Episode 5: Faith and Conflict Management
Conflict can be good when it brings out feelings and concerns in individuals, groups, and teams leading to a cooperative spirit, but it can be very bad when (a) the source and type of conflict can’t be determined (b) there is no solutions in place to handle it and (c) not knowing where we fit in regards to conflict management quadrants.
Christians should have an understanding in three areas so they can approach conflict with skills talk in scripture.
- Understanding the types and sources of conflict
Conflict is stirred up by a hot-tempered heart
“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel” (Proverbs 15:18).
Conflict is stirred up by a perverse heart
“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28).
Conflict is stirred up by a greedy heart
“The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper (Proverbs 28:25).
Conflict is stirred up by an angry heart
“An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins” (Proverbs 29:2).
- Understand solutions to conflict
Conflict can be solved if others get involved
“But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses’” (Matthew 18:16).
Conflict needs to be resolved before leaving a gift to God
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24)
Conflict needs to be dealt with right away
“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny” (Matthew 5:25-26).
3. Understand where you are in regards to handling conflict and why.
We must understand why we have conflict and how we process it individually.
There is a popular assessment for conflict management, the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument or TKI analysis, shares five areas that individuals gravitate to when involved with conflict. These areas are Competing, Collaborating, Compromising, Avoiding, and Accommodating. In order for us to handle conflict we must understand if we are underusing or over using these five areas. We must do an assessment of our self to see where we sit in these areas and set goals that build a cooperative spirit and balance in them all.
Once we understand how we can stay in balance we also must understand why conflict happens so much especially to use as Christians.
Ephesians 6:12, tells us our battle on earth as Christians “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.
So in conclusion: Conflict will always be with us as Christians, but by assessing ourselves and knowing the source and solution we can overcome it successfully.