, who is a peace-maker recently told me her boss counseled her to stop walking away when things get heated and stay in the conflict. Do you believe, that being a peace-maker means you should walk away from conflict? Proverbs 27:17 encourages healthy conflict, “As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another”. This is a reference to conflicting opinion, theology, vision, strategy, etc.
Sharpening iron is not gentle and does not happen if one piece of iron is not available and in the blacksmith’s hand. When one piece of iron is skillfully struck against another pressure, sparks, heat and noise are created. For sharpening to occur this process has to be repeated, often. When Jesus used the term “peace-maker” in Matthew 5, he wasn’t talking about the co-dependent desire to make everything “ok” for everyone else. Peace is not the absence of chaos, it is the manifest and recognizable presence of God in the midst of conflict. Effective peace-makers stay in the conflict, because they know as long as they are in the chaos, the power of God can move through them to bring genuine and lasting peace.
When you engage with people who challenge your opinion, theology, vision and strategy, know you are in the expert blacksmith’s hands. He is sharpening and honing your character and wisdom, so you become more effective at cutting through confusion, manipulation, fear and deception. Next time you want to exit the room when the sparks fly, smile and choose to stay in the conflict so the master blacksmith can forge His peace through you.