Perhaps tempers flared.
Or maybe you just feel deflated, walking around in disbelief.
“How could they say that? Why would they do that? Do they even care? I thought they were my friend!”
Conflict may be unavoidable, but finding a healthy resolution to a conflict is easy to avoid. Conflict hurts us and facing the conflict means facing the possibility of more hurt. However, it is worth the risk to follow God’s advice of living at peace with everyone. When resolution and reconciliation can be achieved, it is beautiful and freeing, as if a weight is lifted off your shoulders.
I believe the Bible provides some pretty clear guidelines to help us navigate the murky waters of disagreement. We will look at two today and three tomorrow.
Before you do anything else take some time to talk to God. Search your own heart. Have you done anything to contribute to this conflict or is the other person fully to blame? You should always search for wrongs in your life before attempting to help another with wrongs in theirs. If you’ve done something wrong, ask for forgiveness and keep that in mind when you go to resolve the conflict. Pray for the other person involved. We want resolution because we love about the other person and want to continue to help each other in our pursuit of God. Praying for someone changes your heart toward them and softens your approach.
Go To Them
Go to them directly. This is important. Don’t go to a bunch of your friends and talk about them, complain about them or gossip about them. Doing so stirs up negativity in you and gives them a bad reputation to your friends. Going to them directly shows you care about them. Approach them calmly and simply ask if you can talk. Assure them you care about the relationship and want to work to make things right. If you’ve done something wrong, confess your part in the conflict.
When the time comes to confront their role in the conflict, don’t simply accuse them of all they’ve done wrong. Calmly explain what happened from your perspective and how what it did made you feel. Give them time to explain any misunderstandings that there may have been. Rarely does a friend or family member set out to maliciously hurt you, more often than not we have misunderstood what they meant. Giving space to clear up misunderstandings goes a long way toward resolution.
Many times this kind of direct conversation is enough to resolve the conflict. If it is not, then move on to the next step.
THINK ABOUT THIS:
- When disagreement happens is prayer your first move? Do you search to take responsibility for your part or place all the blame on the other person?
- Do you find it easier to talk to someone or about them? Think about past experiences and evaluate if any good ever came from talking about someone. How would you feel if someone was talking about you?
PRAY: Lord, give me the wisdom to come to You first when conflicts arise. Also give me the courage to go directly to the person, rather than others.
Matthew 7:3 (NLT) And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?
Matthew 18:15-20 (NLT) 15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
1 Peter 4:8 (NLT) Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.
Colossians 3:13 (NLT) Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.