How To Handle Conflict
Text: Mat 5:21-26; 18:15-35; Php 4:2-7
A. Duties of the offender.
What not to do. a. Avoid the offended. b. Move to another congregation.
What to do. a. Initiate reconciliation with the offended (Mat 5:23-24). b. Do it quickly (Mat 5:25). c. Make every effort (Luk 12:58).
Why do. a. If we love our brethren, we will be careful not to cause any stumbling (1Jo 2:10). b. If we want our worship to be acceptable to God, we have to make right our relationship with our brethren (Mat 5:24). c. If we cause offence to our brethren, our salvation will be affected (Mat 18:6-9).
B. Duties of the offended.
What not to do. a. Harbour bitterness in the heart (Eph 4:31). b. Badmouth the offender (Mat 5:22).
What to do. a. Go to the offender in private (Mat 18:15). b. Bring one or 2 more brethren (Mat 18:16). c. Tell it to the church (Mat 18:17). d. Withdraw fellowship from him (Mat 18:17).
Why do. a. Those who are angry with their brethren in word, in thought, and in deed will be in danger of the judgment (Mat 5:21-22). b. Those who are unwilling to forgive their brethren will receive no forgiveness from God (Mat 18:21-22,35). c. Those who hate their brethren will not have eternal life (1Jo 3:15).
C. Duties of the outsider.
What not to do. a. Take sides in the conflict (1Ti 5:20-21). b. Gossip about the issue (1Ti 5:13).
What to do. a., Appeal to both parties to put aside their differences for the sake of unity (Php 4:2). b. Get help from others who can help mediate between both parties (Php 4:3). c. Pray for both parties that they will be able to work out their differences (Php 4:6-7).
Why do. a. The blessing of being a peacemaker (Mat 5:9). b. The danger of losing souls (Php 4:3). c. The reputation of the church (1Co 6:5-6).