Conflict Resolution

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Believe it or not, people disagree!!! Nevertheless, God's word gives us wisdom and guidance on how to deal with such conflicts.

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Conflict Resolution

  1. 1. BREATH OF LIFE INTERNATIONAL CHURCH BBiibblliiccaall CCoonnfflliicctt RReessoolluuttiioonn Bible Study Guide BREATH OF LIFE INTERNATIONAL CHURCH 3763 Junction Boulevard Raleigh, North Carolina 27603 919-448-8198 www.breathoflifeintl.org
  2. 2. P a g e | 2 Breath of Life International Church | Conflict Resolution Understanding Conflict within the Body of Christ While we’d like to believe that all “church folk” are perfect, we know this is certainly not the case. People are imperfect, except through the grace and righteousness of God. As long as we dwell in a casing of flesh, error will exist. For this reason, it is imperative that God’s people are armed to deal with conflict and offense within the local church. Disagreements occur, but must be handled in a biblical manner, such that they will not interrupt the peace of God’s house nor retard the work of the ministry. Therefore, the best way to deal with conflict and offense is just that – deal with it! It should never be ignored or denied, but confronted in such a way that the enemy has no room or time to disrupt God’s plan for His people. Conflict is the confrontation between differing expectations, purposes, goals, values, or desires; and/or the competition for limited resources. Exercise | Understanding Conflict and Diversity Read Ephesians 4:1-17, and answer the questions below. 1) According to Ephesians 4:1-3, what attitudes and behaviors are essential to life in the church? 2) Read Ephesians 4:4-6. What must we keep in mind about the nature of the church, especially in times of conflict? 3) If the church is to be unified, what are some reasons for diversity in the Body of Christ, according to Ephesians 4:11-16?
  3. 3. P a g e | 3 Breath of Life International Church | Conflict Resolution Christians Don’t Fight… Do They? SCRIPTURE TEXT PARTIES INVOLVED NATURE OF CONFLICT Matthew 5:23-24 Brother or Sister Unspecified Grudge(s) Matthew 10:34-36 Christian’s Family One believes, Others don’t Matthew 16:22-23 Jesus v Peter Jesus’ suffering and death Matthew 18:13 Jesus v Disciples Bring little children Matthew 18:16-18 Church members Unspecified, perhaps intense Matthew 20:24 Jesus v Disciples Jealousy over James and John Matthew 23 Jesus v. Pharisees Stubbornness to believe John 8:44 Jesus v Pharisees Jesus called Satanic Philippians 4:23-24 Euodia v Syntyche Interpersonal Conflict Acts 15:36-40 Paul v Barnabas Take/leave John Mark Galatians 1:10 Paul v Galatians Doubt Paul’s Integrity/Authority Galatians 2:11 Paul v Peter Follow Jewish Rituals? Believe it or not, conflict is a natural part of the Christian’s life. These examples include only a small subset of those we witness in the New Testament. Think of five additional examples, from the Old Testament, and list them here: 1) _____________________________________________________________________________ 2) _____________________________________________________________________________ 3) _____________________________________________________________________________ 4) _____________________________________________________________________________ 5) _____________________________________________________________________________
  4. 4. P a g e | 4 Breath of Life International Church | Conflict Resolution What Would Jesus Do? Jesus dedicates quite a bit of time to conflict resolution. Why? It was obviously important to Jesus that His followers walk in unity. In John 17, or example, He prays fervently that His disciples would be unified. It is important then that we please our Savior by following His guidance when conflict arises. Matthew 18  VS 7 Offenses will come  VS 12-14 We must prioritize the lost  VS 15 Deal with offenses in private, with the goal of reconciliation  VS 16 When individual conversation is fruitless, introduce witnesses  VS17 The church should mediate as a last resort NUGGET: What offends you? As God’s children, we should be offended by sin. Don’t spend time dealing with little, insignificant gestures. Those who belong to God and carry His Spirit will only be offended by the things that offend Him. Want to know where you are in God? Ask yourself, “What offends me?” Practical Steps to Resolving Conflict YOU have a conflict YOU GO To THE PERSON In PRIVATE DISCUSS the problem Seek RECONCILIATION
  5. 5. P a g e | 5 Breath of Life International Church | Conflict Resolution What the Reconciliation Process Look Like?  Acknowledge the conflict. Conflict is normal and not necessarily a measure of Christian maturity or the lack thereof.  You must do something about it. Conflict will not resolve itself.  Go means go! Approach the person. Do not attempt to avoid or forget the situation.  Before going, be honest with yourself about why you are really angry, hurt or offended. Is it a good reason? Be sure to deal with internal issues before approaching others.  What do you want? Be sure you have a goal in mind for the conversation to come.  Go directly to the person involved. Do not include third parties, mediators or friends. Whenever possible, do not discuss the issue with others. If guidance or instruction is needed, be sure to involve only a neutral person of authority, such as a pastor or counselor.  Talk in private. Be sensitive. Approach the other person as you would like to be approached.  Use direct communication. Be specific, open and honest.  Explain your feelings and concerns.  Talk about the consequences of the action. What have they been? What will they be if the offense continues?  Suggest a resolution. What change is necessary?  Aim for reconciliation. The goal is to restore the relationship. The goal is NOT to:  Prove who was right  Get back at someone  Avoid the situation  Turn away and forget  Forgive.  Escalate, only as necessary. The Goals of Reconciliation  Saving and rescuing the lost sheep while also about relieving the body (the Church) from accusation and offence.  Weeding out impurity from the church and protecting the sheep. If one church member is allowed to go on offending, then this one person can ultimately have the effect of destroying the church.  Christ taught that if we execute this principle, then we bind and loose in a spirit of unity and oneness, and can ask for anything and everything and receive from the Father.
  6. 6. P a g e | 6 Breath of Life International Church | Conflict Resolution Tips for Successful Resolution in the Church Don’t Neglect the Word of God In dealing with conflict, always refer to God’s word. His word provides answers and guidance for everything we need and every situation we may face.  2 Timothy 3:16  1 Corinthians 10:11 Glorify God When in the midst of conflict, it’s easy to forget about God and pleasing Him. However, we should take every opportunity, even those that are uncomfortable, to bring glory to God. Place the priority on God’s will in the situation, and He will be praised through the issue.  1 Corinthians 10:31 Pray Seek God concerning your words and your decisions. Oftentimes, words and thrown around during conflict. Always remember that once words are released, they cannot be rescinded. Therefore, it’s important to be prayerful, ensuring that your words echo the Spirit of God rather than the flesh. Whenever two people are involved in conflict, they should pray together, whenever possible. If both parties agree in seeking God for resolution, He will be in the midst of them, leading both to a peaceful and just conclusion.  Matthew 12:36  Matthew 18:19 Forgive When a conflict has been confronted and discussed, according to the word of God, the offense must be forgiven. This is the final, but most essential step. At the point of forgiveness, the issue is truly resolved. It is important to note that we must forgive others of offenses if we expect God to do the same on our behalf.  Matthew 6:12
  7. 7. P a g e | 7 Breath of Life International Church | Conflict Resolution For Discussion and Further Study Read the following questions and provide your answers, as time allows. 1) According to the Bible teaching about resolving conflict, what is the goal in relationships? Explain your answer in terms of practical application. 2) Think of a time when you were in a situation of conflict. Which of the principles of resolving conflict in this study did you apply successfully? Explain. 3) In that time of conflict, what principles of resolving conflict could you have improved on? Explain. 4) Why do you think resolving conflict is important to God? Explain in your own words. 5) Referencing the Bible teaching about resolving conflict, why do you think forgiveness is important? 6) List five reasons for forgiveness and five reasons for not forgiving. 7) In following God’s example of resolving conflict, who took the initiative (2 Corinthians 5:18, 19)? Should we do likewise? Explain. 8) In the Bible teaching about resolving conflict, explain the principles James give us (James 1:19, 20). 9) In the context of Philippians 1:27-2:7, explain the principles and process Paul went through in resolving conflict. 10) What is the role of Satan in conflict (2 Corinthians 2:10, 11; 1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:11, 12)?

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