Going deeper as a disciple of Jesus Christ will inevitably reveal that you tend to cause conflict or reduce conflict as you relate to others whether in your family, work, or church. This article is very practical and will help you determine your natural style and then provide biblical principles to help you deal with it.
FIRST…read my article Simple Conflict Management
Conflict has become so much a part of western culture that when it is absent, many look for it in their entertainment and others simply generate it to fill a void Conflict is defined as “competitive or opposing action of incompatibles.” You probably don’t need a definition of conflict from Merriam Webster since you have certainly experienced it…Read more...
SECOND…return to this page and vote in the following poll:
THIRD…learn and apply the following principles taught by Jesus Christ regarding how we are to handle personal and church reconciliation. Keep in mind that if you first apply the Simple Conflict Management principles listed in my article, you probably will experience improved relationships and will not have to apply the following steps.
CONFLICT REZ STEP 1
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the fault. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. Matthew 18:15 (NLT)
Within this step of conflict resolution, you have the opportunity to use your “water” bucket to squelch the flames of conflict. Pray before the private meeting with the one who has offended you…pray that you would have the proper forgiving attitude and pray for the other person to have a conciliatory attitude as well. Keep any agenda you have to a bare minimum if any. The agenda is restoring the relationship as long as the behavior that caused the offense does not continue. Reconciliation does not require that you agree to being hurt, insulted, and abused in order to maintain a relationship with the individual.
If the other individual does not accept your conciliatory efforts, then try step 2.
CONFLICT REZ STEP 2
But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. Matthew 18:16 (NLT)
This step is similar to the first one except there are witnesses. The purpose and presence of the witnesses is not to add insult to injury for the offended parties but are to provide prayer support, insure that the “water” buckets are used to avoid escalation, and verification of what occurs.
If the other individual does not accept your conciliatory efforts, then try step 3 if this is a church relationship. If it is a workplace relationship, you might seek assistance from human resources or in extreme cases, a conflict resolution mediator. If this conflict is in the family, seek the assistance of your pastor or a Christian counselor.
CONFLICT REZ STEP 3
If that person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. If the church decides you are right, but the other person won’t accept it, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector. Matthew 18:17 (NLT)
This step requires all involved parties to accept what is called chosen accountability. Chosen accountability is where all parties involved agree to settle disagreements according to biblical principles and be answerable to the pastor, elders, deacons, and other members of a local church. If a person simply leaves the meeting and church because they refuse to be held accountable for their behavior, then they have essentially chosen to separate from the church. If all parties choose to resolve the conflict then it is over and certainly must not become a topic of gossip, as that would be a violation. Remember that gossip is an ingredient of the “fuel” bucket that escalates conflict.
If your church has a new member class, it would be a good idea to include a discussion of biblical conflict resolution. Be sure that people, especially elders and deacons, agree to chosen accountability principles. This means that they agree to be held accountable by others in the church and to accept the settlement and decision of the church.
In each step, if the other person refuses to reconcile, then you have done all you can do. Once the other person walks away then you can walk away also and with a clear conscience.
Dr. Tom Cocklereece, The Disciplist
Simple Discipleship: How to Make Disciples in the 21st Century was published by Church Smart Resources. To learn more about Simple Discipleship and to order the book, follow the link below:
Dr. Tom Cocklereece is Author of “Simple Discipleship,” and a contributing writer for www.Linked2Leadership.com Blogazine. He is a pastor, leadership coach, and ministry development specialist.
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