Conflict is a a normal part of life. No one can escape the pain of broken relationships– it is part of living life in a broken, fallen world. Although pain may not be able to be avoided– becoming bitter over the pain caused can be.
The Bible presents to us the ‘freedom of forgiveness’. It also shows us that Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals, gives each believer the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
Before we can reconcile any differences- we must first diagnose the condition of our own heart. Checking ourselves against the eight potentially problematic areas.
8 Areas to Examine in Our Heart
- Pride- Do I focus on how much I have been wronged?
- Faultfinding- Do I search and rehearse the faults of others?
- Avoidance- Do I avoid being around those I have conflict with?
- Silence- Do I shut down and refuse to share what I am feeling in a healthy way?
- Isolation- Do I withdraw emotionally?
- Unfaithfulness- Do I share unnecessary information about my opposer?
- Hopelessness- Do I lack faith that God can work in any situation?
- Resentment- Do I hold on to my anger until it turns into bitterness?
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled
The Bible tells us to pursue peace with all people.
How to reconcile
The process of mending relationships and reconciliation of conflict can occur when both parties are willing to listen and communicate without interrupting each other. Both need to show respect and acknowledge there are two sides to every story, two sets of feelings, two hearts that need healing, and two different perceptions of what happened.
6 Do’s of reconciliation
- See the situation
- Repeat back what you heard
- Use words that are encouraging
- Be open minded and respectful
- Accept you only have the power to change yourself
- Be at peace
6 Don’ts of Reconciliation
- Don’t forget your opposer is also God’s creation
- Don’t hold on to resentment, bitterness, or hatred
- Don’t use ‘you’ statements. (You should…You made me…You always..etc)
- Don’t get drawn into useless arguing
- Don’t expect change immediately
- Don’t assume every situation can be reconciled
Apologize and Forgive
The healing of two wounded hearts can’t happen if both parties refuse to ask for forgiveness from the other. We must be careful not to further offend or complicate the situation when we are asking for forgiveness.
5 helpful tips when apologizing
- Don’t make excuses
- Don’t use the blame game or ‘you’ statements
- Accept full responsibility (My attitude was inexcusable)
- Accept full blame for your part in the situation (No one can make someone else sin- I acknowledge I sinned against you…)
- With a humble heart and attitude explain you have tried to see the situation from their point of view….)
All healing takes time– regardless of the type of wound– physical, mental, or emotional. A wound cannot heal if we don’t leave it alone. Forgiveness works in a similar manner– it can not do its’ job if we don’t give it time. God can use us to help the process by taking these practical steps:
- Recognize that forgiving someone does not mean they are ‘off the hook’. It means you are no longer carrying the offense and have turned it over to God to handle. It transfers it from your hook to God’s hook.
- Make the decision that you no longer want to bare the pain from the past.
- Recognize the unmet needs of the one who hurt you and pray for them.
- Make a list of each offense you are holding unforgiveness about and release each one to God.
Each person has to accept that there is a chance that the end result could be a negative outcome. Sometimes, the relationship just may not work out between two people. The responsibility cannot fall solely on one of them. Effective and freeing reconciliation comes when both parties handle the process in a Godly manner.
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Thank you Lord for your forgiveness and guidance on reconciling our differences. We know that conflict is going to happen and we ask that you help us handle it in a Godly manner. Forgive me for not always seeking Your counsel before handling situations in the past. God I hand each offense I carry today over to you. Lord help expose to me my own heart and show me where I need improvement. Guide me in the process of reconciliation and help me to remember the do’s and don’ts. I pray that you would help me to live peaceably with all men and forgive just as you have forgiven me. It is in Jesus name I pray