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Conflict Resolution

For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them." Matthew 18:20 NLT

For all but a few years of my career, I worked for companies with union representation. Every five years, the union representatives and management would meet to discuss worker requests for the new contract. Traditionally, these were around pay and working conditions, but later they focused more on benefits, such as the cost of health insurance. One location was for a week's vacation, the first week of deer season. Usually, these negotiations were peaceful and successfully concluded between the two parties. Occasionally though, a third-party, a negotiator, would be called in to assist with conflict resolution.

While it's all too painful to admit, the Church also experiences conflict. We've all seen this in recent years; I needn't go into details. While we are united as believers in God, we are also susceptible to human stubbornness and fallibility. Jesus understood this would happen. Matthew 28:15-20 contains Jesus' instructions to us on how to handle disagreements.

Jesus tells us first to try to handle disputes as individuals; however, we may need to bring in others–two or three impartial people–to help us through this process. Then, when all are united for this purpose, seeking the direction of Christ, he will be in their midst and bring about healing.

Jesus, thank you for your words that help guide us through painful and challenging times. We confess, at times, we're stubborn and unyielding, our hearts hardened by our humanity instead of soft and pliable by your Spirit. Forgive us; we pray. If anything keeps us from unity, melt our hearts, come into our midst, and bring your peace and healing. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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