Written by Jonathan Bremer. Media by Cord Buchanan.
If there is one thing many of us like to avoid, it is conflict. It’s easy to pretend like people or problems don’t exist so we can avoid dealing with the awkwardness or discomfort of confronting the situation. Christians are no exception. Our way of dealing with things is not much different than the rest of the world. We hold on to grudges, ignore problems, and brush them off like they are no big deal just to avoid the conflict. This is not true for all people or cases, but it is still a common occurrence. If you are like me, I struggle with this every day. But when and how to confront people in a way that aligns with the Gospel is a difficult thing. It can most certainly be one of the hardest things for us to discern through the lens of scripture. Thus, it is no surprise that it is a crucial aspect of living out the Gospel.
Many questions arise when we look at confrontation and conflict resolution. What will happen if I confront them? How will our relationship change? How will they respond to me? The list is lengthy. We worry about conflict because we are afraid of the end result 0r the repercussions of confronting someone or something. But throughout scripture, God has rewarded such bold audacity that people showed as they risked seemingly everything just to do what was right. One notable example of this is found in the story of Esther. Esther’s people were sentenced to mass annihilation by royal decree of Xerxes, after Haman, the king’s right-hand man, convinced him that there was a certain people group (the Jews) that separated themselves and did not obey his laws.
Esther 4:7-16 tells us this. It says,
“So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people. Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, ‘All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.’ When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: ‘Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?’ Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’”
You see, Esther struggled with confronting the heinous act that was about to be committed against her and her people. She knew it was wrong, but still she was afraid of the repercussions. Ultimately, knowing God was on her side, she was able to lay aside her fear and do what was right. This is also how we should conduct our own lives. The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 31:6 to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
The Lord promises that He will be with us, even when faced with fear and uncertainty. As Christians, we are called to go forth boldly and do what is right. We are called to this even in the face of peril or death. God walked with Esther through this trial and her faith and boldness saved the Jews from annihilation. Let us face our conflicts and uncertainty with the same faith and courage that Esther demonstrated in the face of possible death.