It’s inevitable. If you have ministry teams in your church, the members are going to have arguments, disagreements, and conflicts. What does the Bible have to say about how to settle these kinds of disputes among Christians?
Distribute this brief list to your leaders to tuck in the back of their Bibles. It offers a starting point for resolving disputes and conflicts among group members.
- Examine yourself. Before you get involved, examine your heart, motives, and attitudes to make sure they’re in tune with Scripture. Encourage each person involved in the dispute or quarrel to do the same (Matthew 7:1-5).
- Try to settle matters immediately—but privately. Have an attitude of forgiveness and love (see #7 below). Don’t involve crowds of people who really don’t need to be involved (Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15-17).
- Avoid needless conflict or arguments. Instead, point people back to Scripture’s guidelines for getting along with one another. Pray that God will instill a sense of repentance in each person’s heart (2 Timothy 2:23-26).
- Think about the situation and the most appropriate response before you speak. Often, a calm response will diffuse a situation, while a sarcastic or heated response will only serve to ratchet up the anger level (Proverbs 15:1-2; 23).
- Speak the truth in love. Jesus serves as a model of the ultimate reconciler. When he confronted someone, he didn’t list the person’s sins. He often just talked to people, and by the end of the conversation they recognized their failings on their own (Ephesians 4:14-16; 25-28; John 4:7-26).
- Seek peace, mutual edification, and graciousness. The ultimate goal of resolving disputes is to spiritually build up individuals and the church. In fact, beyond simply ending the harsh words exchanged in arguments, those involved should begin to say things that will build each other up (Romans 14:19; Ephesians 4:29-32).
- Don’t keep a record of wrongs. Just as God blots out the record of our sins, he expects us to completely forgive anyone who is truly repentant. Throughout Scripture, the concepts of forgiveness and love are so intertwined, they’re inseparable (1 Corinthians 13:5; Job 14:16-17; Proverbs 17:9).