READ Matthew 5:23-24
One thing is certain: as a leader, you’ll face relational conflicts. No leadership model exists that will allow you to avoid them. The question isn’t “Will I face conflicts?” but “How can I best manage conflicts when they arise?”
When Jesus addressed problems, he tackled them head-on. While delivering the Sermon on the Mount (and later in Matthew 18) he dealt with the issue of conflicts brought about either by others offending us or by our offending them. While the Lord was addressing the problem of sin, there are broader principles at work in his teaching. And no matter which side has caused the problem, the solution is the same: First, go to the person with whom you are experiencing a conflict and address the issues face-to-face. Avoid involving a third or fourth person, especially if their knowledge of the situation will worsen the problem for the offending individual. Such discussions tend to intensify the conflict and further undermine the relationship.
Second, go to the person quickly. Jesus counseled that, if someone is worshiping God and remembers that he or she has offended a friend, the appropriate response is to stop right there and go immediately to the offended individual. With those words Jesus made it clear that relational harmony is so important that it must be achieved before effective worship can take place (Matthew 5:24). After all, how can a man or woman connect with God when he or she has unresolved relational issues with a brother or sister?
Effective leaders don’t ignore conflict. They manage it by creating an environment in which people are enabled to work through relational friction on a one-on-one basis. Only after such efforts have failed are others allowed to enter the conflict, and then only for the purpose of bringing about reconciliation. Conflicts can’t be avoided. But they can be managed. And a wise leader will devote himself or herself to learning how to do that.
Conflict Management and Who God Is
Although the players may be invisible, we live in the context of a titanic spiritual war in which the opposing forces of light and darkness contend for the souls of men and women. Scripture assures us that, although this invisible war is real, it is also temporary; God himself will bring history to a point at which this cosmic conflict will be finally resolved. Read Revelation 19:11-21 for a vivid symbolic description of the final intervention of the King of kings and Lord of lords in the affairs of human history.
Conflict Management and Who I Am
Fight or flight, aggression or avoidance–neither of these strategies provides an effective long-term technique for managing conflict. Because we have different temperaments, some of us are less confrontational than others. Still, a good leader must develop the skill of confronting others when necessary. In 2 Samuel 14:1-15:37, you’ll read about how David mismanaged his conflict with his son Absalom.
Conflict Management and How It Works
While the word conflict usually carries a negative connotation, conflict itself doesn’t have to be negative. That’s why we’ve titled this week’s study “Conflict Management” rather than “Conflict Resolution”–conflict is not something that simply needs to be “resolved,” as though getting through it and moving on are the highest goals. Conflict produces energy, and energy can be channeled in positive directions. How can a leader make this happen? Read Ephesians 4:1-3 to discover the keys to managing conflict with the goal of a positive outcome.
Conflict Management and What I Do
Conflict is a fact of life in this world, so it’s crucial that a person in a leadership position learn how to manage it with an eye toward positive closure. Jesus provides us with some guidance and Martin Luther King Jr. offers some practical direction with regard to how we can do this. Read Matthew 5:43-45.
Passage to memorize this week:
Matthew 5:43-45: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”
– Bible Gateway.Com