All humans are conflicted. It is our nature, born into us. A song in the 1970’s captured a romantic version of this. “Torn Between Two Lovers” by Mary MacGregor. Part of us wants to stay. Part of us wants to leave. Part of us wants security. Part of us wants danger. We love a person. Yet we loathe them at times.
As a child of God, we want hislove and peace. Yet we don’t want his rules and restrictions. We are torn between two different lovers – our love of the Spirit and our love of the flesh. (Gal 5: 16) Creature comforts and favourite habits die hard.
Inner conflict comes to a head when we face insurmountable dilemmas. Our spouse lays down the gauntlet. “Change or else.” Our career hits a brick wall. “Adapt or be fired.” Our health is often the first and loudest siren. “Change your lifestyle or…die.” …of addiction, over-eating and under-caring for our bodies.
No where is this greater than in close relationships. Our inner conflict is vivid and rips us apart. Do I be truthful about how I feel? Or, do I be protective of how they’ll feel? The truth sets us free, as Jesus taught us, yet we embrace this truth reluctantly. We have something to hide.
To be free of inner conflict is to surmount the insurmountable. We succeed when we learn to speak our own truth in a sensitive yet unvarnished way. Jesus’ First Rule of Inner Peace (Matt 7:5) teaches us how to do this. Though only one short teaching out of his breath-taking Sermon on the Mount, it hits us in the heart.
We are spiritually blinded by the plank in our eye, unable to see clearly what to say or do. When we take it out, we suddenly see clearly what to do. We experience neutrality about outcomes. God’s presence suddenly becomes vividly clear. We are no longer conflicted. We are in his will, obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, we are walking in the Spirit as a child of God. Now we are free.