Summary: Biblical guidelines for conflict resolution - OUTLINE with some manuscript elements but PLENTY of room to Personalize this message.
Introduction: I heard a story about three umpires having a conversation. The rookie said, "Some are balls and some are strikes. I call’em like I see’em." The older umpire said, "Some are balls and some are strikes. I call’em like they are." The old veteran umpire said, "Some are balls and some are strikes. But they ain’t nothin’ ‘til I call’em!"
I have had a lot of dealings with umpires. Although I haven’t always agreed with it their word is final! God’s Word is final and perfect! And His word says that there is an appropriate way to deal with conflict. This is vitally important given Jesus’ words in earlier in the 18th chapter of Matthew. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! (verse 7 )
John Maxwell lists 12 ways to constructively manage conflict and 12 ways to destructively manage conflict.
Constructive Management Destructive Management
Agree on a time and place to talk it out. Catch the other person off guard.
Assertively, honestly express your feelings. Passively suppress your feelings.
Focus on the problem, not the person. Personalize the disagreement.
Select a neutral referee. Get your friends to referee.
Develop a positive, mature attitude. Be negative and vindictive.
Search for a solution. Find someone to blame.
Focus on specifics. Generalize and exaggerate.
Be open and available. Be silent and superior.
Affirm your responsibility. Blame someone else.
When problems arise, work them out. When problems arise, walk out.
Listen, wait and learn. Presume, assume and dominate.
Forgive and forget. Stubbornly demand guarantees.
Based on the scripture, and these principles, I believe that there are three important issues we need to understand if we are going to resolve conflict in a scriptural way. These issues are represented by three words in the text: "Brother", "Sins" and "Gained".
I. The word "brother" represents The People Involved In The Conflict
Genesis 13:8 So Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren.
A. Look at yourself
Matthew 7:3-5 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me remove the speck from your eye; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.
"Coping with difficult people is always a problem. Especially if the difficult person happens to be yourself." -John Maxwell-
B. Look at the other person
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.
C. Speak the truth in love
Ephesians 4:15 speaking the truth in love.
John Maxwell says there are three types of people when it comes to this scripture:
1. Hiders-they don’t share the truth.
2. Hurlers-they share the truth, but not in love.
3. Healers- they share the truth in love.
II. The word "sins" represents The Conflict
Matthew 18:7 …offenses must come…
A. Understand the goals of confrontation
Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
"When I’m getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I’m going to say and two-thirds thinking about him and what he is going to say." - Abraham Lincoln-
B. Meet together as soon as possible
Ephesians 4:26 Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.
C. Outline the issue
Proverbs 18:13 He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.
"When confronting a person about a conflict issue, I have discovered that 50% don’t realize there is a problem. 30% realize there is a problem but don’t know how to solve it. 20% realize there is a problem but don’t want to solve it. Notice that 80% of the time there is potential to solve the conflict." -John Maxwell-
III. The word "gained" represents The Desired Outcome
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
A. Encourage a response
Proverbs 9:8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
"Successful confrontation usually changes both people, not just one."