How to Resolve Conflict, Part 3
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Why devote so much time to resolving conflict? Because peacemaking shows us to be “children of God.” Jesus is the supreme peacemaker, reconciling man to God. As His followers, we are to be instruments of peace.
Some people seem to enjoy causing trouble. They are by nature volatile agitators. And they prey on those they perceive to be weak.
To live as Christ commanded is to be humble, gentle, and non-combative. But that should never be construed as weakness. In fact, when we handle life’s conflicts and problems as the Lord directs, the result is power and victory.
Responding to conflict in a way that honors God takes more strength, courage, and self-discipline than leading with your fists or cursing your enemy.
My roles as a pastor and in radio management required frequent use of conflict resolution skills. At one point late in my career, the problem became so frequent that I developed a strategy for handling every uprising. By focusing on the plan, I was better equipped to remain obedient to God, realize desired peaceful resolutions, and maintain peace of mind.
At the core of my strategy was to be true to God and myself. I refused to give anyone permission to cause me to violate my conscience. When that is your focus and not beating up on your opponent, you always walk away a winner. Don’t give anyone permission to violate the person you are in Christ. Remain true to the godly and righteous person you are in Him.
Following are more Biblical principles on How to Resolve Conflict.
(11) meet in private (Matthew 18:15)
Public showdowns cause embarrassment and tend to fan the flames of animosity. Private meetings are always best.
Speaking the truth in love is not a license to criticize unfairly or insult. These statements usually begin with, “I say this in all Christian love.” Then they’re followed with a putdown. “Honey, I say this in all Christian love, but you don’t have the good sense the good Lord gave a soda cracker.”
The truth is your honest version of the who, what, where, when, why, and how side of the conflict. It tells how you feel and why you feel that way. It speaks to the circumstances, misunderstandings, misperceptions, and especially any wrong doing on your part.
To speak the truth in love is to communicate in sincerity, compassion, and a fervent desire for healing the relationship. If forgiveness is in order, it should be offered in genuine remorse and humility.
Caution! Your words to resolve conflict can be used against you. Don’t say more than needed and avoid pulling others into the conflict. Take responsibility for your actions and only invoke the names of others if pertinent to the case. “He said” and “she said” may lead to more trouble between you and others. Choose your words carefully.
(13) don’t repay evil for evil (Romans 12:17)
I mentioned this point before, but it is worth repeating. If you’re the target of mudslinging, don’t sling back. Don’t seek revenge or allow someone who has done evil to pull you down to their sinful level.
(14) offer grace and mercy (Romans 12:20)
Many times the offending party doesn’t deserve your goodness and kindness. That’s when grace kicks in. Give them the good they don’t deserve. And if they deserve punishment for the wrong they have inflicted upon you, give mercy by forgiving them.
And if they should say, “After what I have done to you, how can you treat me so kindly?” The door has just opened for you to share the reason for your hope and to resolve conflict.
(15) be willing to compromise (Philippians 2:4)
It’s not your way or the highway. Your goal is peace which may require compromise. The only thing that is not open for negotiation is that which honors God. Anything requested in your peace negotiation that would force you to violate your faithfulness to God is off limits.
(16) your objective is peace (Matthew 5:9)
Keep the main thing the main thing. Because you are a child of God, you are a peacemaker. And you will be blessed for your effort.
That concludes our 3-part devotional on resolving conflict. Tomorrow, I’ll share some Biblical principles on what to do when your efforts at conflict resolution are rejected.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Love Means You Sometimes Have to Say You’re Sorry
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.