Summary: The message gives the 5 steps to avoid and diffuse conflict.
The Conflict Cure
This morning we are going to look at conflict in and out of the church. I have discovered a great deal about conflict and would like to share some of the more important points.
Lynn Buzzard gives negative advice on "How to turn a disagreement into a feud." He says there are eight (8) rules to escalating conflict.
1. Be sure to develop and maintain a healthy fear of conflict, letting your own feelings build up so you are in an explosive frame of mind.
2. If you must state your concerns, be as vague and general as possible. Then the other person cannot do anything practical to change the situation.
3. Assume you know all the facts and you are totally right. The use of a clinching Bible verse is helpful. Speak prophetically for truth and justice; do most of the talking.
4. With a touch of defiance, announce your willingness to talk with anyone who wishes to discuss the problem with you. But do not take steps to initiate such conversation.
5. Latch tenaciously onto whatever evidence you can find that shows the other person is merely jealous of you.
6. Judge the motivation of the other party on any previous experience that showed failure or unkindness. Keep track of any angry words.
7. If the discussion should, alas, become serious, view the issue as a win/lose struggle. Avoid possible solutions and go for total victory and unconditional surrender. Don’t get too many options on the table.
8. Pass the buck! If you are about to get cornered into a solution, indicate you are without power to settle; you need your partner, spouse, bank, whatever.
History gives us a rather interesting account on resolution of conflict. French novelist and playwright Alexandre Dumas once had a heated quarrel with a rising young politician. The argument became so intense that a duel was inevitable. Since both men were superb shots they decided to draw lots, the loser agreeing to shoot himself. Dumas lost. Pistol in hand, he withdrew in silent dignity to another room, closing the door behind him. The rest of the company waited in gloomy suspense for the shot that would end his career. It rang out at last. His friends ran to the door, opened it, and found Dumas, smoking revolver in hand. "Gentlemen, a most regrettable thing has happened," he announced. "I missed."
One thing you will always find in a church is conflict. Throughout history the church has been at the center of war and conflict. Even at the beginnings of Christianity we find arguments, conflict, and war. Thankfully we have scripture that deals with what it is or the critical conflict, where it comes from or the cause, and God’s solution or the cure.
James puts it this way in verses 1-3. He says,
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
Where did it all begin? It began in the Garden of Eden. All of the peace and comforts anyone could ever desire and it was thrown away because they were tempted to be like God. Perfect harmony and peace wasn’t enough so they chose to disobey and now look what happened.