Community: Part 1
Community: Part 2
Community: Part 3
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. -Proverbs 27:17
I don’t particularly like conflict. I don’t particularly like confronting it. I don’t particularly like being wrong. I don’t particularly like admitting to being wrong. And I don’t like having to change. I don’t like being humbled by someone. And I don’t like feeling vulnerable or weak. We all can feel these things when it comes to conflict. Conflict can be messy, it can be hurtful. When dealing with conflict, there is so much “unknown”. What if the person doesn’t care to work it out? What if I confront the person and our situation gets worse? What if I find out I’m wrong? What if. What if. What if. Why do we shy away from conflict? Why do we see it as negative instead of an opportunity to grow a relationship (be it romantic or friendly)? Why do we choose to be passive when it comes to conflict? Why are we not more eager to resolve issues with each other? Why are we so quick to assume we are right? And why would we rather ditch a relationship then try to make peace?
Healthy Community Promise (From my days at BG):
I will not speak a negative word about you to any staff or fellow student, before coming to you first.
After processing with the Lord, if I still feel frustrated, hurt or annoyed by you — I will come to you as soon as possible with my thoughts.
I will not assume that I know what is going on within your heart. I commit to asking clarifying questions, before jumping to conclusions. I commit to believing the best in regard to your motives, decisions and actions.
As I seek to resolve tension with you, I will commit to being first concerned with how I have wronged you, before examining how you have wronged me.
Biblical Reference (In support of the above promises):
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. – Matthew 18:15-17
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 3:13
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. -Leviticus 19:18
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger. – Ephesians 4:26
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,Leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. – Matthew 5:23-24To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. – Luke 6:29Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. – Ephesians 4:21A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle. – Proverbs 18:19
Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” – Luke 17:3-4
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 12:17-21
A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. – Proverbs 15:4
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; – James 1:19
When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. – Proverbs 16:7
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. – Matthew 5:9
-Conflict is viewed as negative and wrong. This is a lie lie lie. Conflict is not bad, it’s actually healthy, and is meant to sharpen us. As well, it is unavoidable. We are fallen, broken humans, conflict will happen in every relationship you have…even if its not spoken of or brought to the surface. Conflict is meant to sharpen and grow us – As Iron sharpens Iron, one man sharpens another. Iron is sharpened so that it can be a more useful tool. As the Iron is sharpened, sparks fly! Same goes for believers. We sharpen each other so we can be more useful for the Lord and to each other. And yes, as this process happens, there will be some sparks ; ).
-Healthy conflict isn’t modeled. I think the trick with conflict is dealing with it in a healthy way. Most of us though, have only experienced unhealthy ways of dealing with conflict. And so, conflict of any sort seems wrong, scary, and hindering. Healthy conflict is good and needed and needs to be modeled. Unhealthy conflict is destructive and hurtful. When we don’t see or experience healthy conflict, we wont know how to live it out.
-We are not humble. Confronting conflict humbles us because usually, we are the one who is wrong. Rarely have I ever entered conflict with someone where only one of us was wrong. Pride says, “I’m right you are wrong”. When we enter conflict assuming we did nothing wrong OR the other persons feelings are not valid, disaster is to be had and eventually will lead to a broken relationship. Humility says, “Let me know how I’ve wronged you, and try to change.”
- To piggyback off that last one – we don’t like being weak or vulnerable. Going to a friend or partner to face conflict shows you care about the friendship Sometimes, when you are the one showing you care, not only is it vulnerable because you don’t know if the person actually cares to wrk out the difference, but, it can feel like you are weak too. WHat if the person doesn’t care enough about me or our relationship to work it out? What if i am wrong and the person wont forgive and forget? Hard stuff, but not a reason to avoid conflict.
-We seek what is most comfortable. Conflict is awkward and uncomfortable. Because of this, we avoid it all costs and would rather loose a relationship then try to make peace. Avoiding conflict is easier. What I have found with walking with God is, He rarely calls us to the easy path.
- How do I word this next one…. Hmmm… Ill put it this way: When we have a genuine Godly love for our brothers and sisters in Christ (be it spouse or friend), if they have done something that has hurt us, or we have bitterness about something – the love we have for them SHOULD spur our hearts to confront them so that both parties can walk closer with God and each other. We owe it to each other to sharpen each other…because of love.
- We assume the worst about each others hearts and intentions. I think this is one of the BIGGEST problems. We don’t assume that the other persons intentions about “fill in whatever you are hurt by” are Godly. We are quick to assume the worst. From this, lies start to form, until all of a sudden you have huge hate or bitterness that is so deep it destroys and divides.
-If you see a growing bitterness in your hear about someone, confront that person and share. Get it out in the open so it can be dealt with. Light and forgiveness are life to any relationship. Seek to resolve tension
-Are you believing the worst in someone? Share what you are believing with that person acknowledging that what you are assuming is probably wrong. Let them speak truth to the wrong thoughts you have towards them.
-Pick a person you are afraid to confront about something. Just do it.
-Commit to those you are in friendships with that, you will not shy away from conflict, that if you see any bitterness or resentment building in your relationship you will confront it in love.
-When dealing with conflict, enter in assuming YOU are wrong. Seek first to hear out the other persons hurt before you share yours. Start by asking “How have I wronged you?”
-The bible says “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger”. Practice sharing your hurt or frustration before the day is over.
-Begin to model healthy conflict – especially you with little ones. Let your children observe your healthy conflict, so that, when they grow up they will have healthy conflict and not be afraid of it. Lets stop the cycle.
-Be open, friendly, and loving if someone is confronting YOU about something. Let them know how thankful you are that they love you enough to want to work out conflict. Be quick to listen, slow to speak. Be quick share truth, and be quick to hear truth.
- Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive.
And just remember, the reason this is important is because: People are watching, and people are hurting.