Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Biblical Conflict Resolution

Truth be told, most of us don't like conflict . . . I know that I don't. I respect those people who will face a problem head-on and deal with it but frankly, I'm afraid of people who actually like conflict. The Bible spells out the way Believers should try to work out disputes among themselves in Matthew 18:15-17 MSG. The steps are pretty simple:
  1. Go alone to the person who has offended you, state your case and work out a resolution between the two of you.
  2. If that doesn't work, solicit another Believer or two to come along with you to keep the conversation honest (not acting as thugs to gang up on or intimidate your brother) as you give it another shot.
  3. If even then you still can't resolve it, then it's time to bring the church into it perhaps by talking to your pastor and seeking his direction or asking him to mediate it. Seems like a reasonable plan, doesn't it? Why is it then that we try to address conflicts in so many other ways? What integrity exists in complaining about something or someone anonymously? How many times have you or I complained to the pastor about something without first going to the person who has offended us and trying to resolve the problem. If I'm unwilling to bring my complaint to you directly, what does it say about me or the validity of my complaint? What does it say about what I believe about the instruction of scripture?

Nowhere does the Bible say that conflict resolution is easy or painless. Playing the "I don't like conflict" card is just not a valid excuse for trying to get someone else to handle your problems. It's unfair to the person with whom you have a conflict. It's unfair to the person you are soliciting to act on your behalf. It's unfair to you because it robs you of the opportunity to speak your heart honestly to another person, to hear that person's heart and to experience the satisfaction that comes from reaching a resolution.

God knows how you and I are made because He made us! He knows that conflict is not comfortable for us but He also knows what's best for us. Following these steps are the plan that He gave us . . . so don't you think that we should do our best to follow this plan?

What have you learned from resolving issues face-to-face?

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