To Be Human is to Be in Conflict

One of the things I continue to learn is that relationships bring conflict. I generally don’t like conflict. It doesn’t seem like I am alone in this opinion. But, I’m a big fan of relationships. If you want friendships and relationships, you get conflict. I guess if you don’t want conflict you can just get rid of all your friends. That’s one way to do it.

As I was processing the reality of conflict and friendship, I was reminded of this quote from John Howard Yoder,

“To be human is to have differences; to be human wholesomely is to process those differences, not by building up conflicting power claims but by reconciling dialogue. Conflict is socially useful; it forces us to attend to new data from new perspectives. It is useful in interpersonal process; by processing conflict, one learns skills, awareness, trust and hope. Conflict is useful in interpersonal dynamic, protecting our concern about guilt and acceptance from being directed inwardly only to our own feelings. The therapy for guilt is forgiveness the source of self-esteem is another person who takes seriously my restoration to community.”

Also…

“To Be human is to be in conflict, to offend and to be offended. To be human in the light of the gospel is to face conflict with redemptive dialogue. When we do that, it is God who does it. When we do that, we demonstrate that to process conflict is not merely a palliative strategy for tolerable survival or psychic hygiene, but a mode of truth-finding and community-building. This is true in the gospel; it is also true, mutatis mutandis, in the world.”

From Body Politics, by John Howard Yoder

  • http://geoffreyholsclaw.net/blog/ geoffh

    I love me some Yoder quotes. Keep it up.

    (and btw i tweeted this out everywhere…)

  • http://restorativetheology.blogspot.com/ Brian R. Gumm

    I just uttered this to my wife over our lunch conversation. (We weren’t in conflict at the moment… :)