Resolving Conflict

If you have relationships, then you’ll eventually have conflict.  But conflict doesn’t have to destroy our relationships.  Our recent studies in Colossians have taught us that our conflict with God was resolved by Jesus’ death for us.  He has reconciled us to God and we now have peace with Him.  You can listen to these sermons here.

But what about conflict with us and people?  How can the good news of Jesus giving us peace with God help us in making peace with others?  In Ken Sande’s book, “The Peacemaker”, he lists what he calls “The 4 G’s of Peacemaking.”  This is not a magic formula, but rather these are helpful questions for us to ask of ourselves as we take initiative to restore peace in our conflicts.

  • Glorify God

 – How can I glorify God in this situation?

Too often in conflict we first focus on ourselves, and how we were hurt or how we are right and they are wrong.  But the starting point for any conflict must be, “How can I glorify God in this situation?”  How can I trust Him, rely on Him, honor Him in how I move forward?  That means, even if the other person rejects you, you can still glorify God in your attitude, your faithfulness, and in your humble prayers for the other person.

  • Get the log out of your own eye

 – How can I take responsibility for my contribution to this conflict?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 that we are often so quick to judge others without first examining ourselves.   We must recognize that we are not perfect and that there may be things we have done, knowingly or unknowingly, to increase the conflict.  We should express remorse for our part in the conflict and seek to change whatever attitudes or actions we have contributed.  Don’t compare who did worse, but rather take humble responsibility for whatever part you contributed.

  • Gently restore

 – How can I lovingly serve others by helping them take responsibility for their contribution to this conflict?

Jesus words in Matthew 7 for us to examine ourselves are intended to equip us to help the other person with their sin.  The examination of ourselves makes us better able to help them with humility and care.  It’s not loving to blame them for everything, nor is it loving to take all the blame on ourselves if they have something they did wrong.  We are to help them see their sin so they can be forgiven, restored, and equipped to change going forward.

  • Go and be reconciled

 – How can I demonstrate the forgiveness of God and encourage a reasonable solution to this conflict?

When God forgives us, he no longer treats us as our sin deserved.  We are to do likewise with others, not holding it over their head and continuing to penalize them for it.  Our grace to them can be used by God to bring about change in their heart.  We then seek out humble and reasonable steps for going forward as two forgiven people.

If you have a relationship in conflict today, don’t delay, but go and make peace.  Consider these verses and may God help you as you follow Jesus in your conflicts.

  • “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” – Matthew 5:9
  • “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” – Romans 12:18