Conflict does happen. It’s a part of life. Wherever you have two people trying to develop community, you’re going to have conflict. And one of the primary reasons we need to learn to resolve conflict is the unity of the church is at stake.
Conflict is when people argue or there’s anger, or differences of opinion, or different ideas. People are united by life but divided by conflict, but it isn’t God’s way for us to live like that.
Conflict is inevitable. Disunity is unacceptable.
The unity of the church is unspeakably precious to God. In John 17:23 – Jesus prays: May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.
5 principles for resolving conflict:
- Identify the issue.
- Clarify your intentions.
- Verify your love.
- Forgive without probation (The goal in the midst of conflict should be reconciliation and not revenge.)
- Anticipate Satan’s schemes.
To overcome conflict, live by this principle from Romans 12:18: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Questions for further study:
Read 2 Corinthians 1:23
- Are you in a relationship with another where a chalk line has been drawn and there is unresolved conflict? Read John 17:23 (see above). What is Jesus saying about the importance of unity?
- Pray about your relationships. Which come to mind as ones that need conflict resolution?
- Paul disappointed the people of Corinth when he had a change in plans. This was a big letdown involving disillusionment and pride, resulting in discord. Is pride involved in your conflict with others? Identify what the hurt is and pray about releasing it.
- Paul looks at the issue, identifies the problem with what he’s done, and clarifies the situation in his letter to the Corinthians. Can you examine your conflict to identify the issues from the other person’s perspective?
- Paul let the Corinthians know he had a change of plans. What reasons did Paul have not to visit there again and were they God honoring?
- In 2 Cor. 2:4, Paul pours out his love for these people. What does loving the other person look like in your conflict? How can you honor God and the one who has wronged you?
- Jesus’s prayer from John 17:23 is “Father, make them one.” Using the 5 principles above, write out the steps you’ll take to resolve a current conflict, even if it’s not your fault.