The Conflict: Lovemaking

Conflict is really important.

Really important.

I wouldn’t say I love conflict–but I’m old enough now to have experienced countless times that my relationships were made deeper, more genuine, more open and solidified because we walked through conflict together.

So I don’t crave conflict, but I do get suspicious if I go long periods of time without encountering it among those I consider close to me. It means my connection to that person has weakened, or at best, plateaued. As one who craves for depth, this is personally important to me: to know that those who love me in spirit are also encountering my reality.

So conflict for me is a good benchmark to know if we are truly continuing to engage one another. To me, this is peacemaking, not peacekeeping. 

These conflicts are not always expressed between the two of us; sometimes the conflict is inside of me–a valuable invitation to discover my identity, what is hiding it, and what must be expressed.

But paradoxically, I have also lost my appetite for conflict, and even more, I am easily wearied of it, when it smacks of superficialities or redundancies. Love is patient, and so too am I, though I’ll be honest enough to say that one time around any particular topic is enough for me. Twice is sometimes profitable, and three times sometimes necessary. But after that, I have trouble engaging.

Like you, I have been repeatedly flogged with expectations that are not in alignment with who I am, and those have been a struggle for me to forgive. I am not saying I have not forgiven; I am saying I have been saddened to see how slow my heart sometimes is, far past my will to make it so. So conflict for me is a crapshoot: it is often hugely profitable, but it may come, again, with a need to forgive.

I cannot tell you how many times I pray for a pure and open heart. Create in me a clean heart. I repent for what was mine. Make me so deep in grace and justice and forgiveness. Give Your love in me such courage and real-ness…

All that to say this: Sons must allow conflict to expand all the way to its borders, but never past them. Conflict must never be allowed to sever the loyalty and loving-kindness by which the people we love remain 100% confident of our commitment to them. It must never be the scale by which we weigh out the value or honor we give them. It must never blind us from active, faithful participation alongside the very people with whom we are embattled.

This alone is a deep and high lesson that love in conflict will embroider in us.

Those of us with strong sibling relationships understand this phrase: I’m allowed to mess with you, but no one else is.  (Obviously this doesn’t mean we get sole rights to abuse others), but rather it’s an expression that, to me, says, I love you so much and I know you trust me. And I trust my heart about you. I’m protective of you, no matter how ugly you and me looks right now. I’ve got your back. I love you enough to engage you so that we keep encountering each other more deeply–and I’m not going to fake anything with you–but that doesn’t mean it’s me versus you. It’s always going to be us together, going after what we see.

The deep bond this develops is critical to much of what we hope for, and what we’re going to see in of the Father in the earth. It starts with us being willing to allow our relationships to walk through (not around) conflict, instead of withholding truth when it’s obviously going to combust. It’s looking at people who conflict with us and teaching our hearts to see their friction as friendship, and the fight as lovemaking.

There is no love where there has been no conflict; the Spirit often encounters the flesh with some sort of explosion, however mild-tempered the combatants might externally appear.

The conflict inside, or the conflict outside: it rages in response to oneness attempting to take ground.

Whether or not we stand bravely and allow it to refine us, to prove us and to deepen us: that is up to us.

Better is open rebuke
Than love that is concealed.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. (Prov 27:5-6)

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