Chapter 7 Community is worth fighting for: Conflict
"Communities need tensions if they are to grow and deepen. Tensions come from conflicts... A tension or difficulty can signal the approach of a new grace of God. But it has to be looked at wisely and humanly. " ~Jean Vanier
p 127 There is no greater challenge in building community than to master the art of handling anger and conflict.
But Jesus is.
p 128 We have been invited into the Fellowship of the Trinity. When we violate oneness, when we contribute to relational brokenness, it doesn't just affect us and the other person. We are contributing to the destruction of that which is most prized by God and was purchased by him at greatest cost - the oneness of the Trinitarian community.
p 130 Matthew 18:15 may be the single most violated of all the instructions Jesus gave the human race.
p 131 To be alive means to be in conflict. It's part of the dance of the porcupines. People may not be normal, but conflict surely is - at least in our world.
p 132 Interestingly, while Jesus tells his hearers they should take the responsibility to set things right if the other person has sinned, in another setting (Matt 5:23-24) he tells his hearers to take the first step if they are the ones in the wrong. Jesus puts the burden on you in both cases.
Why? Because people who value community are people who own responsibility to deal with relational breakdowns.
p 132 "Go" Jesus says. Take action. Don't let resentment fester.
p 133 Anger exists to tell you something is wrong and to move you to action. Anger exists so you will be motivated to make it go away. However, remember Proverbs 14:17 and Ephesians 4:26.
p 134-135 Causes of our anger? Fear? Frustration? Hurt? What outcome do we want? to win? to hurt someone?
p 136 Sometimes you should become angry. However even then you still must decide how to express your anger.
p 138 Conflict is inevitable. Resentment is optional.
p 139 The need for sensitivity is one of the most important - and often misunderstood - aspects of healthy anger management.
p 141 The simplest guideline is to approach the other people the way you would want to be approached in their place.
p 142 We must speak truth in love - clearly.
p 143 The goal in conflict resolution is not to win or score points - it's reconciliation. Your aim should be to restore the relationship. Reconciliation is rarely simple and almost never quick.
p 144 Direct confrontation doesn't always do good. Sometimes it escalates the conflict. Sometimes it leads to violence. Confrontation can do tremendous damage. Then we need a miracle. God created one. It's called forgiveness - that's in the next chapter.