When Peacemaking Fails (Conflict Resolution 3)

WHEN PEACEMAKING FAILS (Conflict Resolution 3)

Why is it sometimes so hard to get Christians to stop fighting and get along with each other? As a person, and as a pastor, one of the things I most dislike is conflict between people, especially when I was involved. I want to do everything I can to resolve the issue and make everything smooth and good again. But I found not everyone is like that. There are some who seem to enjoy conflict. It seems there is always one or more broken relationships in their lives. Personally, I can’t imagine living like that. I have a hard time helping people like that, especially if they don’t want to heal the hurts among themselves and others. Yet the Bible commands us to intervene and do all we can to restore things. What are we to do?

We have seen that conflict in inevitable and that we must initiate resolution, even if the problem isn’t our fault. What are we to do if one or both of the offended parties is not willing to reconcile? It can’t just be ignored, for it is like an infected wound that poisons the whole body. Disagreements between believers poison the whole Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:25-27). They must be resolved.

If you can’t bring the situation to a healthy conclusion, then go to a pastor or mature church leader to help (Matthew 18:15-17; Philippians 4:2-3). Outside help can be a good way to keep emotions in check and help rational communication develop. Bring in someone who is neutral and objective and be receptive to advice they may give you about what you can do to help. God uses wise Biblical counsel so be open to God working through the mediator.

Believers should be able to resolve issues between them so they don’t have to go top unbelievers for resolution for that would be a poor example and witness (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). If you are in the wrong do whatever you can to end the problem as quickly as possible (Matthew 5:25-26).

If nothing else works, both parties should agree to go to a neutral arbitrator and explain the situation clearly and honestly. Before entering the process, both parties must agree to abide by the conclusions of the mediator. That is better than paying lots of money to have unbelieving lawyers and judges decide the matter. Peace among brothers is more important than personal rights or revenge for hurts.

Sometimes, no matter what you do to resolve problems with those who have something against you, or those in your church who are in conflict, the problems continue. Sometimes one or both parties won’t reconcile. What are we to do then? Romans 12:18 tells us. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” We are commanded to live at peace with everyone, but it takes two for that to happen. If we have done everything possible and have done everything that is dependent on us to do, then we can do no more. We can only walk away form the issue. Pushing can just make things worse, and take away our peace from us. Jesus understands. He tried to reconcile with those who disliked Him, but they would have none of it so He walked away from them. Jesus did that and told His followers to do the same (Matthew 10:14; Luke 9:5). So did Paul (Acts 13:51). Pray for them and the situation, and watch that unforgiveness or resentment does not build in your heart. Love them, forgive them and move on.

2 Corinthians 13:11 “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Is there anyone you have had a long time conflict with? What can you do now to help resolve it?

Are there any broken relationships in your life that you have been unable to mend? Pray for that relationship and ask God to help you to love them and forgive them. Pray for them as well.


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