When I was a child I had a simplistic view of conflict, and conflict resolution. The person who did something wrong should apologize and then the conflict would be over. As I have grown up I have realized that life is not always that simple. To be sure there are times when one does offend another and so they should seek to be forgiven, however there are some conflicts that arise not from blatant sin, but from two or more people coming together and having a disagreement about the proper course of action. When doing various projects with my dad I have learned that although we are similar we can have different ways of doing things. For example when moving furniture he might rotate it to the left while I rotate it to the right. Although my dad is much more experienced than me, and most of the time he is right, I have to say that there a few times when either his way or my way could have worked. Conflicts arise from situations like this. A similar situation could be in the disciplining of a child. There are multiple ways to discipline a child and some ways are more effective for certain children at certain times than others. Because of this parents can disagree about how the discipline their children in particular situations. If a child fails a test should he grounded for the weekend or should he be given some grace but the parents inquire about his school work more? The truth is there are times when one option would be better, however both options are good in their own way. These types of conflicts can tough for families because there is no wrong person in these situations, there is no one right solution, and thus figuring out what should be done can lead to trouble. What do we do when these conflicts arise? There is no one answer to this question, but perhaps I can give some good tips for dealing with these conflicts when they arise. 1. You must understand that you are both sinners. I put this one first because for me it is something that I can quickly forget in the middle of a conflict. I get a sense of self-righteousness about myself and I can forget that I am a sinner. It's important to remember that you are sinner because you are a sinner, but it can also lead you to ask the question of if you are driving by some kind of sinful desire such as the desire to be right, or to win an argument. I am often tempted to be this way during confrontations, and it is something both members should be aware of. 2. Remember the work of Christ (Philippians) In the book of Philippians Paul explains that believers should view others more highly than they do themselves taking on the attitude of Christ who was equal with God, but did not consider this something to be grasped, but instead made himself low taking on the form of a slave and being obedient even to death on the cross. When we are not dealing with issues of doctrine, truth, and things clearly laid out in scripture we should be willing to ask ourselves the question, "What does it cost to be right?" There are issues worth fighting for, but there are also issues that aren't worth fighting about and it is in these times that if we view others are more important than us, then not only can be lead to peace faster, but we can move in a spirit of love and humility, rather than a spirit of pride of pride and bitterness. 3. Remember the gospel. It is important that we remember that we have been forgiven through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We have been forgiven our sins. In every aspect of life we should always recall what Jesus has done for us. The gospel is not just for unbelievers, it is for believers as well. The gospel is what continually sanctifies the believer through the power of the Holy Spirit. As believers if we are going to handle conflict in our homes, communities, churches, and even our world we must keep going back to the work of Jesus on the cross. That act of love, humility, justice, and righteousness is what should be what sets the tone for our lives every single day. What do you think? How do you deal with conflicts where there is not a clear right and wrong? What did you think of this blog? Comment below and let me know, and as always thanks for stopping by.
Here you can read various thoughts and discussions that come from the mind of our Pastor