Difficult Conversations

Yesterday’s message at Restoration City was all about resolving conflict quickly and biblically.  I closed with a challenge to the congregation to take this week and deal with any unresolved conflict we may have with others, especially others in the church.  I’m praying that challenge kicks off a wave of long overdue conversations.

The question is how do you make sure those conversations go well?  Resolving conflict means deliberate walking onto shaky ground.  These 6 tips should increase the odds of a healthy conversation and a biblical outcome.

1.  Meet In Person.  If you legitimately can’t make that happen, set up a phone call or Facetime, if that’s your thing.  Under no circumstances should you try this over email or text!  Difficult conversations need to be had in person, especially when trying to resolve conflict.

2.  Get Right To It.  There are few things worse than 30 minutes of awkward chit chat that’s just delaying the inevitable and annoying everyone involved.  You both know why you’re there, so just dive into it.

3.  Be Specific.  Remember: here’s what you said/did and here’s how it affected me.  This isn’t the time for a general review of the person’s character or your chance to point out every flaw you’ve ever seen in them.  Keep the conversation focused on specific things they’ve done to you and how it impacted your life.

4.  Be Prayerful.  Before you go into the conversation, take time to pray for the other person.  Pray God will soften their heart, speak through you and give them wisdom and grace.  Also, pray for God’s blessing in their life and their overall delight in the gospel.  It’s amazing how prayer deescalates conflict.

5.  Be Humble.  You aren’t perfect and odds are good you’ve sinned against this person as well.  So, don’t go into the conversation demanding your pound of flesh.  Go in seeking reconciliation made possible through the grace of Christ.

6.  Be Willing To Forgive.  Colossians 3:13, “forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”  Don’t go looking for an apology if you aren’t willing to offer genuine forgiveness once you get one.

These aren’t easy conversations.  But the gospel of Christ not only opens the door to conflict resolution but also insists we walk through it.  There’s too much at stake for us to allow unresolved conflict to slow us down and take us away from our mission as followers of Jesus.

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