If you have attended a church for any length of time, you have experienced church conflict. Unfortunately, in the place where we are to enjoy being a part of a family of friends who have Jesus in common, we often see conflict (and we may have participated in it).

On one hand, conflict is often unavoidable. Why? Because we are this side of Heaven. We still struggle with self-centered tendencies. We struggle with a desire to prove others wrong and an inability to admit we may have been wrong. Sinful pride and self-centeredness is often always present in obvious ways in church conflict. 

As with any good marriage, conflict is inevitable. But, if we are willing to humble ourselves, keep emotions at bay, and prayerfully work toward understanding and reconciliation, virtually any conceivable problem can be resolved.

Unfortunately, because of pride, conflict in marriages and churches often goes unresolved. Rather than work through the problem, marriages break up in divorce and church folks leave for other churches.

In my morning Bible reading, I came across a reason why church conflict can actually be beneficial. Yes, you heard me right. There is something good that can come out of church conflict. Do you know what it is? It’s the ability to see who is saved and who isn’t. Put simply, when people get into conflict, you can observe how they handle themselves in that conflict and whether or not they work toward reconciliation. How they behave often reveals whether they are someone who is a follower of Jesus or not, whether they are on their way to Heaven … or Hell.

1 Corinthians 11:18-19 (NLT)
“First, I hear that there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and to some extent I believe it. But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that you who have God’s approval will be recognized!”