Conflict Resolution

If you have any kind of a problem with somebody, God offers a

very clear process to work through and get that problem resolved.  

Here are the steps you need to work through:

Step 1:  Pray and ask Jesus to reveal any issues of pride in your own heart.

Typically when we have problems in our relationships with others it's caused

by pride of some form or another in our own heart.  In Matthew 7:3-5 Jesus

says, "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not

notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother,

'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."  Your relationship with God and the status of your own heart are more important winning that argument.  So start with prayer.

Step 2:  Pray and ask God to convict them and grant them repentance.

In 2nd Timothy 2: 25-26 God clearly says why we should seek to correct others.  "God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will."  But, you see, it is God that must ultimately convict and lead to repentance.  Since that's the goal, that's what we need to start out praying for.  More than that, it's always better if somebody is convicted by God and acts on their own initiative without you having to do anything.

Step 3:  Talk with the person who sinned against you.

When we have problems with somebody typically the first thing we do is go tell others about it.  That's not what Jesus says to do.  If a problem is big enough for you to want to talk about, then the first person you need to talk about it with is the person involved.  Jesus pointedly says in Matthew 18:15, "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.  If he listens to you, you have gained your brother."  If it's not worth you talking to them about, then it's obviously not worth mentioning to others either.

Step 4:  Get a couple of people to go with you.

In Matthew 18:16 Jesus says, "But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses."  Perhaps those people will be able to help you two work it out, and if not, then they will be witnesses that you did everything you could.

Step 5:  Get your church involved.

In the next verse Jesus says, "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church.  And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."  This may seem a bit severe.  But the real issue at this point is the other person's relationship with God.  If they have truly sinned and are absolutely unrepentant then this issue is going to severely handicap their relationship with Christ.  Getting the church involved might be just the thing that will finally get them to break and repent of their sin.  And it's not like this is your idea, Jesus says to do it.

Step 6:  Be willing to forgive that person.

In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus makes it VERY clear that whatever it was that was done to you, you've done worse to Him.  And yet, He forgave you anyway.  So He expects us to also be willing to forgive others.  This is a serious issue.  If Christ forgave you everything, how can you not turn around and forgive another person who you are every bit as sinful as.  Yes, forgiveness can be hard.  And it's not just saying some words.  It means being willing to pay yourself for what that person did and release them from their debt to you.  Just like Jesus did.  It means no longer holding it over them, because there's nothing left for them to make up for.  You paid it all.  Just like Jesus did.  This is not easy, but it is exactly what Jesus did for us.   

Step 7:  Leave it in God's hands.

In Romans 12:18 it says, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."  There will be times when people sin against us and will not repent, will not say they are sorry, may not even care.  We still must forgive them, because Christ forgive us, but at that point there is nothing more we can do.  We've done as much as we can do.  Still pray for that individual, but at this point you have to be able to walk away and leave it in God's hands.  It would also be good to bear in mind what He says in the three verses following the one above:  "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."  To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head."  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."