During his 2016 retirement announcement, Dallas Cowboy quarterback, Tony Romo said, “I feel like we all have two battles, or two enemies going on … the one with the man across from you … the second is with the man inside of you. I think once you control the man inside of you, the one across really doesn’t matter.” Romo was speaking not only about the competitor across from him on the defensive line. He was speaking of that competitor inside of him. Many of us might feel this inner conflict.
I was born and raised in Texas, migrated to Oklahoma, and eventually found my way to northwest Missouri. I have Dallas Cowboy blood in my veins, but I have learned to be a football fan and I love the Chiefs! This Sunday, Nov. 21 the Dallas Cowboys play the Kansas City Chiefs. I will be conflicted during this game. Who will I root for? I think I will root for more chips and salsa. Or maybe I will shout with the rest of you, “Go Bearcats. Go Spoofhounds. Go, team, go!”
It is too bad this Cowboys versus Chiefs game will be on FOX. It would have been fun to watch Romo, now an NFL analyst on CBS, call this game. What would be his inner conflict now?
We all face conflict. You name it. If it has breath, we can make a conflict out of it. And it feels that around the holidays we meet conflict at our tables. It is in our nature. The question becomes, how might we diffuse the conflicts sitting across the table from us? We diffuse by making our table a table where Christ feels invited.
To become the best player he could be, Romo had to know who he was to trust his inner man. In his retirement speech he says it well: “For every high school kid out there or college player, there is greatness in being the kind of teammate who truly wants to be part of a team. Everyone wants to be the reason they are winning. Every single one of us wants to be that person. But there are special moments that come from a shared commitment to play a role, while doing it together. That’s what you will remember. Not your stats or your prestige, but the relationships and the achievement that you created through a group. It’s hard to do, but there’s great joy in that.”
I would be amiss if I did not throw in a Patrick Mahomes quote here as well, so here is a good one: “Every experience, good or bad, you have to learn from.” Mahomes is right! We can learn from our experiences, good or bad, and we can grow from them. Even if they are mired in conflict.
Conflict is a state of disagreement or disharmony between persons or ideas, a clash. It is a state of being something other than what we were created to be. Here is what we need to know: It is the gospel of Christ that helps us resolve conflict. If we are reconciled to God, then it is impossible for us not to be reconciled to one another as well. As the Apostle Paul writes, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross (Colossians 1:19-20).”
Wherever we are, wherever we go, may we do all that we can do into the work of conflict resolution. How we resolve conflict, with ourselves and with others, will testify to the reconciling work of God in Christ by his spirit in our lives. Sometimes the best way to resolve conflict is to first resolve the conflict that resides in us. Unless you are on a football field with the defensive line staring you down, make peace with the one who is sitting across from you.