Monday, July 5, 2010

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

James 4:1-2
 1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.

Philippians 2:1-4
  1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

My very least favorite part of group leadership is dealing with conflict. Things run pretty smoothly most of the time, but every once in a while there are issues between people that just do not resolve themselves. And when those disagreements affect the reputation of our group, or our ability to minister, or are severely damaging relationships,  then it is my job as a leader to get involved and try to help find a resolution. Thankfully, God's Word offers good counsel in this area.  Also, a resource called Peacemaker Ministries gives help through articles and resources that teach and help you apply those conflict resolution principles found in God's Word. The excellent advice found there includes this following Peacemaking and Reconciliation Commitment:
• Whenever we are faced with conflict, our primary goal will be to glorify God with our thoughts, words and actions (1 Cor. 10:31).
• We will try to get the “logs” out of our own eyes before focusing on what others may have done wrong (Matt. 7:3-5).
• We will seek to overlook minor offenses (Prov. 19:11).
• We will refrain from all gossip, backbiting and slander (Eph. 4:29-32). If we have a problem with others, we will talk to them, not about them.
• We will make “charitable judgments” toward one another by believing the best about each other until we have facts that prove otherwise (1 Cor. 13:7).
• If an offense is too serious to overlook, or if we think someone may have something against us, we will go promptly to seek reconciliation (Matt.
5:23-24; 18:15).
• When we offer a word of correction to others, we will do so graciously and
gently, with the goal of serving and restoring them, rather than beating them down (Prov. 12:18; Eph. 4:29; Gal. 6:1).
• When someone tries to correct us, we will ask God to help us resist prideful defensiveness and to welcome correction with humility (Ps. 141:5; Prov. 15:32).
• When others repent, we will ask God to give us grace to forgive them as he has forgiven us (Eph. 4:32).

• When we discuss or negotiate substantive issues, we will look out for others’ interests as well as our own (Phil. 2:3-4).
• When two of us cannot resolve a conflict privately, we will seek the mediation
of wise people in our church or Christian community and listen humbly to their counsel. (Matt. 18:16; Phil. 4:2-3)

Chances are, you'll find this information helpful at some point in your life. 

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 
Matthew 5:9

1 comment:

Becky said...

My Poppy always taught his grandchildren that verse during our weeks in the summer that we spent with he and my Grandma in the Allegheny mountains. I have a plaque in my laundry room with "Blessed are the peacemakers" written on it as a reminder of those lessons!