Resolving Conflict With Grace

"So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.” (Acts 15:8-10)

God made every person after His image and likeness but He never makes the same person twice. We are uniquely created with different personalities, gifts, characteristics, mannerisms, and perspectives. When you combine those God-given differences with the sinful nature of man, we realize that a conflict can easily arise when those differing ideas, opinions and convictions are given too much authority in our lives. Conflicts can create great and growing problems if not resolved rightly and quickly.

Therefore, when any conflict or disagreement arises between two people or groups of people, we must learn how to resolve the conflict in a way that brings glory to God and seeks the benefit of all people involved. This requires us to practice humility, patience, and love and to seek God's perspective above and beyond our own. We must "be swift to hear and slow to speak and slow to wrath" (James 1:19).

One of the most important teachings on dealing with conflict and those who are in opposition against God is found in Paul's words to his spiritual son Timothy:
"But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will" (2 Tim. 2:23-26).

All conflicts begin in the heart. James teaches that, "Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure [your own way] that war in your members?" (James 4:1). Since the heart is deceitful due to the sinful nature within us, we must learn to submit our will to God and resist the devil who always accelerates our conflicts by adding more deceit and seeks to cause great division and destruction through every conflict.

When you are dealing with the truth that has the power to deliver someone from all the deception and control that the evil one has over someone, there is bound to be friction and frustration when confronting the flesh of man. We must remember that every conflict has a spiritual dimension to it since the devil is always looking for ways to divide and separate people and to get you to be wise in your own opinion.

"Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men" (Romans 12:16-18).

The meeting in Acts 15 was a meeting to resolve the conflict that arose after certain converted Pharisees demanded that the Gentiles who put their trust in Christ needed to be circumcised and adopt the former requirements of the Law of Moses. This was an important matter that needed to be discussed and discerned rightly because this matter involved the gospel of grace that was made available through the finished work of Jesus.

Sometimes, the Gospel may be the CAUSE of conflict, but it always carries the CURE of all conflict. Paul experienced many problems as he presented the solution to the greatest conflict that we have, which is the way we have offended and rebelled against God by our sins. Paul writes, "But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict" (1 Thes. 2:2).

Conflict exposes our the character within us and reveals where our convictions lie on an issue. Conflicts are opportunities to bring glory to God by allowing God's love and patience to enter a situation that would normally cause someone's heart to harden, stunt their growth, or sever a relationship.

The truth is: You cannot have the highest quality of relationships with the people you want to have it with, if you don't resolve it with the people that you don't want to have relationship with.

Here is A Biblical Pattern for Arriving at Conflict Resolve:

Our Purpose: To glorify God in all we say and do (1 Cor. 10:31, Col. 3:17)
Our Perspective: Our honest concern or personal conviction on a particular matter (Rom. 14:5).
Our Problem: Our selfish will, preferences, and desires that get in the way as we seek to get (have) our way (Phil. 2:3-4,21, James 4:1, Prov. 14:12).
Our Posture: To humble ourselves before God and be teachable and open to others (James 1:19, 4:6,10).
Our Provision: The cross of Christ, the Spirit of truth, and the ministry of reconciliation (1 Cor. 2:2, John 16:13, 2 Cor. 5:14-21)
Our Practice: Christ’s unconditional love and our obedience to His Word (John 15:9-10, Eph. 4:15)
Our Pursuit: To endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3).

The Lord calls us to be peacemakers which requires us to approach people with a firm commitment to the truth along with a certain kindness and compassion. The KEY to a biblical ‘conflict resolve’ is to continually seek the glory of God and the well-being of others, even if it means dying to self, while maintaining an unwavering commitment to the truth demonstrated in Christ’s unconditional, unfailing love.

As Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Identify any conflicts that you may have with someone
Choose to listen, learn, and understand their position
Reconcile through patient discussion, love, and prayer

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