When we think of conflict for many negative thoughts or emotions arise. Followers of Jesus Christ are called to respond differently than the world, which can seem totally foreign to those around us. Conflict provides incredible opportunity to glorify God, serve other people, and grow to be more like Christ. We must change the way we view and deal with conflict, beginning with viewing conflict as an opportunity.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “do you all to the glory of God”. This encouragement is not limited to Sunday morning. Paul was imploring the church to bring honor and praise to God daily, especially in the way they resolved personal conflicts. When conflict arises, and it will, a good first question to ask yourself is, “How can I please and honor the Lord in this situation?” With this, I find it helpful to remember it is appropriate to overlook minor offenses as Proverbs 19:11 says, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” If you can answer “no” to all of the following questions, then the offense should be overlooked.
- Is the offense seriously dishonoring to God?
- Has it permanently damaged a relationship?
- Is it seriously hurting other people?
- Is it seriously hurting the offender?
However, if you answer “yes” to any of the questions, the offense is too serious to overlook, but you have the opportunity to glorify God.
Let’s get practical handling conflict in a healthy manner. I would suggest the following:
- Go to the offender in private or with a trusted third party, if there is someone both of you know who is able to speak God’s truth to both of you. Remember, the goal should always be reconciliation of the relationship. So, when we go to the offender, we should go gently. Even though, as believers in Jesus, we have experienced the greatest forgiveness in the world, we often fail to show one tenth of that forgiveness to others. Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
- Go in a manner that honors God. When I think of Matthew 28:19, “go and make disciples”, I know we will encounter conflict. The key, when we encounter conflict, is to view it as an opportunity to glorify God. We conduct ourselves in a way that honors God. We are not aggressive, harsh or unkind. We speak truth in love and remember we are Christ’s ambassador, especially when handling conflict.
- Go in a way that allows those you are in conflict with to speak into your life as well. Allow the person disciplining you to speak into your life. Being in proximity with the ones we disciple in their day-to-day lives helps us when conflict arises. This is not only important in making disciples; it is vital! When we handle conflict in a biblical way, we glorify God, serve others, and grow to be more like Christ.
Handling conflict in a healthy Godly way turns what the enemy meant for harm into good. We turn the conflict into an opportunity to strengthen Christ’s kingdom. We focus our love for one another. We walk out the kind of love Jesus called us to when things are hard and relationships are stressed. Our conflict is opportunity to live out 1 John 3:11, “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning that we should love one another.”
This post originally appeared at: Handling Conflict in a Healthy Way | Relational Discipleship Network (rdn1.com)