Why Conflict Resolution Matters
We often talk about how the Bible is a blueprint for our lives. It shows us how to be good people, faithful friends, and the hands and feet of God to the world that He loves. A tall order, really.
Let’s take that order and break it down into a bite sized piece: Conflict.
If you plan to love the world around you, the first thing you have to be prepared for is conflict. Not a single person can interact with another person for an extended period of time without having some form of conflict come up. It’s just part of the human experience. In fact, it’s so engrained in our lives that we can hate someone and not think to do anything about it. We can be offended or cause offense and never take a step toward resolving it because this world and this church are big. People can be avoided, new friendships can be made – besides, why create all that stress and drama?
Great question! Let’s see what Jesus had to say about that.
“You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Fool!’ will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You moron!’ will be subject to hellfire. So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matt. 5:21-24 (HCSB)
Jesus is quite direct when it comes to conflict resolution. Here’s what we can take away from this passage:
Anger is a serious issue. You can’t just sweep it under the rug and yelling and name calling will not be tolerated.
It’s more important to make things right with your brother than to participate in service. Don’t just lift your hands during worship, go talk to Jim about why he’s still angry about the lawnmower incident. Don’t just eat your communion cracker, apologize to Cathy for your overly harsh comment the other day. God isn’t concerned with your participation, He’s concerned with the state of your soul, his or her soul, and your relationships. Don’t cop out, deal with the issue at hand.
It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right. Here’s a breakdown of the verses above:
Don’t murder and don’t act out of anger.
If you’re angry with your brother, go fix it.
If your brother is angry with you, go fix it.
It is no one person’s job to start the conversation, just fix it.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me, relationships are as complex as the people involved. You and God will decide on what fixing it looks like. What’s important is that we take the first step; that we value the state of our relationships with others and with God enough to take action and choose resolution, love, and forgiveness.