This past weekend we discussed how resolving conflict is an inside job before it become something that we see on the outside. However, it’s important to understand that there’s some practical steps we can take in resolving conflict with others. Here’s a few practical steps adapted from Ken Sande’s book the Peacemaker.
- Ask the Lord and others for help with self-awareness. (1 John 1:8)
• Ask God to show you where you have been focusing your attention and love on something other than the Lord and His desires. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me; And lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
• Specifically identify and renounce the desire contributing to the conflict.
• Ask Jesus to help you fix your heart and mind on God, and seek joy in Him alone.
• Give others permission to speak into your life, and regularly ask them to help you see any “logs” both in attitude and action.
- Address everyone involved as soon as possible. (Matthew 5:23-24, Proverbs 6:1-5)
- Avoid “if, but, and maybe.” Don’t make excuses; be specific, when possible. with both attitudes and actions. (Luke 15:17-24)
- Apologize. Express sorrow for the way you affected someone. (Luke 15:21)
- Ask for forgiveness. (Proverbs 28:13)
- Accept the consequences. (Luke 19:1-9)
- Alter your behavior. Commit to changing harmful habits. (Ephesians 4:22-32, John 8:11).
As God guides and empowers your efforts, you can find freedom from the things that fuel conflict and be motivated to make choices that will glorify God. This change in heart will usually speed a resolution to a present problem, and at the same time improve your ability to avoid similar conflicts in the future. Remember, you’re not alone!