Although conflicts are inevitable, they are rarely easy and are never something we want to engage in, but sometimes it is necessary. Crucial is the way we approach conflicts, whatever they are, especially when they concern friends. The sincere desire is to handle it with respect, truth and value for the relationship and everyone involved.
The divine approach
The Bible shows how to deal with a conflict with a brother and a fellow religionist in order of events. Matthew 18: 15-17 says:
“If your brother has sinned, go and take it back between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two people with you, so that the whole matter may be decided by two or three witnesses.
The key here is to review the process with the correct attitude and handling of the case. Retaining the original problem between you and the other person helps protect the relationship and avoids involving more people than necessary. If there is a problem, it should be handled quietly and without stirring more than necessary.
But if the problem cannot be resolved between the two of you, the next step is to take other believers as witnesses and third parties. It is imperative to choose brothers who are rooted in the truth, firm in their faith, and who will not show favoritism, but instead value each side equally in order to be righteous.
The last step lets the person go, and clearly indicates when to do it in the order of events. It can be hard on our hearts when things escalate to this level, but it’s good to know you’ve done all you can and can move forward with this peace. Keep this scripture close to your heart during conflicts, and ask the Lord to intercede and help you navigate to a positive outcome.
Ask the Lord to guide you
We have a great and holy gift from God in the Holy Spirit to guide us as counselors. John 14:26 says:
“But the counselor, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of all that I have told you. Especially when it comes to dealing with conflicts with friends, it is imperative to invite the Holy Ghost to guide us in our words, our approach, our actions, and our timing.
Stand firm in the truth with words dipped in honey
Proverbs 16:24 says: “Dear words are like honey – sweet for the soul and healthy for the body. The idea of speaking gently and kindly works the opposite in times of conflict, but we must remember that the conflict is not against the other person; it is you and the other person against a problem at hand.The other person is your friend, not an enemy, and speaking with kindness rooted in truth will not only provide space for true feelings to be expressed safely, but respect will also be alright.
Respect the other person
Respecting and treating the other person with love is the most important part of proper conflict management. The person you are talking to is someone you have in your life for a reason.
You love her and want to honor her deep down, and you know the difference between malicious actions and misunderstandings. Continue to invite the Lord to deal with the conflict appropriately, whether it is to reach a solution or to leave the person or situation; in all cases handle the conflict in a way that respects the other person.
It may mean that you hold back with harsh words or give up, but you will never regret that you treated another person as you would like to be treated. Also, keep your own character, integrity, and reputation intact to avoid staining them with words or actions that you may one day regret.
Many of us wish conflicts could be avoided in life, but it is often inevitable. What you should ultimately hope for is that you have control and the power to choose how you behave.
However tempting it may be to let your flesh take over, take a moment to calm down and ask God what might be the best course of action. God cares about you and your friend, and by following His path you can know that you have done all you can to bring peace, love, and harmony.
Article by Cally Logan translated and reproduced in part from the Crosswalk website.
CHRÉTIENNE SUPPORT INFO
Info Chrétienne is an online press service recognized by the Ministry of Culture and your donation can be deducted from your tax up to 66%.