Handling Conflict

If you have more than two people around, you are going to have conflict. If you don’t deal with the conflict, it only gets worse. Left alone, conflict brings with it destruction and bitterness. When we have been wronged and have every right to be bitter, it is important to remember why we confront.

Biblical confrontation has restoration and redemption as its point. We confront to restore and redeem, not to be proven ‘right’ or justified. Jesus was the same way. His whole point of confronting our sin problem was not to send us to hell but to bring us to right relationship with Him.

Our LIFE Groups are about living in relationship with each other and God. That means that it is going to get messy. Sin alone can destroy these relationships, but unconfronted and ignored sin will destroy the entire group.

Jesus left for us a model for handling conflict. It’s found in Matthew 7:3-5 and Matthew 18:15-17.

First, check your own eyes for the logs. Jesus says “How can you help your brother with the speck in his eye with a plank in your own? First take out your plank, then help with the speck.”

How is our own walk with Christ? Do we have the same problem and need to ask for forgiveness before we confront the one who wronged us? It’s important to be honest about the stuff we own in the process.

Next, we must love the person enough to go to them personally. This means that we do not talk to others about it or garner support for our position. We first work it out with the person individually. Remember, the point of confrontation is restoration. We are to build up the body of Christ, not tear it down. 97% of all conflict ends with the one on one confrontation.

If the person will not listen, we are to take two or three others with us. I would recommend one of those be your coach. Get wise counsel around the situation at this point. They will be able to discern if the issue is a sin issue or just a point of disagreement.

It is possible for someone to disagree with us and not wrong us. Differences of opinion need not escalate into full-fledge fights and arguments. These differences of opinion fall into sin issues when attitudes change and we begin to gossip, backstab, and lie.

As a leader – you are going to be disagreed with. Get used to it. If no one ever disagrees with you, you aren’t making any hard decisions and your impact is questionable at best. The responsibility we have as leaders is to listen to those who disagree with us and seek to understand their point of view.

That doesn’t mean we do what they want to do. It does mean we lovingly lead them as best we can in the direction we think God is leading us. We still are going to live and lead for the audience of the One. There are going to be disagreements. We don’t have to be disagreeable.

If the issue is deemed as a sin issue by your coach and other leaders and the person will still not listen to the two or three, tell it to the church. In our setting, this is could mean a couple of things. It could mean the entire LIFE Group. It could mean the entire Coaching team or Elders. How will you know what to do?

The entire LIFE Group leadership structure will be walking through this by this time and we will have enough people around the table to discern what is best.

Again, let’s remember the point of confrontation – restoration. So the LIFE Group should pray and seek opportunities to restore him/her to the group. This may mean taking some LIFE Group meeting time and honestly unwrapping all the feelings involved in the situation. It may mean calling in other Coaches.

If the person still refuses to listen, treat the offender as a non-Christian. This sounds harsh at first, but think of how we are to treat non-Christians. We are to love them unconditionally. We are to pray for their repentance. We are to ask God to open their eyes of their heart to see their need for repentance. We are to serve them. No different here.

If a conflict reaches this stage, there is going to be plenty of leaders in on it and we’ll come to solutions that hopefully will allow the offender multiple opportunities for resolution.

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