Blessed are the Peacemakers...
You may not always be able to avoid conflict, but you can choose how you respond to it. The scripture says, "so far as possible, live at peace..." The verse recognizes that it may not be possible to live at peace all the time. If you are presently involved in a conflict and desire to seek a biblical resolution, we offer the following suggestions:
Sit down with a fresh sheet of paper or page in a note book. Think about the dispute. Begin by briefly summarizing your dispute, as you perceive it, placing events on the page in chronological order, so far as possible. Be sure to include with specificity what you have done, if anything, to resolve the dispute.
What have you done that probably made the dispute worse?
What have your primary goals been as you have tried to resolve this dispute?
Have you been looking at this dispute as something that happened by chance, as something done to you by someone else, or as something that God allowed in your life for a specific purpose?
How would your feelings, attitude and behavior change if you started seeing this dispute as an assignment from a perfectly loving and all-powerful God?
How can you glorify God--that is--please and honor Him, through this conflict?
How can you serve others through this conflict?
How can you grow to be more like Christ through this conflict?
What have you been relying on for guidance in this situation? Your feelings and personal opinions about what is right, your feelings and personal opinions about who is right (or wrong), your feelings and personal opinions about what is taught in the Bible or the careful study and application of what Scripture says? What will you rely on in the future?
Are you experiencing internal peace? If not, why? Take a moment and analyze the source. Ask God to help you in this.
What are you struggling with most at this time (e.g. your opponent's attacks, controlling your tongue, fear of what is going to happen, a lack of support from others)?
Review Psalm 37 and 73. What are you not to do? What are you to do? What promises do they provide?
How could you use the resources God has provided (Bible, Holy Spirit, Church, Minister, other Christians) to deal with these struggles?
Has the peace and unity of the Christian community been disrupted by your dispute? How?
What effect might this conflict be having on the reputation of Christ?
Do you believe you are free to worship God, or do you need to make another effort to restore unity with the person or persons from whom you are estranged?
Review Ephesians 4:29-32. In light of those verses, are you thinking, speaking or acting in a way that might grieve the Holy Spirit?
Have you applied the "Golden Rule" of Matthew 7:12?
Would you want someone else to treat you the way you are treating the other party? If your positions were reversed, how would you feel if the other party was saying and doing what you have been saying and doing?
Are you involved in or contemplating a lawsuit? If so, review I Corinthians 6:1-8. What have you done to follow the advice in those verses?
If God were to evaluate this conflict after it is over, how would you like him to complete these sentences: "I am pleased that you did not..." and "I am pleased that you..."?
Go on record with the Lord by writing a prayer incorporating your answers to the foregoing questions.
Remember, God's mercies are new every morning; all you have to do is ask!