“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”’ – Romans 12:17-21.
Conflict resolution tends to be the sticking point in most relationships. If everything is going fine, you have a good relationship. When conflicts arise, you can have a terrible relationship. But many of us believe we have a teflon coating when it comes to conflict. After all, there would not be any conflict if the other person simply did what we wanted them to. As a result, any resolution of conflict is not up to us. The truth is we couldn’t be more wrong.
Conflict resolution is very personal. Why? Because nothing happens unless we do something. Change needs to begin with each one of us. Jesus was no stranger to direct confrontation; we can see his willingness to address conflict head-on when he turned over the money changer’s tables in the temple. So what do we do when we have to face conflict? How do we handle it with courage and a God-honoring attitude? The apostle Paul challenges us this way: “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:17-18)
As Christians, we know some conflict within the family is inevitable. Regardless of the circumstance, we should always strive to be Christlike, even in conflict. Don’t allow bitterness to take root in your heart. “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble… “ (Hebrews 12:15). Then examine your own heart before addressing another’s faults. Jesus challenges us: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5). God is working in the lives of every member of the family, but he’s just as concerned about our responsibility and responses to situations.
Finally, recognize what is yours to change. I am not responsible for other’s reactions to me, but I do own my attitude and behavior. So ask yourself, where do I need to take responsibility for my contribution to this conflict? Have I done all I can do to achieve reconciliation? This is hard because we look at ourselves subjectively, and often view the problem with the other person. But when we become vulnerable before God and ask him to hold up the mirror to us, we see that rarely do we handle situations perfectly. We can always learn something about our behavior to help us grow.
- Who is responsible for resolving conflict in your opinion?
- What would it look like, if you or your group, took personal responsibility to bring an end to a conflict?
- What are some ways that you may have caused conflict? How do you make amends?
- Pray and ask God how you can be part of the solution in resolving conflict.