Have you ever been in the middle of a dramatic conflict that just won’t stop? You’ve tried everything you can think of to fix it, but it just persists or gets worse? Did you know the Bible has 7 very clear steps to resolving a conflict? These seem obvious when you read them but might not have occurred to you. Even when it seems like it isn’t the way to go, we follow these steps by faith. You don’t have to flail around in the dark to get conflict resolution down and move on without regrets and deep wounding.
1. Overlook the offense if possible.
When possible give the person the benefit of the doubt. I’m not telling you to stick your head in the sand and be passive. I am telling you that some things aren’t that big of a deal and you can just let it go. That’s the best option if possible. It’s almost as if it defeats the conflict before it even needs to be resolved. Read here to understand more about offenses, how to forgive and closing doors to the enemy.
2. Check your heart and motives.
Are you just trying to be right? Do you have a previous offense from this person? Do you have an offense with someone else that is transferring to this situation? Is there something you are trying to control or are afraid of?
The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.
3. Do not gossip about the conflict with others.
Pray about the conflict rather than talk about it. Get quiet. Get alone. Get in the Bible.
4. Go to the person with whom you have the offense and communicate clearly and in humility (in person is best).
Call the person and let them know you would like to talk to them about the situation. If you can, keep the call brief and set up a time to visit with them face to face. Give a beginning time and also an end time and do your very best to stick to it.
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what measure you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’, and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First, remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
5. If it cannot be resolved, without giving someone “your side of the story,” get one or two other mature believers to go with you and help settle the matter.
This does not mean giving your perspective to your friend and then ganging up on someone. Simply ask someone you trust if they would come and listen to you and the person with whom you have the conflict while you try and work it out. They are to be neutral and someone you both trust to speak truthfully in love. Set a time limit for this meeting too if possible.
6. If the issue still remains unresolved, speak to authorities at the church. They may choose to impose church discipline or remove the offender from the congregation altogether depending on the situation as Holy Spirit leads. If there is still no conflict resolution, treat the offender with love and respect just as if trying to win a lost person to Jesus.
This is the last resort. If you have prayed, possibly fasted, communicated and followed the steps above to the best of your ability it is time to move to this step. Church discipline is something of a lost aspect of Biblical life but is nonetheless scriptural. I’ll delve into this topic more at another time.
At this point in conflict resolution, it is time for strong and defined boundaries. You are to treat them as someone who does not know Jesus. That is with love and understanding. You are not rejecting the person with whom you have the conflict. However, you are rejecting the behavior and association by which you might later be compromised. Scripture clearly calls us to make righteous judgments based on God’ leading. See my previous blog about judgment within the church here.
Moreover, if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
Is there anyone with whom you need to resolve conflict?
Father, thank You for giving me a way to resolve a conflict. I will choose to be a peacemaker rather than a “peace faker.” I will walk in integrity even when it is hard. I will choose to follow Your perfect example of running to the problem rather than running from it. Click To Tweet