Recognize that human conflict, in or out of the
church, usually stems from tensions created when the
interests of one person or group are positioned against
the interests of another (see Phil. 4:2-3; Acts
2. Remember and communicate that
the personal rights of a Christian often must be
subordinated, in the interests of a positive
Christian witness and the good of other persons (see
Matt. 5:38-42; 26:52; Rom. 12:11-21; 1 Cor. 13:4-7;
Phil. 2:3-4). Related to this point is another
principle: There is a difference between standing for
personal rights and in standing for what is right (see 1
Cor. 8:13; 10:23-24, 31; Phil. 3:4-7).
3. Be sensitive to what is the right attitude
and action in conflict situations and to its dependence
on Christian maturity as expressed in:
Putting the interests of others above personal
Openness and eagerness to follow
the Holy Spirit's leadership (see John 14:26; 16:12-13;
1 Cor. 2:6-13; Phil 2:3-4; 1 John 2:26-27).
4. Go to the New Testament for at least four
models on how to deal with fellowship problems
in the church:
If you have offended a brother,
Matthew 5:23-26 indicates the following:
worship is hindered by a broken relationship.
what you are doing and be reconciled with your brother.
After reconciliation, you and your offering then are
more acceptable to God.
Reconciliation is to be
sought quickly and privately.
brother has offended you, Matthew 18:15-22
You are to go personally and try to be
reconciled with your brother. Regardless of who the
offender is, each believer is responsible for seeking
If you are not heard or are
rebuffed, you are to take others with you as a witness
to your desire for reconciliation.
If the group is
not heard or is rebuffed, you are to ask for church
If the offending brother continues to
refuse reconciliation, you have fulfilled your Christian
But the reconciliation process is to be
pursued in patience and forgiveness and over a period of
time dictated by love, not the stated limits of church
policy or law.
If two unreconciled brothers
go to court to settle their dispute, 1
Corinthians 6:1-13 indicates the following:
such an action is a negative reflection upon the rest of
To pursue legal action is to turn over
to public courts problems the church should resolve.
Both parties should rather be wronged or defrauded than
to subject themselves and the church to this negative
witness to the world.
To take such action is to deny
the spiritual life that each party has in Christ.
If two sisters have a disagreement, Philippians
4:2-23 points out these principles:
Reconciliation is vitally important to them and the
The church is not to be passive, but active,
in seeking reconciliation.
The blessings of past
happy relationships are not to be forgotten.
5. Will these principles work in the
contemporary church? They will, if:
is a genuine, Spirit-induced, personal and
congregational burden for reconciliation.
are taken in genuine Christian love.
Ego, pride, and
personal rights are subordinated to the good of the
other party and the body as a whole.
There is a
broad base of personal and congregational openness to
the transforming leadership of the Holy Spirit. The
church genuinely wants to be the body of Christ, instead
of merely a religious organization.
from Earl Waldrup, "How to Reclaim an Offending
Brother," Great Commission Breakthrough: "How to" Ideas
for Great Commission Churches)