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Summary: Successful people know how to apply the principles of the art and science of conflict resolution

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Lessons of Conflict Resolution

(Acts 15:36-41)

Illustration:Years ago, a large statue of Christ was erected high in the Andes on the border between Argentina and Chile. Called "Christ of the Andes," the statue symbolizes a pledge between the two countries that as long as the statue stands, there will be peace between Chile and Argentina. Shortly after the statue was erected, the Chileans began to protest that they had been slighted -- the statue had its back turned to Chile. Just when tempers were at their highest in Chile, a Chilean newspaperman saved the day. In an editorial that not only satisfied the people but made them laugh, he simply said, "The people of Argentina need more watching over than the Chileans.

Bits & Pieces, June 25, 1992.

1. Sadly, we never outgrow our tendency to be in conflict with one another. Conflicts may arise even among mature Christians like Barnabas and Paul. In this passage, Paul and Barnabas disagreed so sharply over John Mark’s credibility that they separated from one another.

Paul judged Mark severely on the moral grounds that he was not mature enough to be a trustworthy missionary companion. Barnabas felt that Mark’s former desertion signaled his lack of loyalty to Paul and himself rather than to Christ. Often strong willed leaders like Paul have a difficult time forgiving those who have lapses of faithfulness to their leadership.

Barnabas tended to be more lenient as he was willing to grant clemency to Mark. When both leaders thought they were fighting for the Lord they were actually contending for themselves.

Ask the Lord to help you resolve conflicts in ways that bring the greatest glory to the Lord. Demonstrate the highest wisdom in respect to each person’s gifts, callings and spiritual maturity.

2. Christ’s love triumphs over all conflicts when exercised through the power of the Holy Spirit. God used Paul’s sternness to bring Mark to a higher level of commitment. The Lord used Barnabas’ love to give Mark a sense of belonging and restoration.

Without the Holy Spirit’s leading the harshness of a person like Paul degenerates into an abusive leadership and the kindness of Barnabas leads to a compromising softness in relationships.

Ask the Lord to help you find a way to help people become Spirit controlled so they are able to harness the good qualities of their God given personality.

3. Mark is able to grow in Christ likeness through this humiliating experience because he was willing to give missionary work a second chance. During the first missionary journey Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas for some unknown reason. Mark refused to get discouraged, distracted or disillusioned about missions from one bad experience.

Ask the Lord to allow you to learn from your mistakes. Choose to become better from every situation instead of growing bitter, resentful and cynical. Be better not bitter.

4. The Lord powerfully used the separation of Paul and Barnabas to multiply the missionary enterprise. Learn to trust in the Lord’s ability to work all things together for HIS good. Love God and try to fit into His plans instead of following your own desires. (Rom. 8:28,29)

Many people tend to forget that God is sovereign and is able to turn seeming tragedies into triumphs; defeats into victories; problems into opportunities; divisions into multiplications; humiliations into character building experiences.

Ask the Lord to help you focus on God’s miraculous promise to work ALL things together for good – despite human limited perceptions.

5. Clarify how much each individual or circumstantial factor is contributing to the conflict. NO dispute is caused by one individual or situational condition. Most conflicts result from complex interactions of a multiple of factors.

Help all parties concerned to turn to the scriptures to find positive answers for the negatives.

Ask the Lord to help you to remember that we are commanded to “Consider it all joy, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” (James 1:2,3)

6. Recognize the buttons or vulnerabilities that each person has to certain conflicts. There are some issues that tend to set some people off more than others.

Ask God for the sensitivity, discernment and guidance to know how to avoid peoples’ sore spots.

7. Give your frustrations, disappointments and hurt feelings over to the Lord instead of harboring feelings of anger or fear. Unless we learn to turn our anger and fear to God we are prone to self-destructive attitudes, behaviors and thought patterns.

Confess your sins of commissions, omission, wrong dispositions or faulty assumptions about others.

8. Avoid using past conflicts or others’ mistakes as weapons. Remember, each person will give an account to God. (Rom. 14:12)

Avoid speaking evil about others knowing that God alone is the judge and He has perfect objectivity.

Ask God to help you be led more by an objective thought process than your subjective feelings.

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