SENERIOS THAT REQUIRE CONFLICT RESOLUTION
PERSONAL – PRIVATE (If your brother sins against you – Math 19:15-17)
This is not for every situation only AGAINST YOU.
- Go tell him his fault between you and him alone.
This is a PRIVATE matter between you and the offender. These efforts should be accompanied with prayer that you will gain your brother. Bear in mind this is about sin and all charges require evidence. (1 John 3:4) Approach the guilty party with right attitude and sufficient evidence combined with a receptive, humble spirit. If case is proven there should be repentance. In some cases it is just a misunderstanding which can be resolved and forgiven moving forward.
- If he will not hear, take one or two witnesses that every word may be established.
Don’t get angry, campaign or gossip. Taking it up a notch does not mean the two witnesses are on your side ganging up. They are there to be neutral, objective, fair and impartial.
- If he refuses to hear, tell the Church.
The matter now is refusing to repent. It is not about you disliking them or you seeing them as a threat to your power in the Church. This is an offender whose guilt has been established by evidence and whose guilt can be reported by more than one person. The offended brother must then bring this matter before the Church for the purpose of the brethren to admonish the guilty keeping in mind the purpose is to gain a brother.
- If these efforts fail let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
Jesus indicates exclusion because the person has chosen to remain in sin and should be subject to disciplinary measures. (1 Cor 5:5,9)(2 Thess 3:14-15) This process is not for the immature to be vengeful and get rid of an irritant or to elevate yourself or take over the Church. It is all about bringing a sinner to repentance. What is our motive? (Math 18:14) says it is not the will of the Father that one of these little ones should perish.
NON PERSONAL – PUBLIC / CHURCH
- Define the problem and stick to the issue.
Stay on topic by clearly defining the issues. Angry words, past issues or hurts cause the conflict to deteriorate.
- Pursue purity in heart.
Take the log out of your own eye first. (Math 7:5) Prayerfully consider your own shortcomings before approaching others regarding their faults. Confess any way that you might have contributed to the problem.
- Plan a time for the discussion.
Do not meet when you are tired, stressed or distracted with other responsibilities, things rarely will go well. Be intentional about planning the right time.
- Affirm the relationship.
Affirm the relationship clearly before clearly defining the problem. Avoid blaming the other person using words like “YOU”. Illuminate them by saying words like “I feel” When you do “A” I feel “B”.
- Listen carefully.
Once you share your feelings, listen (LISTEN) to the other person’s perspective. Be present, lean in, and let your body language demonstrate involvement. Reflect back to the individual what you believe you heard. Ask questions.
Forgive other because Christ has forgiven you. Make it concrete with these 4 promises.
1. I promise I won’t bring this up and use it against you in the future.
2. I promise I’m not going to dwell on it in my own heart and mind.
3. I am not going to talk to other people about it.
4. I’m not going to let it stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.
- Purpose a solution.
Remember the relationship is more important than the issue. (Phil 2:4-5) Seek solutions that keep everyone’s best interest in mind. Ask yourself “What would Jesus Christ do?” Bring the FULL measure of GRACE and TRUTH to the table.
BIBLICAL EXAMPLE – Sexually immoral Apostle Paul’s perspective (1 Corinthians 5)
- Problem – Rather than condemning the act of sexual immorality the Corinthians had tolerated the behavior.
- Paul’s reaction – Remove them from the Church family (1 Corinthians 5:3)
- Results – Later the same man in 2 Corinthians had repented and changed his lifestyle.
- Reaction – Paul admonishes the Corinthians to accept him again. (2 Corinthians 2:8) “I BEG you to REAFIRM tour LOVE for him. (ESV)
- Goal – Discipline is not meant to be mean or cold hearted. Condemn the sinful behaviors and issue a call to change. Handle the dispute in Love, with a goal of restoration.
We can see from the above example that a FULL dose of GRACE and TRUTH are being applied to this situation. There is no condemnation or judgment other than using Biblical Authority to be acted upon in LOVE with the end game being RESTORATION and FELLOWSHIP with GOD and the CHURCH.
Do we kill our wounded brothers on the battlefield as we so often tend to do, or do we lift them up on OUR SHIELDS of FAITH knowing, “but there for the GRACE of GOD go I”. I God sacrificed Himself for our relationship with Him, should we not emulate His example by sacrificing ourselves for the relationship. Should we not prefer the other person above ourselves? Can we really say we love Him whom we can’t see if we can’t love those whom we can see? Are we Kingdom minded in a Christian Movement that is a living organism, or are we so carnal that we seek immediate fleshly gratification in a Christian organization? The world can only know us by our love for one another and the fruit of the Hold Spirit being evident in everything that we do. Dead men do not have feelings. Are we not dead to self and alive in Christ? Most situations that cause division amongst the brethren can be avoided if we would strive to “Walk in the Spirit”. Amen.