What are some principles for Christian conflict resolution?
In addition to the many tips and ideas for resolving differences, such as reflective listening, and using “I” statements, i.e. whenever_________ happens, it makes me feel like I_________, things which are discussed in various other pages of this web-site; a few additional principles apply for true Christian conflict resolution.
Among them are some attitude adjustments. Worship God and hold him in high esteem in your life. Rather than holding a me-first attitude, which leads to conflict. A Christian is to put God first in his life. "Do not worship any other gods besides me” (Exodus 20:3). Holding a “me-first” attitude can be a form of idolatry. When a Christian puts his owns wishes and ways in the forefront, without regard for others, he is in disobedience to the Word of God.
If someone has wronged you, either at home or in a work situation, bring the matter to God. “Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart's desires” (Psalm 37:3-4)
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:17-19, NIV) The world would be a better place to live in if people would live by these injunctions.
Another aspect to consider in Christian conflict resolution are the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:3: “And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own?’’ When a conflict arises, we are so quick to blame the other person without considering how we ourselves may have contributed to the problem. We are to examine our own attitudes and motives. Ask yourself, how have my ways or words contributed to the conflict? That’s a hard thing to do, the admission of our own possible wrongdoing. It’s much easier to blame the other person. But blaming the other person is not the Christian way.
Jesus also said, “So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God” (Matthew 5:23). That indeed is a hard thing to do. Not if I hold a resentment against my brother, but if he holds something against me, I’m the one that is supposed to go and take the first step in reconciliation. You may say something like this, “I’m sorry if I offended you unintentionally. Could you tell me about it?” I have had to do that on one occasion. The other person still may not respond favorably and still be cold towards you. But in the eyes of God you have done what is required of you.
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