Every year during NFL training camps, we hear about the fights taking place among players on the same team – usually between offense and defense.

One recently occurred during a Cleveland Browns practice, and new head coach, Hue Jackson, said: “I’m not interested in fights. I’m interested in good football players. I know things get heated a little bit every now and then, but we have to keep our cool, keep our poise.”

Sometimes there is an understanding or expectation or justification for these types of fights. The weather is hot and players are going at each other every day, trying to prove themselves.

But even though it’s possible for a team to become stronger following conflict, I think Jackson is right in desiring his players to keep their cool and maintain poise.

The reality is, fighting with teammates can create division within a locker room and stir up unnecessary tension. By solving issues between players and not letting the frustration fester, the team can stay focused on heading in the same direction with similar goals, and ultimately lead to greater success.

The same is true in our own lives. We aren’t immune to witnessing fights within the church, families, and friendships. Despite the fact that we should be on the same page, with a mindset that desires unity and impact, even followers of Jesus experience tension and attacks that infiltrate our own “locker room.” If we aren’t careful, pride, selfishness, and jealousy can lead to fighting with our own brothers and fellow believers.

However, the Bible makes it clear in 1 John 4:20-21 (NLT): “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?  And He has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.”

We acknowledge that we are imperfect people in need of a Savior, so conflict in some ways is inevitable. But, as we understand what loving God really means, we will love His people too.

Because of that love, we will desire peace, unity, understanding, and resolutions to the fighting. Today, let’s desire to follow Hue Jackson’s philosophy: “I’m not interested in fights.” I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, forgive me for not loving You and others the way I should. Please guide me as I desire to seek unity and peace with other believers. I pray I wouldn’t fight with others because of my own pride or jealousy, but instead seek to be on the same page in order to have more impact for You. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.