Drama and conflict seem to follow us wherever we go. Whether it’s in our families, workplaces, churches or communities, many of us feel surrounded by other people’s arguments, hurt feelings, and emotional turmoil. As Christians, what does God’s Word say about how we should handle the drama in our lives? Below I will examine several key principles found in the Bible that can help give us wisdom and perspective when drama strikes.
Drama – exaggerated behavior and speech intended to attract attention – is a normal part of the human experience. We have all caused our fair share of drama at times, and we have all been on the receiving end as well. However, as Christians, we are called to a higher standard in how we handle conflict and relate to others.
The Bible provides us with many practical principles for avoiding and defusing drama and conflict in a godly manner. When we apply these biblical truths, we can become peacemakers rather than troublemakers. We can point others to Christ rather than drive them away. And we can walk in the fruit of the Spirit rather than stir up dissension through drama.
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- Drama often stems from sinful desires and selfish ambition in our hearts.
- We must examine our own hearts first when drama arises rather than blaming others.
- Scripture instructs us to seek peace, forgiveness, and restoration in our relationships.
- God calls us to extend grace and patience to others, just as He has done for us.
- The Holy Spirit enables us to demonstrate self-control and gentleness, defusing drama rather than escalating it.
- Believers should be known for our love and unity, not drama and conflict. This brings glory to God.
In the rest of this post, we will explore what the Bible teaches about drama more fully, looking at specific principles and scriptures we can apply to reduce the drama in our lives and better reflect Christ to the world.
- What Causes Drama? The Heart is the Source
- Seek Peace, Reconciliation and Forgiveness
- Respond With Grace and Patience
- Demonstrate Self-Control and Gentleness
- Be Known for Love and Unity, Not Drama
- Key Scriptures on Dealing with Drama
- Biblical Examples of De-escalating Drama
What Causes Drama? The Heart is the Source
In the Bible, we find that drama and conflict ultimately stem from the sinfulness and brokenness of the human heart. Jesus said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person” (Mark 7:20-23).
Drama pours forth from hearts filled with pride, jealousy, greed, anger and other sinful desires. When our own selfish interests and ambitions are threatened or unmet, drama often follows as we fight to have things our own way. As James wrote, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight” (James 4:1-2).
Even natural human desires become distorted by sin, morphing into demanding feelings of entitlement that cause drama when they are not fulfilled. The root of drama is nearly always selfishness, as each person insists on their own way and their own idea of what they deserve.
This truth has profound implications for how we handle drama. We cannot simply try to change someone else’s behavior or make them “behave better.” Real heart-change must start with examining our own hearts first. What sinful attitudes and desires within us may be contributing to this conflict? In humility and love, we can then try to address the underlying issues driving the drama in a gracious manner.
Seek Peace, Reconciliation and Forgiveness
Rather than repaying evil for evil when we encounter drama, Christians are called to seek peace, forgiveness, and restoration in our relationships. Paul wrote, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9).
Seeking true peace often requires us to let go of our offended feelings and desire for vengeance. Romans 12:19-21 gives us powerful guidance: “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Even when others provoke us, we should respond with good rather than retaliating and escalating the drama. Leaving room for God’s justice allows us to let go of our anger and desire for payback. Instead, we can surprise others by responding in love when our natural inclination would be to “fight back” or withdraw.
Seeking reconciliation also requires a willingness to forgive. Colossians 3:12-14 exhorts us: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
Notice how this passage connects forgiveness with other critical virtues – patience, humility, gentleness, and above all, love. These spiritual fruits supplied by the Holy Spirit enable us to truly forgive others and pursue reconciliation. Forgiveness combined with kindness can break the cycle of retaliation and melt away drama.
Respond With Grace and Patience
In the midst of hurt feelings and clashing perspectives, extending grace and patience to others helps calm rather than escalate drama. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” When tensions are high, a gracious tone and caring behavior can work wonders to diffuse drama and communicate respect.
Romans 2:4 reminds us that it is God’s kindness and patience that leads us to repentance. We should extend that same courtesy to others by listening attentively, thinking the best of them, and not repaying insult for insult (1 Peter 3:9). James 1:19-20 gives additional wisdom: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
Rather than reacting hastily, we can choose to exercise self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). We can pray for patience and the ability to listen, taking the time to understand the other person’s perspective. When we are quick to make assumptions and speak angrily, it only ratchets up the drama. But when we offer grace and patience, it can set the stage for calm and meaningful dialogue.
Demonstrate Self-Control and Gentleness
Followers of Christ have been given the fruit of the Spirit, including “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22). These virtues empower us to handle potential drama wisely and constructively rather than escalating it.
Displaying the self-control to hold one’s tongue under provocation denies drama the fuel it needs to grow into a raging fire (Proverbs 17:27). Gentleness in speech and behavior shows restraint powered by care for the other person. We should take sins and conflict seriously, but gently rather than harshly overreacting. Paul wrote, “If someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently” (Galatians 6:1).
When tensions emerge, we can choose to demonstrate Christlike humility and self-control, sharing our concerns or hurts quietly and lovingly. This gentle approach can keep drama from spiraling out of control.
Be Known for Love and Unity, Not Drama
As Christians, our lives should be characterized by the fruit of the Spirit – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22). The world takes notice when we demonstrate supernatural care and respect for others, even during conflict.
Jesus said the hallmark of His disciples would be our love for one another: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). When believers lay down their lives for each other and cultivate harmony within the church, it is a powerful witness that we belong to Christ.
Paul pleads with the church to be “completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3). As we grow in spiritual maturity, we should become more marked by gentleness, patience, and peacemaking efforts. Our example can convict those causing drama of their selfishness and need for God’s grace.
Of course, we will never handle conflict perfectly this side of eternity. But as we seek to apply these biblical principles, we can experience more and more victory over the drama-provoking desires lurking in our hearts. And we can point others to the peace and restraint that only the Holy Spirit can produce within. Our lives can become a light pointing to Christ in the midst of conflict.
Key Scriptures on Dealing with Drama
Below I have compiled some of the most helpful scriptures from the Bible on dealing with drama and conflict in a constructive manner. We can memorize and meditate on these verses, asking God to empower us to apply His principles to drama-filled situations:
- “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:17-18
- “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3
- “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
- “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20
- “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” James 1:26
- “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” James 3:9-10
- “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
- “Sow righteousness for yourselves and reap faithful love; break up your unplowed ground. It is time to seek the Lord until He comes and sends righteousness on you like the rain.” Hosea 10:12
- “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:15-16
Biblical Examples of De-escalating Drama
In addition to providing teaching and principles on handling conflict, the Bible also gives us many real-life examples to learn from. Observing how godly men and women responded to drama and discord provides practical models for us to follow.
Abigail defuses David’s anger: In 1 Samuel 25, foolish Nabal provoked David to anger, but his wise wife Abigail intervened and persuasively talked David down from taking vengeance. Her appeal calmed his wrath and prevented further drama.
Joseph forgives and reconciles with his brothers: After being sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, Joseph had every reason to harbor bitterness. But instead he graciously forgave them and reassured them of his goodwill in Genesis 50:15-21. This reconciliation preserved the nation of Israel.
The Apostle Paul exhorts Philemon to forgive Onesimus: In the book of Philemon, Paul urged Philemon to forgive and receive back his runaway slave Onesimus as a brother in Christ rather than punishing him. Paul’s counsel prevented further conflict.
Jesus refuses to condemn the woman caught in adultery: In John 8, the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus into stirring up drama over the adulterous woman, but Christ silenced her accusers and sent her away in peace to “go and sin no more.”
Stephen prays for his killers as he dies: When Stephen was martyred in Acts 7, he did not curse his murderers but rather pleaded with the Lord not to hold this sin against them. His grace and forgiveness stand out prominently.
There are many other biblical examples we could examine of defusing drama through courage, tact, wisdom, forgiveness, and grace. May we prayerfully follow the example of these saints who reflected God’s peacemaking nature.
In summary, the Bible has much guidance to offer on reducing drama and handling conflict in a godly manner. Here are a few key truths to remember:
- Drama flows out of sinful desires in the human heart, so we must examine our own hearts first.
- Scripture instructs us to pursue peace, forgiveness, and restoration in relationships damaged by drama.
- Responding with grace and patience defuses drama rather than escalating it.
- The Holy Spirit enables us to demonstrate self-control and gentleness.
- Christians should be known for love and unity that reflects Christ and brings glory to God.
Rather than being provoked by other people’s drama, we can rise above and model the patience, kindness and wisdom that comes from God’s Spirit. When drama strikes, we can choose to absorb its destructive energy rather than multiplying it. As we grow in applying these biblical principles, we will become more effective ministers of reconciliation and peace in our relationships. And we will stand out as shining lights for Jesus, pointing the way to the peace He alone can provide.