Healthy Conflict Resolution

Conflict. I don’t know anyone who enjoys it. Even the word can make you cringe. The question is not will you ever face conflict, but when it happens how will you handle it?

Dealing with conflict in a healthy, biblical way is essential. Matthew 18:15-17 says, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

The Greek word translated “won” in verse 15 refers to the gaining back of something of value that is lost, specifically, an erring brother or sister. The body of Christ is in the business of recovery. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently…” Often using these guidelines Jesus set, the issue is resolved and everyone is able to move on.

If the person refuses to listen, which means respond properly, to the one who has rebuked them privately, the next step in the process is to take one or two more people to confront them. Look for other believers who will be helpful, with strong integrity. Ideally, their added rebuke is sufficient to cause a heart change that the first confrontation didn’t. If this is the case, the person is forgiven and the matter is dropped.

There are times when the person refuses to listen and respond to the confrontation even with witnesses. At this point, the grievance should be made more public. This is a good time to involve high-level Leaders and/or Staff from your department.

If this procedure fails to bring repentance, the last resort Jesus commands is for the entire community to disassociate itself from the individual, treating them as a pagan or tax collector. This means not allowing them to participate in public or corporate fellowship with the church.

Because we empower potential and care about one another’s well-being, we will not tolerate unrepentant sin. It is toxic to the Group and the Church as a whole. In time and by God’s grace, they will reconnect with the church and go on to live lives fully alive in Christ.