Life to the Full

March 5, 2017 | Conflict


Conflict is a natural part of life, but it can be unhealthy and destructive. 


Most conflicts can be resolved by one side being willing to lose. 

  • The problem comes when both sides feel they CAN’T give in. 
  • The best resolutions usually happen when both sides are willing to give a little. 
  • Sometimes the only way to win is to lose. 


When someone has done wrong:

Sometimes confrontation is needed. We are not taught to avoid all conflict. But HOW we confront is important. 


Matthew 18:15-17 (NIV)     15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.


Note the progression: 1 on 1, a few more people, then the whole group.


Galatians 6:1-2 (NIV)            6 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

The key phrase here is “restore…gently”


When we are wrong:

Matthew 5:21-26 (NIV)       21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.


Key words: Be reconciled…settle matters quickly…go.

Jesus is saying that when we are wrong, we must take the first step to make it right.


When someone has wronged us:

Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)     12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.


Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)      31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.


A new way to live:

Romans 12:14-21 (NIV)       14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.



Practical advice for dealing with conflict:

Defuse a bomb with humility and forgiveness. 

Proverbs 15:1          A gentle answer turns away wrath,

but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 13:1010 Where there is strife, there is pride,
but wisdom is found in those who take advice..

Proverbs 19:11 11 A person’s wisdom yields patience;

it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.

Proverbs 15:18 18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict,
but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

Proverbs 25:21-2221 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.

Don’t add fuel to a fire with gossip. 

Proverbs 16:2828 A perverse person stirs up conflict,
and a gossip separates close friends.

Proverbs 17:9Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,

but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends..

Proverbs 26:20-2120 Without wood a fire goes out;
without a gossip a quarrel dies down.
21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.

Proverbs 30:3333 For as churning cream produces butter,
and as twisting the nose produces blood,
so stirring up anger produces strife.

Be willing to lose. 

Proverbs 17:1Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife..

Proverbs 17:13-1413 Evil will never leave the house
of one who pays back evil for good.
14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

Proverbs 20:3It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel.

Proverbs 20:2222 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”
Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.

Proverbs 24:28-2928 Do not testify against your neighbor without cause—
would you use your lips to mislead?
29 Do not say, “I’ll do to them as they have done to me;
I’ll pay them back for what they did.”

Mind your own business. 

Proverbs 26:1717 Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears
is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.