At Riverside, we know that conflict is a “when” not “if” it will arise. We start with the assumption that we are all broken. We are not perfect, and eventually as we walk out relationship, I will do something that hurts you. Hopefully, this is not intentional, but nonetheless we are committed to pressing into the conflict and not running from it.
COMMIT TO RESOLVING CONFLICT: The two things that bond a group more than anything else are conflict and crisis. Nobody wants either, but this is real life. Try to view conflict within the group as an opportunity to grow closer, to learn more about each other, and to extend grace. “Travel light.” Commit to working through the conflict, rather than sweeping it under the rug or holding on to a grudge. Pretending everything is okay, putting up walls, or venting with someone else breaks down relationships and is not loving.
The following are a few key scriptures about handling conflict biblically:
-If someone sins against you: Matthew 18:15-20
-Restoring someone in sin: Galatians 6:1-5
-Forgive a sinner: Colossians 3:12-13
-Reconciling differences: Matthew 5:23-24 & Matthew 7:1-5
The above guideline is straight from our Group Guidelines that every group uses. There are more, but this is the guideline about how we will resolve conflict when it arises. As we get into relationship, as Christ calls us to, we need to be equipped to walk through conflict with one another. This guideline and the scriptures following are our starting place.
Life was not meant to go it alone. I strongly urge you to find community if you are isolated. The joy and freedom that is found far outweighs the conflict and awkwardness of building new relationships.
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE
I could spend time writing about Jesus’ model for biblical reconciliation, but I always think a real-life example is better. The following video is about two guys who ran into some conflict and hurt after being in group together. It was not intentional, but it hurt nonetheless. After one of them reached out to a friend, they decided to get together and walk this out biblically. It is a beautiful example of how we are called to fight FOR relationship and not IN relationship. If we are fighting flesh and flesh, we are fighting the wrong battle. We are here to fight flesh and spirit.
I am so thankful for these guys’ willingness to share how this went for them publicly for all of us so that we might have the courage to do the same. Before I hand it over to them, think about your own life. Who do you have unresolved conflict with? Is there anyone you have been withholding forgiveness? Why is this? Spend some time after this and ask God to reveal areas where you may have unforgiveness and ask for courage to have those conversations. It isn’t easy at all, but I promise it is worth it.
WATCH THE VIDEO
To view this video, please copy the following url into your browser:
PATTERSON - GRENNY - MCMILLAN - SWITZLER
Crucial Conversations exploded onto the scene ten years ago and revolutionized the way people communicate when stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong. Since then, millions of people have learned how to hold effective crucial conversations and have dramatically improved their lives and careers thanks to the methods outlined in this book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steven Olesen became a follower of Jesus during his own wedding ceremony in May 2008. He is now a single dad who has the privilege of co-raising a beautiful 11 year old daughter, Juliette, who keeps him on his toes with theatre and other creative arts.
Steven has been in commercial and residential sales for 28 years. He is in a Celebrate Recovery group and has the privilege of hosting a Riverside Life Group. His passion is to witness people being changed by Jesus and then joining the mission of Jesus and His family.
His favorite scripture is Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.