How do I deal with conflict in the church?

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Answered by: Chris, An Expert in the Christianity - General Category
This past weekend I finished up a series with a group of teens entitled “Friend Request.” It was a look at relationships from a variety of perspectives and in a variety of situations. This past week we discussed dealing with conflict. You know, conflict....something that no one in the church ever deals with, right?

Of course we all know better. Where there are flawed people (and we’re all flawed people), there will be conflict. It’s not a matter of if, but when there will be conflict in the church. Sometimes that conflict occurs between a few people. Other times it's the entire church or even multiple churches who find themselves hurled into the abyss of bitter conflict. Conflict can destroy relationships, families, even entire churches. Because of the destructive nature of conflict, it is vital that we as Christians handle any conflict that comes our way in the most delicate and yet decisive way possible. Because of that I would love to pass along to you some of what we discussed in our study.

Since Jesus often found himself in conflict, we know that to be in a disagreement with someone is certainly not sin. It's often how we respond to conflict in the church, however, where we fall into sin. Here's some helpful hints for dealing with conflict in the church.

First. we need to allow people room to mess up. It’s biblical! Colossians 3:13 tells us that we must make allowance for each other's faults, because just as God has forgiven us, we too must forgive others. WOW. I need to do so much better at that.

Second, I can’t let my anger get the best of me. Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us that we sin when we let anger control our actions. It goes on to say that we should never let the sun go down on that anger. Notice we're not told that anger itself is a sin, because it's not. Jesus got angry. Sometimes he got really angry, and rightfully so. But he did not allow his anger to become sin or escalate into something worse, and we shouldn't either.

Third, don’t get even! Romans12:17-18 tells us to never pay back someone who has wronged us by doing wrong back to them. We should never respond to evil with more evil. Powerful words. God’s truth has a way of hitting home sometimes. Certainly not easy words. Just imagine if you can a world, a church, a home...where those principles are followed. What a different place they would be!

I have so much to learn about what it means to do relationships right. I guess we all do. Jesus said it best when he quoted Deuteronomy saying that we should love God with all of our hearts, our minds, and our strength. He added to that by saying that we should also love others with that same passion God expects from us in our relationship with Him. If we did those simple things, what a different world we’d live in, don't you think?

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