Resentment, gossip, pain, and anger, these are some of the effects of unresolved conflict. Hurt by those we love, whether it be intentionally or unintentionally, our emotions stew up inside us. Instead of confronting our accuser we either talk to everyone but the one who hurt us, or bottle up the hurt convincing ourselves we should not have been hurt in the first place. Where does this get us? No where.
In an ideal world others wouldn’t hurt us, and we would not hurt others, but that is not reality. So how should we deal with this conflict when the hurt arises?
Address the issue head on
Don’t avoid the issue, hoping it will go away. Doing so will result in a communication breakdown. If someone has hurt you, or you feel you have hurt someone else, talk to them. Unfortunately when we run from our problems, they have a way of catching up with us. By not addressing the problem from the get go, it has snowballed into a monster of emotion that does not have a beginning.
Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
Once you address the problem, move on.
When we have truly been hurt, we generally allow ourselves to stay in that pain. How, you ask? Because we constantly allow ourselves to relive the pain, through bringing up the offense, or just making a point to file away the pain for a later date when we want to retaliate. It is just not worth it.
If they do the same hurt again, go through the same motion. Address it, then forgive, then move on. We are not perfect, and yet often when someone else falls short of perfection, we are thrown into a tailspin.
Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Unify the body of Christ
I encourage you to not only to deal with your own conflict, but try not to let others fester in their cycle of pain as well. If someone starts venting about another, encourage them to talk to the person who hurt them. We want to be a friend, but a real friend offers encouragement, healing and restoration.
He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue.
Photo credit: by Peterdargatz