New Sermon Series: Fostering Loving Relationships
What is a conflict?
- An active disagreement between people with opposing opinions or principles (Cambridge Dictionary)
- A conflict is a struggle and a clash of interest, opinion, or even principles. Conflict will always be found in society; as the basis of conflict may vary to be personal, racial, class, caste, political and international. (Wikipedia)
Where does conflict occur?
Conflict is everywhere and happens in any relationship:
- In the home, school, camp, office, church, community
- Between husband and wife, parent and child, brother and sister, employer and employee
- Among friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbours, pastors, leaders, members
How does conflict arise?
Conflict arises when there is:
- A wrong word used or angrily spoken
- A questionable facial expression or body language
- A sigh or a sound of frustration
- A hearsay or gossip
- A selfish attitude or silent treatment
- A misunderstanding or miscommunication
- A suspicion or assumption
- A feeling of envy and jealousy
- A different view or idea
- A different value or pursuit
How to know if you have unresolved conflict?
- When you want to avoid that annoying person at any time and at all costs
- When you don’t want to see, greet or talk to himherthem
- When you don’t want to hear or mention his/her name
- When you don’t think about, care for or love him/her anymore
- When you want to slap, hit, hurt, punish, torture or scream at him/her
How to respond to conflict and resolve it?
3 Ways people respond to conflicts - EAT
1. Evade Intentionally
2. Act Harshly
3. Tackle Lovingly
1. Evade Intentionally
- Choose not to talk about it nor do something about it
- Find an escape route instead of facing the person/situation
- Avoid any form of meeting or confrontation
- Act like nothing had happened
2. Act Harshly
- Answer with harsh, horrible, abusive words
- Attack physically and mercilessly
- File lawsuits
- Act in the most unchristian manner
3. Tackle Lovingly
A. Be Humble
I am not always right
- What is the real issue?
- Who is the real enemy?
- What is this fight about?
- Is it worth fighting over it?
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Peter 5:6)
B. Be Peaceable
I am a peacemaker
I am not contentious, quarrelsome, violent, hostile, combative.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9)
C. Be Loving
I am born again by a loving God
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from a pure heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (1 Peter 1:22–23)
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1–2)
D. Be Compassionate
I am merciful
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3:12–13)
E. Be Gentle
I am sympathetic
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently (not with a sense of superiority or self-righteousness). But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)
BEING precedes DOING
Biblical Steps to Resolve Conflicts
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ (cf. Deut.19:15) 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17)
- 1. Take the initiative - Go
- 2. Acknowledge and state the conflict - Show
- 3. Settle privately – Between the two of you
- 4. Iron out issues - If he listens
- A. What is the worst thing that could happen if we don't resolve this conflict? (Steve Larson)
- B. What is the best thing that could happen if we resolve this conflict?
- C. What do you want to see happen?
- D. What does God want to see happen?
- 5. Aim to reconcilerestore – Won your brother over
- 6. Get a mediator – If he will not listen
- 7. Inform the church leadership – tell it to the church
- 8. Commit him and the matter to God – If he refuses to listen to the church
- 9. Pray for his salvation – treat him like a pagan
Biblical Rule for Conflict Resolution
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)
Our Aim for resolving conflict is to glorify God and magnify His name.
- Is there anyone with whom you have an unresolved conflict?
- What would you choose to do today?
Choose to forgive your brother and sister.
Choose reconciliation and restoration.
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21-22)
32 ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:32-35)