Table of Contents Hide
- Seek Wise Counsel
- Take the High Road
- Be Quick with Forgiveness
- Look for a Win-Win Scenario
- Don’t Get Discouraged
- Guard against Pride and Anger
- Understand the Subject of Anger
- Understand the Root of Anger
- Understand How to Control Anger
- LISTEN: Being Complete in Jesus (Understanding Matthew 5:21-48)
- WATCH: 10 Sins Christians Downplay (and Why They’re So Destructive)
We read in the Bible that “Keeping away from strife is an honor for man, but any fool will quarrel.” (Proverbs 20:3). Though challenging, it’s clear that resolving conflict is biblical. So, what can we learn from the Scriptures to help us?
Someone has said that the best definition of conflict is this: two people. When two people are involved, conflict is inevitable somewhere down the road. Married couples, families, teammates, workmates, neighbors, friends – we’re all going to encounter conflict in our relationships. Now, the goal of life is not to live conflict-free. The goal is to resolve conflict in a godly way. So, I want to share six important biblical keys to remember when facing conflict.
Seek Wise Counsel
In times of conflict, seeking wise counsel from trusted friends, family members, or a mentor is essential. Share your struggles with someone, a third party who can offer guidance and support. It’s often an outside perspective that can shed light on a situation and provide a calming influence. Proverbs 15:21 reminds us, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors, they succeed.”
Take the High Road
Proverbs 26:4-5 says, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” When you’re in conflict, refrain from attacking a person’s character. Don’t become disrespectful and condescending. Don’t threaten, and don’t interrupt. Honor the Lord in the manner in which you conduct yourself. Take the high road when you’re in a conflict.
Be Quick with Forgiveness
We learn in Proverbs 10:12 that “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.” Be quick to grant forgiveness when you’re wronged and seek forgiveness when you are in the wrong. Don’t delay when it comes to forgiving.
Look for a Win-Win Scenario
The goal in conflict resolution is not win-lose, where I win and you lose. No, it is for both sides to win, unless the conflict revolves around a clear biblical principle that cannot be compromised. A win-win is certainly favorable, with both sides feeling respected, heard, and validated.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Life is filled with conflicts, and Jesus calls us to be peacemakers, not peacekeepers. What’s the difference? Peacekeepers avoid conflict at all costs, but peacemakers deal with difficult issues to enjoy real peace. As one man told me concerning his business partner, “Sometimes we have to go through the tunnel of turmoil to get to the tunnel of love.”
Guard against Pride and Anger
Proverbs 13:10 says, “Pride leads to conflict.” Now, when our pride is wounded, we can easily lash out at the other person. And when you feel that anger rising up within you, do a quick inventory to see if this is coming from wounded pride. If so, hold your tongue. Step away from the conflict until your emotions settle down. Remember, God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.
Anger is especially challenging, so I want to dive deeper into how we can manage this human emotion. We know from Proverbs 16:32 that “He who is slow to anger, is better than the mighty and he who rules his spirit than he who captures a city.” So, I want to share three important lessons on the subject of anger.
Understand the Subject of Anger
Proverbs 14:29 tells us, “He who is slow to anger, has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered, exalts folly.” Most people don’t understand anger very well. Not all anger is wrong or sinful. If we watch the news and see horrible injustices taking place or wickedness displayed before our eyes involving children or the defenseless, we should get angry. This is called righteous indignation. It’s right to be angry about these things. God gets angry about these things. But righteous indignation is not the anger that gets us into trouble. Unrighteous indignation brings strife into our marriages, families, and relationships.
Understand the Root of Anger
The Lord asked Cain in Genesis, “Why are you so angry?” Unrighteous anger boils up when things don’t go our way when we have expectations that don’t get met. You’re running late and get stuck in traffic, or your computer dies, losing all your work. When those things happen, we tend to blow our tops. Cain was angry because God did not accept his sacrifice. Unrighteous anger also boils up when we get hurt emotionally. Every hurt always turns to anger. It’s the other side of the same coin. Every angry person you meet is a hurting person. And we’ve all heard that hurting people hurt people.
Understand How to Control Anger
First, we must give all our expectations to God when things don’t go our way. Just cast your cares upon him and consider it all joy, as James tells us in chapter one. Refuse to blow a fuse over whatever is happening that’s making you mad. Just say, “Okay, Lord, you’ve got this; I give it to you, and I will put it in the joy column.”
Then, give all your hurt feelings to the Lord. Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in Him at all times.” Pour out your heart before him. God is a refuge for us. We all have hurts, so give those hurts to the Lord. Don’t keep those bottled up in your heart. Pour them out to him and let God bring healing.
Finally, we must truly forgive all those who have hurt us. I know that’s a tall order, but if God can forgive us of all our many sins, then he can enable us to forgive from the heart those people who have hurt us. Forgiving those who hurt you is letting the captive go free, only to find that the captive was you.
If you put these six keys into practice in your life and your interpersonal conflicts, you will be amazed at the change in outcome. We want to be doers of the Word, not just hearers who delude ourselves. Consider these things, put them into practice in our lives, and trust God amid conflict, knowing He’s at work. We need to be soft clay in the hands of the Master so He can mold us into the person He wants us to be.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Andrii Yalanskyi
Dr. Jeff Schreve is Pastor of First Baptist Church, Texarkana, Texas, and the founder of From His Heart Ministries. He is a passionate communicator of the Scriptures whose love for the Lord and love for people comes out in every sermon he preaches. He can be heard hosting American Family Radio’s “Real Truth for Today” and Pray.com’s “Weekly Wisdom with Jeff Schreve,” from which this piece is taken.
LISTEN: Being Complete in Jesus (Understanding Matthew 5:21-48)
Hearing Jesus is a devotional journey through the gospels, where we explore the teachings of Jesus chapter by chapter. If you’re seeking to live a life that reflects God’s, this podcast is for you.
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WATCH: 10 Sins Christians Downplay (and Why They’re So Destructive)
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