At our conference this year, we’re excited to be offering some workshops taught by Christian Muntean, Executive Director of Beyond Borders. His friend and colleague, JP Oulette, at Conflict Resolution Center wrote a great blog article explaining how relationships can be like an atom and conflict can have a nuclear power to it. He also does a spectacular job illustrating how the Gospel is crucial:
In the picture of an atom, we see a nucleus (bound protons and neutrons) surrounded by a cloud of orbiting electrons. This is a good picture of how the gospel relates to the conflicts we face in our lives every day.
The protons and neutrons in the center are the people in relationship. The electrons swirling around them are the issues that often create a cloud of mystery and awkwardness.
These issues seem to orbit our lives so fast that even one or two issues can create the illusion of a barrier between the relationship (nucleus) and the clarity of life outside the conflict. The more issues that exist, the harder it becomes to see the possibilities for resolution.
The people in relationship are tightly or loosely bound depending upon their foundation and conflicts that exist within. When relationship is severed through unresolved conflict, it can be a weapon of mass destruction leaving an aftermath of pain and bitterness in the lives of many.
Much like the individuals in the nucleus of conflict, those on the outside of the relationship often judge the situation by the cloud of issues surrounding it. It can be hard to get a clear view of the relationship or even see the potential for reconciliation. Intimidated by the cloud, we tend to back away from the situation all together.
When we understand and appreciate, however, that the power of the gospel demonstrated on the cross was found in the midst of conflict, right in the nucleus, we are compelled to press past the issues and into the relationship.