Do you have trouble forgiving others? Forgiving yourself? Do you hold resentments? The fact is that ongoing conflict with others is one of the primary impediments to peace in our lives.
In last week’s blog, I cited Reverend Rick Warren of Saddleback Church. Although I don’t intend to make a long-term habit of it, I’m doing so again here. Rev. Rick has a great formula for forgiveness. Paraphrased below, you can get the full post here.
As per Rev. Rick, when you find yourself in the midst of conflict, here’s a simple five-step, biblical path to peace.
PLAN a peace meeting. (Matthew 5:24)
Take the initiative. Don’t wait for the other person to make the first move. It doesn’t matter if you’re the offended or the offender. It’s always your move. Take the initiative because Jesus said so. Plus, it shows that you’re more mature.
You will never resolve conflict accidentally. You must intentionally deal with it or it will never go away. In Matthew 5:24, Jesus emphasizes that you’re to begin this process “at once” . It’ll get harder the longer you wait.
EMPATHIZE with their feelings. (Philippians 5:24)
Once you begin the peace meeting, start with the other person’s pain. You’re usually thinking of your own hurts when you’re upset. You need to do the opposite. Think more about the other person than yourself. Try to understand the pain behind their angry words. Ask yourself, “How can I help the other person?”
One benefit of conflict is that it usually leads to greater intimacy in the relationship because it helps you better understand the other person as you empathize with their pain.
ATTACK the problem, not the person. (Proverbs 15:1)
You can’t focus on fixing the problem and fixing the blame at the same time. If you go to the peace meeting thinking you’ll blame the other person, then forget it. You can’t make peace like that. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up”.
Engage your mind before you engage your mouth. Then say helpful words, not ones that tear the other person down. As Paul writes in Ephesians 4:29, use “only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed”.
COOPERATE as much as possible. (Romans 12:18)
Be a bridge-builder and not a bridge-destroyer. In Romans 12:18, the Bible reminds us to live at peace with everyone, as much as possible. Your ability to get along should be a hallmark of your Christian life.
That means you must be willing to pay the cost. Peacemaking always has a cost. It will cost your ego and selfishness. You’ll need to give up your desire to always be right. And when you do, you’ll begin to build bridges.
EMPHASIZE reconciliation, not resolution. (2 Corinthians 5:18)
Reconciliation doesn’t mean you’ll resolve all the problems in your relationship. It simply means to reestablish the relationship. Often you have legitimate differences in your relationships and will never fully resolve them. Reconciliation means you bury the hatchet, not the issue. You keep talking about it, but you talk about it harmoniously.
Reconciliation focuses on the relationship, not the problem.
The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:18 that God has modeled reconciliation for us. When you work to reconcile your relationships, you’re doing what God has already done in your relationship with Him. Working toward reconciliation is the most Christlike thing you can do.
You can become a peacemaker in your home, in your organization, and in your community. The Bible tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
You’ll notice that the first letter of the above steps create the acronym PEACE. I love how Rev. Rick always references Scripture. It’s a great reminder that all of life’s lessons can be found in the Bible and are taught by the Church. As indicated last week, you can find Rev. Rick at https://pastors.com.
As always, please feel free to contact me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.
God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!
God made you for GREATNESS!!!