“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Conflict is a normal part of life. It is an opportunity to honor God, and experience deeper relationships with Him and others. In my life, apart from Christ, pride and fear often made me a conflict avoider—a “peace faker.” As a result of avoiding conflict, resentments towards others burdened me and my relationships were shallow. However, as I began to follow Christ, I saw that the Bible says a lot about resolving conflict.
God, the ultimate peacemaker, cares deeply about resolving conflict. God resolved the conflict that sin created between Him and us by sending Christ to pay for sin on our behalf. Then, for those of us willing to reconcile with God, He blessed us with the Holy Spirt to give us supernatural guidance and strength to step into hard conversations.
In Step 12, the acronym L-O-V-E highlights some powerful truths to remember when you make efforts to resolve conflict.
Love is the goal:
- Deal with sin on your side of the relationship before confronting someone’s sin against you. (Matthew 7:5)
- Overlook minor offenses. However, if someone’s sin is harming his or her relationship with God and others, it is loving to make that person aware. (Ephesians 4:15, Proverbs 19:11)
Only God can open people’s eyes to sin and change hearts. Pray. Seek godly counsel when necessary. Be faithful to your role to carry God’s message of reconciliation, but rely on God for change. (Philippians 2:13)
Voice the truth. Do not dismiss sin, excuse sin, or minimize sin’s damage. Be honest and loving about how you have hurt the other person and how you have been hurt by the other person. (Proverbs 27:5-6)
Be an Example of Christ’s love to others:
- Extend to others the same kindness and mercy God extended to you. Share God’s hope of reconciliation. Forgive others. (Ephesians 4:32)
- Be willing to establish a new relationship aligned with God’s will if the person repents. Do not dwell on the past, revisit the sin, or gossip about the event. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
- Be willing to change unhealthy relationships. If people are not repentant or willing to address sin, be ready to change your relationship. (Matthew 18:15-17)
When we are reconciled with God, then our relationships can be built (even rebuilt) on God’s truth and love. As we reconcile relationships we reflect His character to others as sons and daughters of God and ministers of reconciliation. Admit today where you need to take a step to resolve conflict! Confess it to a faithful friend and have him or her hold you accountable to see the process of reconciliation with the other person through to the end. God is ready with truth and grace to lead and support you as you take that step of faithfulness!