walk in the word
The foundation has been laid, the blueprints are being consulted, and the house has been fumigated. What comes next as you continue your family remodeling project?
Here’s the fourth key to family remodeling: MEDIATE. We must resolve conflict quickly. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably had some strife in your family this very week. Be honest. Maybe it was a little tiff about time, or space, or priorities, or values, or spending. Perhaps it was one of those he-said-she-said things. Whatever, we must work quickly towards complete reconciliation.
This isn’t always easy, but Romans 12 gives us some specific steps that we can take in order to become better mediators. In verse 16 Paul writes, “Be of the same mind toward one another.” What this really means is that we need to be aggressive. This is the first step toward conflict resolution. If you are not on good terms with somebody, you need to go and work it out immediately.
Second, we must be humble. Paul continues in verse 16, “Do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.” That’s a great way to bring a conflict to a quick end! How can you have an argument if you don’t think highly of your own standing? Never be too proud to listen to the other person.
Third, we need to be positive. Romans 12:17 says, “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.” As you interact with people, focus on the things about them that are strong; don’t focus on their weaknesses. If you want to settle conflicts, accept others and be positive. That’s what the body of Christ is all about.
Fourth, if we want to improve at resolving conflict, we need to be peaceable. Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Being a peacemaker is a great thing! Let’s suppose that you and a friend are having a big fight about something. In your heart you know that you should probably work it out, but you just don’t want to do anything to help the situation. What do you really need? You just need your friend to come and give you a hug.
Fifth, we must be forgiving. Verse 19 says, “Never take your own revenge, beloved.” Forgiveness is moving from “You owe me” to “You owe me nothing.” Forgiveness is the choice to release a person from the obligation that resulted when they hurt you. How desperately we need that in conflict resolution! There are no enduring relationships without forgiveness.
Sixth, we need to be aggravating. That’s what Romans 12:20 is teaching: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” In other words, kill ’em with kindness! And that’s not wrong. That’s the loving, peaceful way. That’s God’s way. Give Him an opportunity to work through your merciful kindness.
Seventh, if we’re going to improve our conflict resolution, we must be strong. We need to endure. Verse 21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
If we would just take these seven principles to heart, how much conflict do you suppose would get resolved? It would be unbelievable! And so I urge you: mediate. Work hard at solving problems and settling conflicts.
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