In Tennyson’s classic poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” valiant cavalry troops riding into battle are described by the imposing phrase, “Into the valley of death rode the six hundred.” Those words portray a sense of foreboding that anticipated the tragedy that lay before them.
When I was a pastor, I sometimes felt a sense of dread when heading to church meetings. Being aware of current or potential areas of conflict can easily cause serious concern. But this does not need to be the case in the church.
To a young pastor struggling with the pressures of ministry, Paul wrote, “Avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife” (2 Tim. 2:23). This applies to pastors as well as church attenders. Our personal conduct can help to reduce the amount of friction instead of elevating it through unwise actions or words. We can model for others the biblical way to avoid, manage, and even resolve conflict. Verses 24-25 encourage us to be gentle, patient, and humble in relating to others.
As James says, “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:18). Pursuing the goal of being a peacemaker can reduce the sense of dread that conflicts generate.
From words that spring from selfish pride,
For You would have Your children one
In praise and love for Your dear Son. —D. De Haan