Someone asked this great question related to conflict resolution recently: “what do you do when the relationship is beyond repair?”
Sometimes we reach a point in our conflicts that cause us to walk away angry, hurt, and unresolved. Friendships may end with a misunderstanding or maybe family members disown each other and refuse to speak for years. Even in churches, we have these types of conflicts that not only go unresolved but spread to others creating an us against them attitude. These situations may seem beyond repair but there is hope.
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christs behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21 NKJV)
From this passage, I’d like to share four steps to consider when trying to resolve conflicts that seem impossible. I will discuss two steps today and two tomorrow.
1. Focus on the highest goal.
God was in the world reconciling people to himself and has commissioned us to do the same. Our goal in conflict resolution is never to win. Our highest goal is to Resolve the conflicts between people and God, Reconcile the differences between people and God, and Restore the proper relationships between people and God. There are many personal benefits to resolving conflicts but we must resist the temptation to meet our own needs until the greatest need is met.
2. Forgive and be merciful.
Paul said God didn’t impute the sins of the people. We must also forgive the wrongs that have been committed without imputing penalties on others. Never forget the penalty for sinning against God is eternally deadly. The person who steals from you, lies on you, or physically abuses you has also sinned against God and is in danger of his wrath. People who sin against you need mercy from the wrath of God more than your condemnation.
Which of these two steps is the most challenging for you, and why? Leave a reply.