I recently had breakfast with a Leadership Consultant and communications expert. “I am convinced that all conflicts – regardless of magnitude – are the result of poor communication.” My immediate response was along the lines of “Not true.” Upon further reflection, I think I agree; however, my perspective is bit more involved. I believe at the root of all conflict is sin. We could see sin as a communication problem. We humans are missing the point. We’ve missed God’s design for our lives, and we have decided to do our own thing.
Genesis is the first book of the bible, and in it is the account of Adam & Eve. The Creator was pleased with the work of his hands including Adam, the animals, rivers and gardens. God created a helper for Adam and named her Eve. God was clear in what he asked or Adam; He charged this first couple to ‘subdue the land, and rule over it.’ This has come to be known as the cultural mandate. God gave Adam & Eve the “starter-kit” from which to create culture. They were created in God’s image (as creators) and given license to be fruitful and multiply. However, their communication was disrupted by the serpent and the condition of their own hearts. Rather than flourish in the relationships and function that the Lord designed, they went their own way. As a result, all of mankind has dealt with the pain, drudgery, and even death, which was the result of this initial communication breakdown.
WriteExpress.com is a website that offers templates for business letters of all sorts. This can be helpful as a guide when one realizes that he has caused conflict in business dealings; however, the website offers little to help resolve the communication problem I outlined above. The scriptures are consistent and robust in dealing with the issue of sin. Perhaps the most encouraging support comes in the explanation of how the problem of sin is resolved. The summary is that God unilaterally has taken care of our problem. Romans 5:19 reminds us, “ For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” Verse 10 explains, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.” The concept is summarized in the book of II Corinthians 5:18-19: “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” So, the Creator resolved our communication breakdown.
Is this different than you have viewed conflict? Have you absolved yourself of any blame? How can this worldview equip you to handle conflict differently? Could this understanding allow you to experience the failings of others differently? If you were created in God’s image, and ultimately He reconciled the lost unto Himself, how could you play a role in reconciling conflict with others? What about the ultimate reconciliation of your clients, customers, or co-workers? I agree with my friend Andy that all our conflict arises from poor communication; however, I believe the initial communication breakdown is within the hearts of men and women. I believe the Lord has placed us here on earth to play a role in bringing reconciliation, and thus clearing-up communication.