16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
As soon as we talk about resolving conflict, people ask, But, aren’t there some acceptable reasons for unresolved conflict?
Yes, there are three.
To which they say, Good. I was hoping for some loopholes. Bring them on!
There are three acceptable reasons for unresolved conflict, but you won’t find them very satisfying if you are nourishing hatred in your heart. And they share one characteristic; all are temporary. As Paul wrote, “So far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
Here’s the first reason for delayed resolution: I need some time. I’m not talking about months or years, but hours and days; or in an extreme situation, you can wait a couple of weeks. This is for when you’re saying, I need to take a breath. I need some time to get ready or I’m going to say something wrong.
Here’s the second reason for delayed resolution: I’ve tried and I’m going to try again. Maybe they rebuffed you. You built your half of the bridge, but they wouldn’t meet you. So you take time while you ask God to change that person’s heart. And He can. In any case, you have already forgiven them. And you can go back to them again.
There’s a third reason for delayed resolution: Some conflict is simply not personal. When a judge gives a verdict that sends a man to prison for six months, the convict may hate the judge’s guts, but the judge doesn’t have any problem with the person; he’s just doing his job.
Someone may have a wrong heart attitude toward you. This can occur when, as a parent, you have to say difficult things to your children. Be loving, be gracious, pray for God to change their heart and help them see you were just doing what every loving parent does. But if the way you did it, or when you did it, or how you did it was wrong, then you need to be willing to acknowledge your responsibility and even ask your child to forgive you. That’s wisdom and modeling humility.
In all these cases, the ultimate goal is resolution; living peaceably with all.
Father, help me to see where my relationships can be improved in Your name. Teach me to be ready to forgive when conflicts arise. I may not be able to control the responses of others, but in as much as it is up to me, make me into someone always eager to make authentic peace with others in my life, knowing You are the author of peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.