Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

conflict aversion

12/28/11

Have you ever noticed how some people thrive on conflict and others avoid it at all cost? That particular personality trait, one's propensity for anger and criticism or lack thereof, has a major impact on how we approach our lives and deal with others.  In a society such as ours which reverences competitiveness as a virtue, even an economic necessity, the personalities which enjoy and embrace conflict enjoy a real advantage.

With the various ways to perceive and respond to the message of Jesus within the broad scope of so called Christianity, I perceive that the differences in how people feel about conflict plays out in very different conclusions about the Christian faith. Those who feel comfortable with conflict tend toward the type of aggressive, in your face, fundamentalism which gains so much publicity in our day. These true believers embrace a warrior Jesus, the One who is supposedly destined to judge and ultimately destroy.

On the other hand the conflict averse personality will never be motivated by a Christian message and mission which runs so against their own personal inclinations. The sort of strident evangelicalism demanded by some factions and the associated constant need to identify and oppose outsiders will be forever anathema to this group. No matter how much these people may feel compelled by divine mandate to spread a conflict/judgment oriented message to the world, their innate aversion will always make that impossible. For me at least, this explains much about why individual evangelism has never and will never be embraced by most in the church. Regardless of how concerned these people may honestly be about their lost neighbors, they are not temperamentally capable of engaging others in a conversion effort which has such a potential for argument and rejection.

Unfortunately, many of those who do enjoy conflict find their way into the church ministry further slanting the message toward stridency and away from anything resembling real Good News. That explains why the strident voice of fundamental evangelicalism gains so much press and effectively drowns out the voice of those who embrace Christ but not the need engage in endless conflict and public piety.