We are increasingly seeing conflict in society in general and in our local churches specifically. In their book entitled Redeeming Church Conflicts: Turning Crisis into Compassion and Care, Tara Klena Barthel and David V. Edling did a great job defining conflict and uncovering what the Bible says we should do when conflict arises. In the first chapter, they shared five mistakes that most people make when conflict happens. These mistakes are the beginning of a tragic downward spiral.
5 Mistakes People Make During Conflict
1. We think OUR evaluation of the situation is always right. I’ve made this mistake and you have as well. It’s easy and natural to do, but it’s not best to do. In order to resolve conflict, we must be open to listen to the “other side” and be willing to consider that we are not totally right on the issue.
2. We treat people differently than God treats US. God treats us with love and grace. He forgives us when we don’t deserve it. During conflict, we often treat the other person with contempt and disrespect which leads us to disdain their perspective.
3. We assume that God is on OUR side. Although we may accept that those on the other side of the conflict are believers, we believe that we uniquely have God’s attention, care, and blessing more than our opponents do.
4. We become DEFENSIVE. As soon as we become defensive, we become closed and narrow. We believe that God takes our side on the issue and condemns those on the other side of the conflict in the same way that we do.
5. We are marked by PRIDE and selfishness. These characteristics are not from the Lord. Instead, Christ wants us to be marked by humility and love which leads toward reconciliation.
Conflict is a normal part of life. No one is exempt! But, as believers, God calls us to respond differently than the world and to DO OUR BEST to resolve the conflict.
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Romans 12:18 (NKJV)