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Dealing with Conflict

How do you deal with conflict? Some run from it at all costs (like the lady I heard about who never married because she said she had to agree one hundred percent on everything with a man before she would marry him!). Yet, like suffering in general, disagreements are not necessarily a bad thing. No, we should not seek to disagree, but when we do, if we each approach it with a willingness to listen and learn, and ask God for grace to be humble, we can find resolution (even if we do not find agreement!).

In the first reading for Mass today, we hear about a big conflict in the early Church. Yet it is not presented as "woe is me, everything is awful because there were different opinions". It comes across as "we had a disagreement, and God led the Church hierarchy to figure it out, and we were better in the end because we trusted our Lord in the midst of it".

Yes, today we have many disagreements in the Church. And, no, we should not aim at having disagreements. Yet, when we do, we should realize it is not new, and we can always rely upon Christ to guide the Pope and Bishops with His Holy Spirit (once they humble themselves before Him--which they will eventually, even if unwillingly). He has done it in the past, and promises to do it until the end of history. So then, we will get through this. Most importantly, though, we need to ask the question: will we get through this with hope and learn from our disagreements, or will we (as the devil wants) fall into despair?


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