Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

–Robert Frost

As a peace-loving individual, I would just love it if all conflicts, misunderstandings, hurts, and offenses could be avoided altogetherHowever, I have been unable to find a “Paradise Bubble” where I am protected from all hurts and hardshipsInstead I have concluded that it is a certainty that life’s relationships will continue to dole out the very things I wish to eludeOur spiritual maturity and even our quality of life are dependent upon the choices we make when faced with conflict or hurtWe do not get to choose whether or not there will be conflict, but we do choose what we do with it.

When people gather together, there is potential for conflict, and we should not be surprised when offenses ariseThe old saying that words will never hurt is simply not true! Words do injure, as do upsetting actionsIt is then that we are faced with a choice: to be conflicted or to be contentedThe choice becomes even more complex when the conflict involves two ChristiansSo… what is the right choice? What are we to do?

Remember that we are family.

In our own personal families, we usually find a way to “let it go” if someone hurts usWhy? Because we are FAMILY. As family, we are more likely to tolerate shortcomings and accept our loved one “just like he or she is” because of loveWe give the people we love an unconditional free passThe same familial love should hold true in God’s family as well. There is a saying that “blood is thicker than water.” As children of God, the blood of Christ has made us family. If we desire personal contentment over conflict, we need to constantly hand out unconditional free passes to those who hurt us. This is choosing to be content.

Remember that we are to be forgiving.

When we are hurt, there is always a risk of our injury becoming our identity. We can pick at the wound until it becomes infected, leaving a deep scar and possibly developing into a life-long handicap. “Who” we are, our identity, is to be found in Christ: we are to be Christlike.“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Colossians 3:13) God is aware of the hurts we experience, He knows how deep the wounds go, but He still instructs us to forgive others as He forgave us. Holding grudges puts the focus on us; forgiving puts the focus on Christ.FORGIVING is choosing to be content.

Remember that we are to be faithful.

Occasionally, there are situations where the heart has been examined, apologies have been offered, forgiveness has taken place in one heart—but not in the other and restoration has not been achieved. This is a very painful position and one which truly breaks the heart. If you find yourself in this situation, consider the following thoughts:

• It is always right to take the “high road.” God never punishes for choosing right; He blesses it.

• Continue to examine your own heart so you are not thwarting the work of God. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

• Be willing to care for anything God reveals to you about yourself.

• Pray daily for God’s blessing, care, and provision for the one who hurt you.

• Pray daily for God to bring reconciliation and restoration for His glory.

These steps are choosing to be content.

God is not a respecter of persons, and He loves all of His children the same. However, we choose how much of God we want in our lives. Though no child of God is His favorite, each child does choose whether or not God can bless his or her life.

The road of true contentment is not always heavily traveled, and it is not a road of ease. In fact, that road is often “the one less traveled,” but it makes “all the difference.” It’s your choice: contented or conflicted.