Summary: The key to defusing the dangerous and destructive bomb of conflict is humbling ourselves before God and our neighbor. This will result in blessing for ourselves and is the one thing that can change our neighbor.
The setting is modern day Iraq. A soldier specially trained is cautiously approaching a large torpedo shaped bomb capable of destroying the lives of anyone within half a block. He has good intentions of defusing it and bringing peace instead of destruction. The bomb is a real threat – it is dangerous and any wrong move, any wrong wire that is cut is instant death.
When you see a bomb, the temptation is anger - to kick, to scream, to lose your temper and crush it. But will that have any effect? Yes! It will explode and you with it! Many others will be killed as well. You don’t fight a bomb with another bomb.
Every difference of opinion is like a bomb which has the potential to destroy everything around it. And so every conflict has even more potential for damage.
How do you defuse a bomb? How do you defuse the bomb of conflict? Of offense? Of differences of view or opinion? There is a special key to keeping the peace – to defusing the bomb. How do you defuse a bomb of conflict? With humility! You defuse it with gentleness, with love, with humility. Humility is the key to disarming any attack. As Paul wrote: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him…”
Now you may have read this passage many times – especially verse 7: “casting all your anxieties on Him.” This verse is a precious encouragement in times of worry. But notice the context in which worry appears. This passage is not about worry concerning paying the bills or surviving an illness or getting a job. This is about conflict!
Let’s go back to the bomb squad. That man and everyone around that bomb is sweating. They’re concerned. They see the horrible danger and the violence of what that bomb represents. Let me tell you – they are full of anxiety. They are not happy men.
And so also worry or anxiety is a part of any conflict. Any attack produces anxiety – who likes attack? Who likes conflict? No one! But it happens all the time. People attack us with their words. People attack us with their actions. Or with their silence and lack of action. Sometimes we feel attacked and it’s unintentional – just a difference of view or opinion. It’s a bomb and we start sweating. We lose sleep. We lose peace. It’s the enemy ready to destroy!
The question is: What sets off the bomb of the enemy? Anger. Resentment. Offense. Counter-attack. Pride. And when we respond to any conflict, any attack, any difference with anger, resentment, and counter-attack, it’s like cutting the wrong wire and ka-boom! People are destroyed. Relationships are ruined. Marriages break up. Congregations split and on and on it goes. The enemy wins every time when we respond to conflict with PRIDE. As our Scripture writes: “God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Pride is the original sin. It’s the sin of Satan as he sought to be like God. Satan was the holiest of angels – the most beautiful and closest to the throne. And yet he fell into pride desiring the worship of God Almighty.
And so every one of us – as close as we get to the Lord, so also we get close to the temptation of pride. We are in danger of thinking of ourselves as better than others. Unconsciously we put ourselves on a pedestal. “I’m the better Christian. I’m the faithful one.” And when we go down that road, we end in disaster. Because when the bomb of differences – the bomb of conflict comes along – we will react with pride every time. And then there is only destruction.
What do we do in any situation like this when there offense, when there is attack, when there is a conflict of interests?
1. Cast our anxiety on God.
We cast all our anxieties on him! It’s important to entrust your life totally to God. He’s ultimately in control. He knows about the problems – he knows about conflicts. His Son went through plenty of situations like that.
Just thinking of Rich. I saw him right after he broke his hip. He was doing well, trusting in the Lord. What can you do when you get in an accident? You can pine and worry. You can start wondering if you’re going to survive surgery. What are you going to do about the bills? About work? About this situation and that situation? Once fear starts taking control, there’s no controlling it and all peace is gone! That’s why we have to do something with the anxious situation of anxiety when we come across it right away and deal with this core issue.