Our culture tells us that the way to navigate conflict is to learn techniques, but at the end of the day, if you’re heart isn’t changed, if you have pride in your heart, then you are going to fight poorly.

The way to change your response to conflict is to change your heart.

Our hearts change when we meet Jesus. We are sinners saved by grace. We are those who were in conflict with God, but he forgave us because of the sacrifice of his Son.

The good news that the apostles were devoted to preaching is the very thing that had seeped into their souls, and created a humility to their very core that allowed them to respond the way they did. Has the gospel gripped your heart that way?

The passage ends this way: Acts 6:7 “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.”

This conflict was an opportunity for the apostles and the church. Everyone was watching and seeing how they handled it. If I was there, I probably would have made it personal and tried to take on all the extra responsibilities just to prove them wrong. But that would have prevented others from being equipped and the church from growing.

Conflict is an opportunity for us; let’s not miss it. Let’s enter in faithfully and humbly that God might be glorified through us. May conflict teach us to grow in humility so that God might use us more greatly for his purposes.

[i] There is a significant amount of debate over who the Hellenists are, but most agree that they were a minority in the early church in Jerusalem who were Greek-speaking Jewish believers (Longnecker, Expositional, 327-9; Williams, NIBC, 118).

[ii] Acts 6:1

[iii] Williams, NIBC, 118.

[iv] Acts 6:1-6

[v] All of these names are Greek, whether they are Hellenists is less certain, but many think they likely are (Longnecker, Expositional, 331).

[vi] The word used here is diakonein—serving. It is the same root as the word for deacon, but whether they had that title initially is less likely (although the duties are very much the same as those lays out for the office of deacon) (Marshall, Tyndale, 126; Longnecker, Expositional, 331).