Facing Conflict

Do you like conflict? Like confrontation? Like to make someone else angry?

How do you deal with it?

I hate it. My basic life orientation is toward peace, calming people, making people feel good. Yet, sometimes I get into situations where I need to face conflict and confrontation. A mentor told me once, “The trouble is you’re a change agent.” Yes, if you try to make changes, you’ll upset someone. Then you have to face it.

There are at least two of those situations in my life right now…no, maybe three.

There’s a story in the Gospel of John that has double brackets around it in my translation. This story was not universally included in ancient transcripts of the Gospel. It even appeared in Luke in some ancient manuscripts. But it is a story within Jesus’ character.

This is the story of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus was teaching in the Temple. The Temple leaders brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to Jesus. Since Jesus had healed someone on the Sabbath in defiance of their interpretation of Moses’ Law. They wanted to test him according to the Law–which mandated stoning the woman (but the man was also to be punished, and he was not caught).

This is the famous “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Then he looked down at the ground and wrote (we don’t know what).

Think of the psychology. He was confronted by an angry and suspicious mob. He confronted them with a statement that made them think. But he did not stare at them accusingly. He just looked down and let them decide individually.

What a model. I’m sure something for me to learn from that. Be strong, but not provocative.

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