In the last few weeks, it's crazy how much God has been teaching me on the topic of conflict management. He's teaching me more than I want to learn, to be honest. Everywhere I turn, I'm needing to address conflict, hear a teaching about conflict, or teach someone else how to handle conflict in their life.
It's a funny thing, actually. Sometimes I'm begging for a fight; I would go to war to prove I'm right. (See that awesome rhyme I did there??) Other times I run from it and avoid having to face it like the Plague.
Maybe you've found yourself in one of those situations, running from or towards conflict. Or, maybe you're a little unique like me and you experience both, depending on the subject or on your mood. No matter your approach to conflict, I believe the things I share in this post will encourage you to address conflict in a biblical, healthy way.
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector."
This is one of the most famous passages of scripture for how to deal with offense, address conflict, and how to right wrongs. Here are some things I felt God has taught me through this scripture and others.
1. Don't avoid it
It's not godly or heroic to "grin and bear it" when someone hurts or mistreats us, even if it's unintentionally. On the flip side of that same coin, we also don't have to make a major ordeal out of everything.
Address conflict as it comes, and according to the nature of the offense. Don't blow things out of proportion.
2. Own your 1%
My leaders have taught me this. Even if you think it's all the other person's fault, it takes two to tango. No matter how minuscule your portion of the problem was, own it with sincerity.
3. Don't bring others in too early
I've made this mistake before. I've gotten overwhelmed with an issue, and just instantly reach out to someone to help fix it for me. This is actually wrong! The Bible instructs us to first go to the person we have the issue with. If there is no resolution after that step, it is then time to involve another party (see Matthew 18 again).
4. Make restoration your goal
I have certainly been that guy that doesn't care about restoration and just wants to prove that he's right and the other person is wrong. In the end, it doesn't really matter who's right or wrong. What matters is the relationship. If you can save the relationship, you've won.
5. Honor God
It seems like, when it comes to conflict resolution, we often disclude God from the equation. We step into "I'm going to handle this" or "Problem? What problem?" mode. God should be honored by the way we treat others and the way we approach conflict in our relationships.
No matter the type of relationship you're experiencing conflict in (business, friend, family, etc.), I believe these principles apply! I hope this post was encouraging to you and gave you some good tools for how to move forward in healthy conflict management. Be blessed!