May 7, 2022
Resolving Conflicts Among Believers
Conflict – verb
- To come into collision or disagreement; be contradictory, at variance, or in opposition; clash:
- To fight or contend; do battle.
Conflict – noun
“Conflict is the difference in opinion or purpose that frustrates someone’s goals or desires” - Ken Sande ‘The Peacemaker’
Study 1: Cause and Types of Conflicts
James 3:14-16; 4:1-2b
- Sinful attitudes and habits – James 3:14-16; 4:1-2b
- Misunderstandings from poor communication – Example: Joshua 22:10-34
- Differences in values, goals, priorities, interests, or opinions – Example: Acts 15:39
- Competition over limited resources – Example: Genesis 13:1-2
Not all conflicts are bad - These are a result of the diversity and differences that are divinely ordered - by God’s creation of unique individuals, diverse cultures and perspectives. - Romans 14:2-10
All types of conflicts can turn bad - depending on the attitude of the participants!
Study 2: Christ the Cure for Conflicts
- Like mindedness, same love - one accord of one mind - v2
- Nothing done through strife or vainglory - lowliness of mind - v3a
- Esteeming others better that ourselves - v3b
Christ our example - “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” v5
- Self-awareness - No need to “prove” himself to anyone - v6,7 (See Luke 4:3, 9)
- Set to serve - v7
- Humbled himself - obedient to death, the death of the cross - v8-11 (See 1 Peter 5:5-7)
Study 3: Case Study for Resolving Conflict
The case study focuses on a trespass or sin committed. Very often conflicts do lead to a trespass by one or both parties. We think, speak, and act towards them in an ungodly way! So this serves as a good model.
Step 1: Communication - v15 - Face to face private meeting to have an open, honest discussion on the matter that gives rise to the conflict. It is not to prove a point or defend a position - but to hear and be heard. Done in humility - the goal is “gaining or winning back a bother/sister”.
Step 2: Mediation - v16 - When communication fails - mediation is the next step. Take two or three more, who can hear and assess the conditions, and guide them to a healthy conclusion. (See 1 Corinthians 6:1-8)
Step 3: Assembly Accountability - v17a - The final step when step 1 and 2 fail - the assembly has the final say on resolving conflict between two believers. Each submits to the assembly's resolution. (See 1 Corinthians 6:1-8)
Step 4: Treat as an unbeliever - v17b - the party that fails to submit to the assembly's conclusion of the matter - is to be treated as an unbeliever with removal of all communal privileges.
The goal of conflict resolution:
- Restoration of relationships - Genesis 13:18
- Witness and Testimony - Philippians 2:14-16