We’ve all been in situations where our feelings have been hurt, we have been wronged, or been mistreated. And the hard truth of the matter is that we also have been on the other side of that equation. We have been the one doing the wrong or dishing out the hurt.
When Jesus was here on earth He talked a lot about the Kingdom of God. In fact, that was His whole mission here on earth. He said that the Kingdom of God is at hand.
Matthew 4:17 NIV From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
His Kingdom is one of peace with the purpose to bring reconciliation between humanity back to a Holy and perfect God.
John 14:27 NIV Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
If the Kingdom of God is at hand, this means it is a present reality.
Jesus also taught about what it means to be a peacemaker. We live in a world where the vast majority of us are conflict-avoiders. The Bible challenges us to be peacemakers and agents of reconciliation. Jesus even gave us a promise that we will be called sons and daughters of God when we live this out.
Matthew 5:9 NIV Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
God wants you to live at peace with everyone. Why? Because unresolved conflict has three devastating effects in life.
First, it blocks your fellowship with God. When you’re out of harmony with others, you can’t be in harmony with God. When you’re distracted by conflict with other people, you can’t have a clear connection with God.
1 John 4:19-21 NIV We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
Second, unresolved conflict hinders your prayers. Over and over again the Bible says that when your life is characterized by conflict, sin, and disharmony, your prayers are blocked.
Isaiah 59:2 NIV But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
1 Peter 3:7 NIV Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Third, unresolved conflict hinders your happiness. You can’t be happy and in conflict at the same time. Conflict will not go away on its own. You can’t ignore it, deny it, or sweep it under the rug.
If you think you can ignore the conflict, think again. Time does not heal all things. Time doesn’t heal anything. If time healed everything you would never need to go to the doctor. When you have an illness that won’t go away it doesn’t get better it gets worse. I had a skin irritation a short time ago. I scratched it and as a result I had a very small wound. I thought that, with them, that small wound would just go away. Well it didn’t because it required a dermatology solution. Had I continued to let it go thinking that time would heal it who knows what would have happened. Instead when it kept getting larger, red, and warmer, I went to Urgent Care, to have an expert look at it, diagnose it and prescribe a solution.
Conflict is the same way. Anger turns to resentment, and resentment turns to bitterness. So, to get rid of conflict, you need to intentionally deal with it. Don’t wait for the other person to come to you. Go to the person you’re in conflict with. Take the initiative and be the peacemaker.
- Own it. If you’ve messed up, own it. Own it fully because the offense is against a Holy God—don’t explain it away. Ask for forgiveness. We should own all that we can for the good of relationships and the glory of Christ. Confession, and walking in the light, gives God the opportunity to display grace in our lives.
1 John 1:5-10 NIV This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
- Speak Truth. If you’ve been hurt, go to the person humbly and talk tothem. Listen to them. And pray for them.
Ephesians 4:29-32 NIV Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
- Give grace. Be quick to forgive. Remember the grace upon grace, upon grace, that you’ve been freely given in Christ Jesus. Ask God to give you the grace to receive His grace, and for the grace to give it freely to others.
Colossians 3:12-14 NIV Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Only courageous people resolve conflict. Maybe the most courageous thing you can do is to face an issue that you’ve been ignoring for a long time—whether it’s in your marriage, with your kids, with your employees or your boss, or whoever.
Where do you find the courage to face and resolve conflict? You get it from God.
2 Timothy 1:7 NIV For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
Let God’s Spirit fill your life, and you’ll find yourself filled with power, love, and self-discipline. God’s love will overcome fear and give you the courage to resolve conflict and bring healing to your relationships.