How to Deal with Conflict from God's Perspective
How to Deal with Conflict from God’s Perspective
Matthew 18:15 - 20
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:10, 17 – 20
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
- Welcome to our guests and those who have recently been coming or joined our church family
- We are having a family sermon today.
- We all need this teaching / review / reminder from time to time
- How to deal relationally with one another is a big part of the teaching in the NT
- Today we are going to talk about how to deal with conflict from God’s perspective
Definition of a conflict – “A difference in opinion or purpose that frustrates someone’s goals or desires.” – Ken Sande – The Peacemaker
- Conflicts are inevitable because we do not live perfect lives and God has made each and everyone of us unique. The unique part is a good thing
- Not all conflicts are bad and a lot of good can come out of them
- Conflicts are the opportunity to seek God and His Word for a solution for every problem. If the Bible is our final authority for faith and conduct, as we say in our doctrinal statement, then our theology must be lived out in reality
- My mom’s death
- Church discipline / Disciplining your child
- Four causes of conflict
- 1. Misunderstandings as a result of poor communication – Joshua 22:10 – 34
- 2. Differences in values, goals, gifts, calling, priorities, expectations, interests or opinions – Acts 15:39; I Corinthians 12:12 – 31
- 3. Competition over limited resources such as time or money – Genesis 13:1-12
- 4. Sinful attitudes and habits that lead to sinful words and actions – James 4:1-2
Purpose: Every Christ follower is commanded to resolve any and all conflicts with individuals and the church family.
Transition: Let’s briefly touch on some examples of conflict from the Bible. There are plenty we could choose from!!
The Examples of Conflict
- Cain and Abel – Genesis 4 - jealousy
- Jacob / Esau – Genesis 27 – stole his birthright and his blessing
- Joseph and his brothers – Genesis 50:15 – 21 – jealousy / bragging brother
- Jonathan / Saul – I Samuel 20:30 – 31 – Family disagreement
I Samuel 20:30-31
30 Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother's nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.
- Jesus and the religious leaders – Matthew 3: 7 – 8; 21:12- Brood of vipers / overturned the money tables
- Paul and Barnabas – Acts 15:36-41 – verse 39 – violent anger
Transition: Conflict is going to happen. In the case of Paul and Barnabas, two missionary teams went out instead of one. Paul reconciled with John Mark in 2 Timothy 4:11 sometime before he was executed.
The Teaching on Conflict
- Ephesians 4:1 - 6; 4:25 – 31
Ephesians 4:25 – 31
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
- Galatians 6: 1 – 4
- James 4:2 – 3
- I Timothy 4:1 – 3; 5:20
2 Timothy 4:1 – 3
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
I Timothy 5:20
As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.
- Children in a family learn from others getting punished
- Proverbs 6:16 – 19; Titus 3:10 – 11
- Galatians 5:14- 16
- Romans 13:1-7
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Transition: Please read and study all of these verses for yourself at home. There are many more I could have cited but this is enough to get you started. Let’s turn with the rest of our time to;
The Opportunities creating conflict at hand
- The Student Ministry Director position
- The status.
- We are interviewing a young man for the position. Jake Fieseler is his name. He was here last Sunday and will be coming to see if he feels comfortable here in our church.
- He was recommended to us by Young Life – Dave Goy because he is their candidate to work at Pleasant Valley High School
- We will have an elder giving the church family periodic updates on the status of our interview and how it is proceeding
- We will have Jake meet with the youth sponsors and / or with the students in the student ministry
- Pastor Paul’s job description changes
- The elders are available for further discussions of Pastor Paul’s job description past and present
- It will be voted on sometime in the future when the elders are ready to present a candidate to the congregation for the Student Ministry Director’s position
- The budget and the communication when giving is down
- The budget is always available to be discussed with the elders and the Finance Team. Josh Barnes, Rochelle Massengale, Scott Lee currently make up the Finance Team.
- The elder reports are now posted on the bulletin board for anyone to read at anytime
- The elders are strongly considering having quarterly meetings with the church family for more communication about things going on at the church and the physical building / property
- We want to be as open, transparent and available as we can be for anyone who wants to share a concern, ask questions, make suggestions, etc.
- But the dissension, division and gossip must cease. There are improper ways to deal with conflict and then there are the biblical ways to deal with conflict that brings glory to God and harmony in the church family.
- Remember Jesus words. The goal for us as Christians as Jesus said just before His crucifixion
- The status.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
The Daily Practical Application of Resolving Conflict
How to deal with conflict with an individual or small group in the church from God’s perspective – Matthew 5:23 - 26
- Pray and ask God to reveal the entire reason for the conflict
- 2. Take responsibility for your part in the conflict
- Follow the steps laid out in Matthew 18:15-20.- Private, small group, public sin
Matthew 18:15 – 20
15 “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. 16 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. 17 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. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
- Be prayed up
- Go in an attitude of humility and a desire for reconciliation and resolution to the person or people involved with the conflict
- Be willing to accept any offenses offered to you
- Be willing to ask for forgiveness – “Not I am sorry but will you forgive me.” Remember how much God has forgiven you
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
- Have a genuine heart of repentance before God and whoever you are in conflict with.
- Close your time in heartfelt prayer and take steps to rebuild the relationship and do what is necessary to make things right
- You may or may not ever be as close as you were before the conflict but you are still brothers and sisters in Christ
- If they will not receive your forgiveness then let it go and it is now between them and God.
How to deal with conflict with a team in authority in the church from God’s perspective
- 1. Pray and consider the decision made by the team to see if there is anything unbiblical about the decision made. Pray and ask God to change your heart to accept the decision the team in authority has made as God’s will at that time. Realize, in most cases, you do not have all the information the team has to make the decision.
- Pray about your motivation and attitude in approaching the team in authority. Have a clear plan for resolution.
- Meet with the team and share your concern based on the Word of God and what the Holy Spirit is saying to you.
- Ask the team in authority to prayerfully reconsider their decision
- Develop a creative alternative
- Pray for God to change the hearts of the decision-making body
- Attempt to understand the intentions of the team making the decision
- Give God time to work
- If God does not change the decision, He may want you to change
How to deal with a conflict with the vote of the church body
- Pray and ask God if you can accept the decision the church body has made. If it is clearly unbiblical then prepare your heart to go to the spiritual leadership of the church.
- Understand that the large majority of the time, the decision made by the church family in a vote is to be discerned as God’s will at that time
- If you still feel you must go and share your concerns, follow steps 2- 9 in approaching the spiritual leadership of the church
Note # 1: – To resolve the conflict, only talk to the people or the group involved. Do not go to someone to share about the conflict who cannot be a part of the solution to the problem. * See the Ten Rules for Respecting Each Other.
Note #2: If you are the offended person or you feel you have offended someone, you are to go as soon as possible to reconcile and resolve the conflict
Note #3: The only reason according to the Bible to leave a church is if the church is following false teaching and after being made aware of it refuses to return to sound doctrine
Illustration: Steve Brethauer – Ronald Reagan
- We must put an end to the angry words, the silent treatment, the accusations, the threats of leaving and not supporting the church through offerings. We don’t know who is not giving. Only Josh knows so we are not getting the message., I repeat, we do are not receiving the message. You are only hurting your relationship with God. God will fund His ministry His way.
- There are some here who have been creating dissension and sowing discord among the church family with their dissatisfaction of particular issues.
Proverbs 6:16 – 19
There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
- It must end now by following the appropriate steps. If you do not still get satisfaction with the steps listed above, you have to leave it with the Lord at the cross and let Him change your heart or the hearts of those you are in conflict / disagreement with or both!!
- Only the people who are part of the solution, part of reconciling should be involved in communication.
- Learn to agree to disagree. What I mean by that is there is not one right or wrong answer. Both people can have good ideas / good solutions to a problem but in those cases, you defer to those in authority or the vote of the church family. We are here to glorify God and live in harmony and the leaders are looking out for the common good of all. That is why you have to trust the leaders you install into positions.
- The vote as a church for the SMD 47 – 7 / 87% voted for the position
- We believe that that 87% number represents God’s will to move forward in the process
- Follow the appropriate steps as some have already to get more information.
- Ten Rules of Respecting Each Other as Members in Christ.
- PVBC Covenant
- I will protect the unity of my church.
- By acting in love toward other members
- By refusing to gossip
- By following the leaders
“So let us concentrate on the things which make for harmony, and on the growth of our fellowship together” (Romans 14:19 Phillips translation)
“Have sincere love for other believers, love one another earnestly with all your heart.” (1 Peter 1:22 TEV)
Key Thought: To have a godly response even in disagreement brings honor and glory to the Lord
“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So, one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.” ― A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine
Two Choices for the Church Family
Ephesians 4:1 – 3 – “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Galatians 5:13- 15 – “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”
Quote: "A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided.” – Abraham Lincoln – 1858 – Springfield, Illinois – House Divided Speech when he accepted the nomination to be the Republican Candidate for Senate of the United States.
United we stand and divided we fall
- Our new people in our church are watching how we act and work together as a family
- The watching world is looking to see if we are genuine and authentic in our love for one another.
- It is now time to reconcile our differences and have good communication, healthy debate, lots of questions going forward so that we can glorify the Lord
- We need to be more concerned with focusing on obeying God’s Word and pleasing the Lord instead of satisfying ourselves.
- We need to measure our concerns against eternity to see if they are that important to deal with.