The first step for conflict resolution is Give Space. You can read about this in the first post of this series.
The second step provides another great reason we should not
dive right into correcting others.
2. Check yourself
Jesus warned, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.” (Matt 7:3-5)
Go ahead and say this out loud to yourself: “I might be wrong.” Some of us really need to add this possibility to our thinking process. When I am in conflict and I choose to give space and check myself, I find that often the main problem is actually me! I get alone with God and ask him to convict me and help me understand the situation. He will.
It may be that there is still a legitimate issue in the other’s life. But this is a great opportunity to make sure that I have discerned, confessed, and requested forgiveness for any wrongdoing on my part. Getting things right from my end often clears up the waters for others to see their own issues. It also strengthens the relationship and clears the way to address those issues when the time is right.
Bottom line: do not “go to your brother” about their sin when there is unconfessed sin on your part in the relationship.
3. Let go of anger
When we are hurt by others, or think that what they are doing is wrong, we often become angry. Trying to have a discussion when we are angry will rarely produce good results. Paul warns us not to allow anger to settle in our hearts (Eph 4:26-27).
Forgiveness takes place at two levels. One is the relational level, when we extend forgiveness to a repentant person and the relationship is restored. Another is the heart level. Even if someone does not repent, we must not be resentful or hold on to anger. We can forgive them in our hearts even if the relationship has not yet been restored. This heart level forgiveness is how we let go of anger. We can and must forgive because we have been forgiven (Matt 18:21-35).
Bottom line: do not “to your brother” about their sin when there is anger and forgiveness in your heart toward them. This sin on your part is a direct obstacle to your relationship with God (Matt 6:14-15).
Next Part: Steps 4 & 5: 9 Steps for Conflict Resolution