“Conflict brings with it the potential for deepening relationships, for learning, for transformation and spiritual development.”
That was the view expressed by Marisa Johnson, Secretary of the Friends World Committee for Consultation – Europe and Middle East Section, when she addressed Ireland Yearly Meeting’s Ministry and Oversight session on 31st March 2016.
Marisa said that if we welcomed creativity, energy, connection and relationship as gifts, we needed to welcome conflict also, “as being intimately connected with all of these”.
“Just as we welcome the gift of fire to keep us warm and cook our food. Yet we are always aware that, out of control, fire can and does destroy,” she said.
“In order for a conflict to become apparent, it is necessary for someone to care very deeply about something – most people do not seek conflict lightly, so need or passion are necessary to provide the required motivation and energy for conflict to become active. Caring and passion are gifts too.”
Marisa said we should encourage the emergence of many possible solutions, and try them on for size: “Do they meet the needs of all involved? Are they aligned to God’s gracious generosity and loving compassion?”
You can read the full text of Marisa’s talk here – Gift of Conflict – Marisa Johnson.