Resolving Conflict

Some resolutions to conflict are not quickly or easily found but need supernatural discernment and wisdom, as in the case of the two prostitutes who came before King Solomon (1 Kings 3:25–27)

handshakeAs you prepare to walk the road to resolution of a conflict, remember to …

Pledge your commitment to the relationship and to reconciliation, if possible. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)

Pray for discernment in the conflict. Ask yourself if you see the real issue. Ask the Lord to reveal any personal error you need to face. Prepare your heart to be open. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23–24)

Prepare before you ask for a meeting.  Discern the root cause of the conflict. Examine your expectations.  Decide on positive solutions.  Use the “Sandwich Technique” – start with the positive and/or a compliment, address the conflict and end with a compliment or positive element. “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:40)

Propose a time to talk face-to-face.  Ask the person in conflict with you something like: I care about our relationship. Is it possible for us to have some time to talk?“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3)

Provide a private place to talk about the conflict, away from people and distractions. “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.” (Matthew 18:15)

Purpose to be honest and take responsibility for your actions, but very important see the other person’s viewpoint. “A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies.” (Proverbs 12:17)

Permit total forgiveness – choose to forgive any hurts. Don’t rehearse the faults of the other person. Be willing for God reestablish a bond of love between you. “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:13–14).

Perceive a future harvest. You are sowing seeds that may not take root until later. Change is a process. What you sow, you reap! “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

Present the present conflict. Don’t bring up the past. Keep the conversation on the present conflict. “[Love] … does not take into account a wrong suffered.” (1 Corinthians 13:5).

Promote fairness and objectivity. Avoid generalisations. Mention both positives and negatives. “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.” (Leviticus 19:15)

Protect one another’s privacy. Don’t involve outsiders (for now – if there seems to be no resolution you can bring an objective person to help). Control your tongue when you are with other people – don’t talk negative about the person you are in conflict with. “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” (Proverbs 11:13)

Preserve individuality. Value differences in goals, desires, and priorities. Don’t demand that others have to have your perspective. “I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.” (Job 32:17)

Project openness and optimism. Exhibit positive body language. Use “I” statements and make good eye contact. Do not attack the other person verbally. “Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Practice love. End with an proper physical expression: firm handshake, hug, or a pat on the back. Express appreciation, care, and love. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17)