How to Biblically Handle Conflict?


As a Christian, it is hard to assess how to handle conflict, at least it is for me. Verses like “keep no record of wrongs,” and “turn the other cheek,” play in my mind as I question how to deal with this mounting frustration. In a perfect scenario I would be able to overlook every offense thrown my way, unfortunately I have not reached that point yet. Things still bother me. I still have hard days where someone cutting me off on the coffee line could initiate the stink eye. So how do we address people Biblically? Does God expect us to brush everything under the rug?

1. Pray for wisdom in addressing the person so that your words may be laced with love, as opposed to a rattlesnakes strike.

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Prov 15:1

2. First, address them personally; don’t let everyone and their mom know what bothers you before addressing the person that has hurt you.

If your brother sins go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.

Matthew 18:15

3. If they don’t listen to you, bring a mediator into the equation, preferably an unbiased opinion that can add insight into what’s going on.

 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.

Matthew 18:16

4. Last straw is, if they are a Christian, go before the church body and address the problem hopefully gaining wisdom, insight and reconciliation.

“Keep No Record of Wrongs” (1 Cor 13:5)

So how can we keep no record of wrong while still addressing what bothers us? The main premise here is forgiveness. Don’t store all these nasty nuggets to be used on a later date. Address things immediately and then move on. Don’t stew on things. Forgiveness is relinquishing someone of the debt they owe you and giving them a fresh start.

 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Col. 3:13

 Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.

Ephesians 4:26

What about turning the other cheek? (Matthew 5:39)

For many years Matthew 5:38-39 threw me for a loop. I thought that it was implying that we should be able to take every bothersome thing that someone dishes out without addressing them. But, if you read the verse in context, it is referring to not retaliating a wrong with a wrong. It is not referring to merely addressing an issue that bothers you.

Verse in context:

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

Matthew 5:38-39

As the sayings goes “two wrongs don’t make a right”. “Vengeance is Mine says the Lord.” Matthew 5:39 is reinforcing those truths.

Wrap-Up on Biblically Addressing Conflict

Addressing conflict is hard; it takes courage and wisdom as you openly reveal what causes you pain. Stay focused; if you want to handle it in a Biblical manner, you need to address the problem with love, with the objective for healing and restoration not for vengeance, or as an emotional outlet to unleash your frustration.

Photo credit: from Unsplash by Lee Scott

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