Conflict Resolution, a biblical approach
I've been reading the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren for the last few weeks. I wanted to tell you why I'm reading this book and why you should too, but after 20 minutes I concede I'm not that great of a reviewer, and my strengths lie elsewhere, like copying and pasting. Here's some bits I took out of the book about resolving conflict. Sorry Rick.
Always take the initiative
Don't wait for the other party, go to them first. Delay only deepens resentment and makes matters worse. In conflict, time heals nothing; it causes hurt to fester.
This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.
- Matthew 5:23-24 (MSG)
Sympathise with their feelings
Before attempting to solve any disagreement you must first listen to other people's feelings. Use your ears more than you use your mouth.
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
- Philippians 2:4 (NLT)
Confess your part of the conflict
Since we all have blind spots, you may need to ask a third party to help you evaluate your own actions before meeting with the person with whom you have a conflict.
First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
- Matthew 7:5 (NLT)
Attact the problem, not the person
You cannot fix the problem if you are consumed with fixing the blame. You must choose between the two.
The wise in heart will be called understanding. And to speak in a pleasing way helps people know what you say is right.
- Proverbs 16:21 (NLV)
Cooperate as much as possible
Peace always has a price tag. Sometimes it costs our pride; it often costs our self-centeredness. Do your best to compromise.
You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
- Matthew 5:9 (MSG)
Emphasize reconcilliation, not resolution
Reconcilliation focuses on relationship while resolution focuses on the problem. When we focus on reconcilliation, the problem loses significance and often becomes irrelevant. We can disagree without being disagreeable.
Turn away from evil and do good. Try to live in peace even if you must run after it to catch and hold it!
- 1 Peter 3:11 (TLB)