NOTE: This article is part of our series called ‘Honest Questions’, which seeks to aid those on a spiritual journey to work through some of the biggest questions and obstacles to faith. You can read our introduction to the series here.

AN HONEST QUESTION

“The Crusades…the Middle Easter…the Inquisition…terrorism. Religions, including Christianity, have always caused arguments, fighting, and even death – and they still do today. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we just got rid of religion?”

CHRISTIANS AND CONFLICT

Christians aren’t any better than anyone else. So they make mistakes, and sometimes do what they want even if it hurts others – just like everyone else. Tragically, that has sometimes caused conflict, suffering, and misery for other people. And when that happens, Christians should be ashamed.

But that doesn’t mean Christianity itself is awful. Recently, people have caused conflict at football and ice hockey matches. They should be ashamed. But it’d be wrong for us to decide those sports themselves are awful, just because some people mistakenly or even deliberately misuse them.

The truth is that people cause conflict. The mistakes and failures of Christians don’t mean that Christianity itself is wrong.

CHRIST AND PEACE

In fact, Christ brought peace to the world. He came to end conflict. He taught his followers: “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). He encouraged people to live at peace with one another, and told his followers to love their enemies.

But he also taught that our biggest conflict is the one we don’t always notice. We’re all at war with our Maker, God. We’d rather he didn’t rule us, and we live as though he doesn’t. Naturally, we’re “alienated from God and…enemies in your minds” (Colossians 1:21).

Jesus was born to bring “on earth peace to men on whom God’s favour rests” (Luke 2:14). Through Jesus, we can find peace with God and receive eternal perfect life with him, instead of being at war with him and facing eternity without anything good.

So when it comes to conflict with others and conflict with God, what we need is more of Christ, not less

CHRIST AND CONFLICT

But…although Jesus came to bring peace, many people still want to be at war with God. So Jesus knew that his coming into the world wouldn’t bring peace, “but division” (Luke 12:51).

Christ’s coming means some people are at peace with God by trusting him, and others are still at war with God.

And that’s the only division that will continue, and matter, for all eternity.

YES, BUT…

“I think I’m already OK with God – I don’t feel at war with him. Don’t all good people go to heaven?

FURTHER STUDY

Thanks to the internet, we have an incredible number of resources at our fingertips. In an abundance of information, however, the challenge is often finding the right thing to study. With this in mind, we’ve curated this list of articles and videos for you as you continue your investigation into the topic explored in this article.

Author

  • Timothy Berry

    Tim and Renske met and were married in Toulouse, France. They have three wonderful children: Matthijs, Anouk, and Jaana. Before planting City Church Wolverhampton, they served at Mendham Hills Community Church in Chester, NJ as the Pastor of Worship Arts. Tim is ordained by the Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA).