There are two things that every human being has in common. We are all created in God’s Image. And we are all sinful people. So how do those two seemingly opposing truths relate to conflict resolution? That is exactly what I want to break down for today’s Monday Musings of Grace. I’ll be sharing select scriptures to walk us through Biblical conflict resolution in a modern culture.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.Matthew 22:37-39
Let me begin by saying that everything I’ll be writing today is about looking inward. This is not a finger pointing post. It is not a “how to get other people to see my point of view” or “how to get justice for being wronged” tutorial. This is about me. It’s about you. And it’s about changing our own mindset towards Biblical conflict resolution.
The Problem | We are all sinful
One of my greatest privileges of doing this job is connecting with people from across the world. Here on the blog, and on Instagram, I talk daily with other people.
People from across the world. People in my own backyard. People who have different political views, different styles, different opinions, different religious viewpoints.
However, do you know the one common thread I encounter with each and every one of them? They have struggles, trials, and hurts. They have anger and angst and disappointment. And most of the time, those negative feelings are associated with a relational conflict.
For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.Romans 3:23
God created us in His image and as relational beings. But what do we do when those relationships cause pain? What do we do when they no longer seem worth it?
A Personal Example
Over the course of the last two years I have personally experienced more relational conflict than ever before. Perhaps that’s tied to aging and the complicated life that comes with time and experience.
Perhaps its tied to a few large events that have been major trials in our life. But in reality, it all boils down to the fact that people are sinful, and we will all eventually come across situations that need God as our focus to remedy them.
After a particularly rough year losing people very close to us due to relational conflict, I found myself becoming a new person. Where once I would have gladly given you my trust until you proved yourself to be untrustworthy, I was now reserving that trust until you earned it.
Where I used to enjoy making new friends, I was now stepping back from any social setting that would give me the opportunity to do so. I changed from someone who was open to relationships to someone who put a wall up and was constantly on guard.
The Solution | Redirect our focus to God
We make mistakes. We mess up. We regret. We blame others. We move forward focusing so much on our own hurt that we fail to see or do what the Bible calls us to do in these situations.
Instead of focusing on the hurt and pain and injustice, we need to redirect our focus to God.
I believe this looks different for each person. For me, it took 2 years to get to the point where I can act upon what I’m writing today. However, looking back, that was 2 years wasted.
So let’s dive into Biblical conflict resolution with some amazing examples of forgiveness, obedience, humility and healing.
Biblical Conflict Resolution in Modern Culture
First, I must say I am no counselor, scholar, priest, pastor, or psychologist. Good thing God didn’t place those requirements on His people to be able to share His Word. 😉 But because of that “lack of qualification” I do want to say that I 100% encourage you to dive into this study on your own.
Make your own conclusions, study the Word in its entirety, and if you feel the need please seek help from a trusted advisor, counselor or mentor.
Because of the depth I want to go into on the topic of Biblical conflict resolution, I plan to break this up to two posts. Today I want to focus on the Fruit of the Spirit. My next post will revolve around conflict resolution activities and action steps.
Fruits of the Spirit
Over the last few months the Lord has been gently reminding me to look inward at my own motives and areas of sin that need to be dealt with. This passage where Jesus drops a truth bomb has been particularly convicting.
Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.Matthew 12:33-37
Jesus is challenging false teachers to connect their character to their conduct. To look at themselves and see what kind of fruit they are producing.
So what are the fruit that we should be producing as Christians?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23
When you consider your thoughts, actions and attitudes towards conflict resolution, are these character traits the fruit you are producing?
I wasn’t either.
Rather, it was more common for the “works of the flesh” from Galatians 5 to come out: enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy…
What Jesus Calls us To
Our first step towards Biblical conflict resolution is to refocus. Transition our thoughts away from “I’m so hurt” to “How does God call me to handle this?” Because, He does indeed, call us to address it. He calls us towards forgiveness, humility, restoration and sanctification.
Thankfully, He also gives us a bond in Christ, living through the Spirit, that empowers us to be able to take the steps necessary to forgive and restore.
For now, I’d love to encourage you to spend time in the Word, examining yourself in the context of that relational situation that you may be stuck in.
This post on the character of God may be something that speaks to you as you process your own feelings.
If you’d like to stay up to date on this series, I’d love for you to subscribe to my weekly newsletter. My subscribers are also given access to a library of free printables like the one I’ve shared today.
And in the meantime, I’d love for you to check out my other Monday Musings. I hope they can be helpful to you!