Conflict Resolution

Much has been written about conflict resolution; strategy, motives, lasting resolution. But today, we will look at what God’s Word says about it. What do we do when we butt heads with someone?

James 1:19 is my favorite verse concerning this issue.

Know this my beloved brothers; let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

What if we were quick to hear?

I mean not just listen, but hear what the other person is saying? Recently I was part of a mediation between several people involved in a conflict. It was interesting to discover that each person saw the conflict differently, but most importantly they heard the core issue with different set of ears. The interpretation for each person involved examining the issue was conflicted. Unraveling the truth took little effort by simply listening.

What if we were slow to speak?

One of the hardest things to do when we have been wronged is to remain silent and not talk; not justify with our words. After all, we have a side of the story to tell. But when we are slow to speak, we give people the opportunity to put their point of view on the table. People feel valued when we are slow to speak and willing to listen.

What if we were slow to anger?

Now this is a big one! I am in the middle of a renovation/building project and my porch was much higher than we wanted. The plans showed the lower porch, and we had measured initially to insure it would be the height that we desired, but it was way off. I saw no way to fix it and jumping to conclusions that I had to live with it made me angry. My response was not pretty. As it turned out, there was a solution; not exactly what I wanted, but it could be solved. My angry response was not a good witness of the character of Christ. If I had simply waited and listened without talking, we would have found a resolution to the problem without my antics.

Another one of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 

This doesn’t say blessed are the peacekeepers; the ones who keep peace on the outside but are standing up on the inside. Keeping peace does not resolve conflict. It simply puts it on the back burner to simmer and one day perhaps boil over. On the other hand, peacemakers are people that Jesus calls out as sons of God; the people who seek peaceful resolution.

Peacemakers, those willing to resolve conflicts God’s way, walk in a willingness to pursue peace and restore relationships if at all possible.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:18)

So in this New Year, let’s all be determined to resolve conflicts God’s way!

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