Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

February 12 | Healthy Conflict

Saint Meletius

A.D. 305–381

Conflict inevitably comes to all our lives, no matter how good a relationship, organization, or society is. Conflicts and arguments are actually key to thriving relationships. The important point is that we argue and interact in a healthy way.

There is such a thing as a healthy conflict. The Church has known this well over its two-thousand-year history. The Church has also known all too well that there is unhealthy conflict.

What makes a conflict healthy? A common, unchanging purpose. For individuals, that means living out God’s dream for us—to be the-best-version-of-ourselves. The Church has a similar purpose—to live out God’s dream for her and become the-best-version-of-herself.

Saint Meletius, the Bishop of Antioch in the 4th century, found himself in one of the most heated conflicts in Church history: the Arian controversy. Arianism taught that Jesus was not fully divine and therefore not a part of the Trinity. An adamant group of Bishops fought to root out this heresy. Meletius was one of them.

Meletius may not have always been on the receiving end of healthy approaches to conflict, but he himself never wavered in his purpose: to make the-Church-a-better-version-of-herself.

Whenever you find yourself in a difficult situation, follow Meletius' formula for healthy conflict:

  1. Get clear about your purpose. That could be to make your organization the-best-version-of-itself, your family the-best-version-of-itself, or yourself and others the-best-versions-of-themselves.
  2. Don’t use inflammatory language. Focus instead on understanding the other side and helping others understand your side.
  3. Keep a good attitude. Meletius was exiled multiple times due to his beliefs, but simply continued his work in a different location. Whatever happens in your conflict, you can keep it healthy by avoiding bitterness and continuing to focus on how best to serve your organization and the people on the other side of the argument.

Follow this formula when tensions arise and you'll discover that healthy conflict can lead to incredible clarity and flourishing.

When I find myself in conflict, do I first seek the common purpose I have with the other parties? Am I able to articulate that common purpose so we can all agree on it as a foundation?

I will strive to engage in healthy conflict when tensions rise.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Feast Day: February 12

Feast Day Shared By: Saints Saturninus and Companions (Martyrs)

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