Summary: How to Resolve or Prevent Conflicts
How to Resolve or Prevent Conflicts (Acts 15:1-35)
Conflicts, like the one in Acts 15, often occur because of differences of perspectives.
Some people viewed the will of God differently because of their personal, cultural or religious conditioning.
Resolving conflicts should always begin by clarifying how each party actually perceives the situation and for what reasons. Be willing to listen to one another’s point of view with the love of Christ. However, in this case essential priorities and definitive policies needed to be established for the church to complete the work of Christ for the church. Trust the Lord to help your fellowship develop clear guidelines, policies and procedures that will prevent conflicts from occurring.
Illustration:Many years ago during a Knicks-Bullets playoff game, one of the Bullets came up from behind the great Walt Frazier and punched him in the face. Strangely, the referee called a foul on Frazier. Frazier didn’t complain. His expression never changed. He simply called for the ball and put in seven straight shots to win the game, an amazing display of productive anger. If you want to get huffy about it, it was a great moral lesson as well.
U.S. News & World Report, June 14, 1993, p. 37.
2. Conflicts often occur because some people feel their perceived, felt or real needs are not being met. Needs are conditions we perceive we cannot do without or that we think are essential to our well being. Christ designed our fellowship with one another to be mutually beneficial, fulfilling and complimentary. When we recognize the fact that "the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you,â (I Cor. 12:21) then we are able to respect one anotherâs integrative worth to each person.
Ask the Lord to help your members perceive that their needs are best met through the mutually beneficial cooperation with all the members of the body of Christ.
3. Conflicts occur in the church when some individuals ignore other peopleâs needs, problems or experience. To be overlooked, taken for granted or spurned because of neglect often foments conflict. In this passage the council had to decide how they were going to establish a church policy that set gospel practices toward Gentile believers. Due to the councilâs willingness to listen to the wise counsel of Spirit led men, they correctly decided, "Why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear. We believe that we are saved through the grace of our Lord Jesus, in the same way as the Gentiles are also." (Acts 15:10,11)
Pray that the Lord will give you the wisdom to make wise decisions based on the New Testament principles of grace working through love instead of lawful manmade decrees.
4. Conflicts can be resolved when people trust the Lord to treat the root cause of a problem rather than merely treating superficial symptoms. It would have been easy for the apostles to say that the Jewish fellowships can operate with one set of rules and the Gentiles another, but they focused on the meanings of Christâs gospel and priorities. Ask the Lord to help you resolve conflicts by getting to the root cause of the problems.
5. Conflicts can be resolved when people are willing to assemble together for prayer, consecration and worship of the Lord’s attributes and word. The Spirit of God is not the authority of confusion but of peace. Jesus said, "Peace, I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives, give I to you." (John 14:27)
Ask the Lord to help you assemble key people for regular times of prayer, worship and discussions so that you can establish loving channels of communications that can resolve any conflicts.
6. Conflicts can be resolved when people are willing to embrace the solutions found in Romans 12. Paul the apostle gives a twenty-one verse formula for solving any personal, interpersonal or group conflict. Essentially, Paul advocates laying our minds, hearts and wills on the altar of God as a living sacrifice so that we are able to completely fulfill God’s will instead of our own personal agendas.
Ask the Lord to help you use Romans 12 as one of the key means of resolving all types of conflicts.
7. Conflicts can be resolved when people are willing to avoid defining the other party as incorrigible. Even though all people have a sinful nature, Spirit led individuals are able to find unity, peace and harmony through the mutuality of our shared union in Christ. Remember you are only responsible to obey God not solve all problems.
Some fights are not worth the battle. Ask the Lord to help you concentrate more on what you have in common than how you differ.