Tag Archives: resolving conflict

Settle Your Disagreement

Have you ever disagreed with someone? I know that’s a silly question because if there’s air in your lungs, you’ve had a serious disagreement with someone. I’ve had some painful disagreements before with people I love and respect. I felt like they were making decisions that were detrimental to the lives of several people so I spoke up. When I did, they doubled down on their course of action. The wedge between us grew and became an issue. It was an ugly and painful time for both of us. In the end, we met privately and determined it was best to find a way to put the disagreement behind us in order to keep the relationship in tact. To this day, we still have differing opinions about how things should have been done, but it’s a non factor in our relationship. The Biblical thing to do was to put the matter in the past and we did.

The Bible is full of people who had disagreements. Miriam and Aaron had a disagreement with Moses about his wife and that God was speaking through him. Joseph’s brothers disagreed that they would bow down before them. Jacob and Esau had a disagreement over the theft of the birthright. Job and his friends disagreed on why he was suffering. Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement over John Mark going on the second missionary trip. Paul and Peter also had it out over Peter not eating with Gentiles. I’m sure there are more, but you get the picture. In each of these cases there was something that happened that allowed them to put the disagreement behind them even if they didn’t go forward together. They didn’t let the disagreement create a root of bitterness in their lives.

In the Philippian church, two women had a serious enough disagreement that word made it back to Paul. So he wrote directly to them in Philippians 4:2, “Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement” (NLT). If Paul wanted them to settle their disagreement, God wants us to as well. When our disagreements become a distraction to the Gospel, our witness or the love of Christ, we must resolve them. He didn’t tell them they had to reconcile, but they did have to settle it. The same goes for us, especially between believers. We are called to be one body that works in harmony. Disagreements that impair our ability to further the Kingdom must be resolved. Don’t wait for the other person to try to settle it. You reach out, find a way to put it behind you and move forward because you belong to the Lord.

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

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Putting Out The Fire Of Anger

One of my favorite activities is camping, and one of the first things you have to know when camping is how to build a fire. Equally important is how to put out a fire. There are two ways to do that: quit putting logs on it or add water. By not putting logs on it, you let the fire burn to a slow death. Ive learned that even though there’s not a fire present, there are still embers below the ashes that can easily be ignited into a fire. To prove it, I like to go out in the morning, grab some small wood pieces, and start a fire with no matches. The “don’t feed the fire any logs” method isn’t the best way to put it out.

The best way is to apply water. Even though you add water and the flames die down, the same thing happens here as when you withhold logs. There are still embers beneath the surface that can be ignited. You must pour some water, stir the ashes, and pour more water until the fire is out. Putting out fires is a skill that we should learn. If you don’t do it right, you run the risk of starting a new fire and creating a lot of damage. Many of the most damaging forest fires were started by a small ember campers thought were put out.

The same way you put out a fire is the same way you help get rid of anger. You can choose to hide from the person who’s angry or you can calm the anger with words. Avoiding a person who is angry simply lets their anger boil under the surface. It can easily be reignited with the smallest things. All may look well on the surface, but underneath the ashes of the aftermath are embers waiting to be given fuel to grow. Yes, you may need to step away from the situation to allow both sides to cool down, but I don’t recommend this method for resolving situations.

Proverbs 15:1 gives us the real answer. It says, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare” (NLT). Your response to someone’s anger determines whether the situation escalates or is put out. Arguing back is like putting another log on the fire. Offering a gentle response is like adding water to a fire. You’ll have to keep your composure and continue offering soft answers until it is resolved. One answer won’t repair the situation immediately. It requires continued patience, understanding, and gentleness to help calm the anger in others. If you leave it unresolved, you may create a fire that gets out of control and causes irreparable damage. 


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