Handling conflict well
Conflict is inevitable whenever two people are together. Most of us try to avoid conflict completely, or go in all guns blazing and make it worse. Jesus gave some amazingly clear teaching on how to handle conflict well
Whoever you think is at fault, Go! As soon as we become aware we are offended, or have offended, Jesus commands us to go!
In Matt 5 you have caused the offence, In Matt 18 the other person has caused the offence, they have offended you. In Matt 5 you may have sinned against the other person. In Matt 18 the other person may have sinned against you.
Jesus gives us four steps. Firstly have a private conversation – not phone a friend, not moaning on Facebook, telling everyone what they have done wrong. Go firstly face to face and talk about it just the two of you.
There are probably 6 ways we can challenge someone ranging from the easiest to the hardest – letter, email, SMS, voice message, phone call, and face to face – but the most effective way to actually resolve the conflict is the other way round! Go quickly – damage gets worse the longer you leave it – just like a broken ankle. Make observations not accusations – “I felt… when you…” and LISTEN to the response! Aim to listen as much as you speak (James 1:19-20).
If that doesn’t work take a wise mutual friend to help mediate. Most conflicts can be resolved by this stage. Next you can take two witnesses – and finally tell the church for the most serious issues involving persistent sin.
Pray: Examine your heart to see if there are any unresolved situations.
Recommended extra reading
Everyone is normal until you get to know them (John Ortberg)
A really helpful book on human relationships and how to do them well! Normal? Who's normal? Not you, that's for sure! No one you've ever met, either. None of us are normal according to God's definition, and the closer we get to each other, the plainer that becomes. Yet for all our quirks, sins, and jagged edges, we need each other. Community is more than just a word---it is one of our most fundamental requirements. So how do flawed, abnormal people such as ourselves master the forces that can drive us apart and come together in the life-changing relationships God designed us for? In Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them, teacher and best-selling author John Ortberg zooms in on the things that make community tick. You'll get a thought-provoking look at God's heart, at others, and at yourself. Even better, you'll gain wisdom and tools for drawing closer to others in powerful, impactful ways. With humor, insight, and a gift for storytelling, Ortberg shows how community pays tremendous dividends in happiness, health, support, and growth. It's where all of us weird, unwieldy people encounter God's love in tangible ways and discover the transforming power of being loved, accepted, and valued just the way we are. In Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them, Ortberg once again reveals his gift for sharing profound insights using a lighten-up approach. With winsome humor and a fondness for well-spun stories, he pops the myth of normalcy and hands us the keys to creating and sustaining relationships. Because in all the rewards and struggles of community, we're investing in something beyond our comprehension. You could call it heaven. You could call it home. It's the place where all of us are headed, all of us belong, and all of us will be normal at last.