Thursday, November 3, 2011

Conflict Resolution and Friends 11/2/2011

Tonight we had some really good discussion about how we deal with conflict among friends.  Maybe even among enemies.  Well to start someone asked what to do when one friend is complaining to you about how another friend treated them.  What do you do?  Where is the line between gossip and just being a good friend who will listen when a friend is in need?  What does the Bible have to say about all this?  To find our answer we look to Matthew 18.  I know the scripture is intended for conflict among believers, but it's amazing how well biblical principles work even with our unsaved friends.  Try it some time.

Gossip vs Listening:
So my friend has a problem with someone else and they want to vent at me, now what?  Our first question to that friend should be, "have you talked to the person you have a problem with privately about this?"  If the answer is "no" then it's none of our business.  All we are doing is entertaining gossip if we continue to listen.   Matthew 18:15 tells us to go privately and point out the offense.  If they don't listen then you can take two or three witnesses according to verse 16.  The problem is that our culture would rather talk about people than to people.  If we would just follow this one step first we would probably resolve a lot more conflict, and live in peace a lot more.

When I Have an Issue:

What about if I have an issue with someone who won't listen or work with me in a group setting? The same rules apply. Go to the person privately and try to work it out. If that doesn't work then you bring along someone else (maybe someone in authority or who would have an objective view of the situation). If the situation still goes unresolved sometimes you just have to let it go. We could all use a lesson in the art of not being easily offended.

They Get Away With Everything:

What about when you're following the rules and someone else continually breaks them? Even worse, they never get caught. Guess what, the same rules apply. Confront privately if it offends you. Then bring a witness or two. If they still won't listen follow the advice of a really good friend of mine. He would tell you to go to Walmart, get yourself a ladder and GET OVER IT! Sometimes people are going to do the wrong thing. We are only responsible for what we do. We need to make sure we do the right thing. If we let bitterness take hold of our heart and we hold a grudge it's only going to hurt us. They won't have a clue that we are upset. Let it go.

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