The Bible is clear. Each of us is a selfish sinner, and so is every other person with whom we have a relationship. Therefore, conflict is inevitable. This never excuses our own sinful actions or attitudes, however, but God’s Word calls us to repentance and greater growth in grace. Our great God can even redeem this form of trouble by accomplishing His ongoing work of humility in our hearts—by His grace and for His glory. When responded to in humility, long-suffering, grace, and forgiveness; relational conflicts actually become the building-blocks for even stronger, more Christ-honoring relationships in a world that longs for peace. In short, how we handle conflict is a massive window into our heart’s true condition and its relationship to the gospel. Whether we are the offender, or the offended, if we choose to delay the resolving of our conflicts with one another then we short-change ourselves—hindering our own spiritual growth and the maturity of others. For this reason, the Bible exhorts us to do everything in our power to resolve conflict ASAP.
6 REASONS TO WASTE NO TIME MAKING EVERY EFFORT TO RESOLVE OUR CONFLICTS
- Delaying Conflict Resolution May Cause Anger to become Deep-Seated Resentment and Bitterness. “BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Eph 4:26). “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Eph 4:31).
- Delaying Conflict Resolution Opens the Door to Satan’s Destructive Work by Giving Him the Advantage. “BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Eph 4:26-27).
- Delaying Conflict Resolution Leads to False Worship. “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering” (Matthew 5:23-24).
- Delaying Conflict Resolution Evidences the Lack of Brotherly Love & Concern. “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother” (Matt 18:15). “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” (Gal 6:1).
- Delaying Conflict Resolution Harms Yourself and Others. “But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another” (Gal 5:15).
- Delaying Conflict Resolution Often Fuels Greater Strife, a Fruit of the Flesh. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are…strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions” (Gal 5:19-20).
Instead, PURSUE PEACE…
“Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Ps 34:14).
“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (Rom 14:19).
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Tim 2:22).
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14).
“…let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it” (1 Pet 3:11).
In Paul Tripp’s most recent “Wednesday Word,” he directs us to remember that—even in our conflicts—God is up to something good.
Here’s the mistake we make in the way we attempt to make sense out of our lives. We think that the mess is a sure sign that God is not working in our lives, because if he were at work, we wouldn’t be in such a mess. The Bible tells us something completely different. It tells us that because God loves us so, he is not satisfied with us as we are. He looks down at us and sees many areas where change and growth are needed. He couldn’t love us and be willing to leave us in our immaturity and weakness. So, God takes us where we do not want to go in order to produce in us what we could not achieve on our own – character. And how does he do this? He uses the difficult experiences of life to expose and change our hearts. One of his main tools is our relationships. These messy relationships expose our hearts, bring us to the end of ourselves and cause us to reach out for the help that only Jesus can give us.
May God, in the richness of His grace, continue to drive us back to the Cross of Jesus where our sins were paid for and the ultimate reconciliation was accomplished.
Read of how unresolved conflict leads to unanswered prayer in Brass Heavens: Reasons for Unanswered Prayer
RESOURCE: HELP! I’m in a Conflict