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Conflict Resolution—Attitudes

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These are my personal Bible study notes on conflict resolution—the attitudes behind conflict and peacemaking.

Where does conflict come from? What conflict-causing attitudes?

What attitudes must we develop and promote, to be peacemakers?

Bad Attitudes

Selfishness, Greed, Envy, Striving, Pride, Contempt/Despising/Judging/Condemning, Vengeance

General

Proverbs 6:16-19 Things the Lord hates.
Proverbs 20:3 Stop striving; any fool can start a fight.
Galatians 5:19-26 Works of the flesh versus fruits of the Spirit.
Ephesians 4:31-32 Bad vs good attitudes.
2 Timothy 3:1-9 In the last days, perilous times will come.
James 3:13-18 Bad vs good attitudes.
James 4:1-6 Cause of wars and fights.
1 Peter 2:1 Lay aside all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, evil speaking.

Strife

Proverbs 13:10 Pride leads to strife.
Proverbs 17:19 Sin and quarreling go together.
Proverbs 18:6 Strife started by unwise words.
Proverbs 20:3 It is honorable for a man to stop striving, Since any fool can start a quarrel.
Proverbs 26:17 Meddling in other people's arguments.
Proverbs 22:10 Scoffer.

Anger

Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.
Proverbs 12:16 A fool's wrath is known at once, But a prudent man covers shame
Proverbs 15:18 A wrathful man stirs up strife, But he who is slow to anger allays contention.
Proverbs 30:33 For as the churning of milk produces butter, And wringing the nose produces blood, So the forcing of wrath produces strife.

Hate

Leviticus 19:17 You shall not hate your brother in your heart. Doing so would lead to sin.

Pride

Which of the 10 Commandments is about pride? Pride is idolatry of the self!

Deuteronomy 17:18-20 King had to write law, be diligent to obey it, and ensure his heart wasn't "lifted up above his brethren".
Proverbs 6:17 Pride is one of the things the Lord hates.
Proverbs 13:10 Pride leads to strife.
Proverbs 21:4 Pride leads to sin.
Isaiah 14:12-15 Satan's pride.
Luke 18:9-14 Parable of Pharisee and tax collector. Pride leads to despising others.
Romans 12:16 Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Gossip

Proverbs 16:27-28 An ungodly man digs up evil, And it is on his lips like a burning fire. A perverse man sows strife, And a whisperer separates the best of friends.
Proverbs 17:9 "Cover" an offence, don't spread it.
Proverbs 26:20-21 Gossip kindles the fire of strife.
Titus 3:2 Speak evil of no one.
James 4:11-12 Don't judge, or speak evil, of a brother. Gossip is related to judging.
James 5:9 Don't grumble against one another, lest you be condemned.

Don't Judge/Condemn/Despise

Matthew 7:1-5 Judge not, that you be not judged. Speck and plank.
Romans 14:1-23 and Romans 15:1-14 Bear with others, don't judge or have contempt, even if we consider them to be weak in faith. Romans 14:10 Don't have contempt for a brother.
James 4:11-12 Don't judge a brother.

Vengeance—Don't Return Evil for Evil

Proverbs 20:22 Don't recompense evil; trust in God to sort it out.
Matthew 5:38-48 Don't resist an evil person.
1 Peter 2:23; 3:9 Don't return evil for evil.

Good Attitudes

Peace, Love, Respect, Gentleness, Kindness, Forgiveness, Mercy, Returning Good for Evil, Humility, Willing to Suffer a Loss for Peace, Giving, Service

General

Micah 6:8 Justice, mercy, walk humbly before God.
Matthew 5:1-10 Beatitudes.
Matthew 23:23 Weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, faith.
Romans 14 and Romans 15 talking about contentions over doubtful things, and putting up with one another.
Galatians 5:19-26 Works of the flesh versus fruits of the Spirit.
Ephesians 4:1-6 Walk worthy of the calling... with lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering, bearing with one another in love...
Ephesians 4:30-32 Bad vs good attitudes.
Colossians 3:12-17 Characteristics of Christian maturity.
Titus 3:2-3 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
James 3:13-18 Bad vs good attitudes.
1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

Reconciliation

Value relationship more than justice.

Matthew 5:23-24 Reconciliation is important. Can't come before God with unresolved disputes.
2 Corinthians 5:18-21 Desire ourselves and everyone to be reconciled to God... and to one another.

Love

Love requires humility, because humility enables us to "love your neighbour as yourself".

Leviticus 19:18 Love your neighbour as yourself.
Proverbs 10:12 Hatred makes strife; love makes forgiveness.
Proverbs 17:9 Forgiveness from love.
Matthew 7:12 Golden rule.
Matthew 22:39 Love your neighbour as yourself. Quoting Leviticus 19:18.
John 13:34-35 Love for one another.
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another...
1 Corinthians 13 Love.
Galatians 6:1-2 Carry one another's burdens.
Ephesians 4:2 ...bearing with one another in love...
Ephesians 5:2 Walk in love.
1 Peter 2:17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
1 Peter 4:8-11 (quotes Proverbs 10:12)

Brotherhood and Community

Church is the assembly of believers. We recognise God's work in the lives of others. It would be wrong to despise someone for whom Christ has died.

Gentleness

Proverbs 15:1 A soft word turns away wrath.
Proverbs 25:15 Perseverance and gentleness can turn a person's heart.
Galatians 5:23 Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 6:1-2 Intervene with gentleness.
James 1:19 Swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

Humility

"It's not about me." Stephen Clark

"Humility isn't about thinking less of yourself, but it's about thinking more about other people." Bob Dick

Humility enables us to desire to see others succeed, and not fail.
Humility enables us to see things from another person's point of view.
Humility enables us to see our own sins clearly, and not deceive ourselves. Thus humility is necessary for repentance.

Genesis 32:10 Jacob's humility.
Psalm 25:8-9 Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way. The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way.
Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.
Proverbs 18:12 Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, And before honor is humility.
Matthew 18:1-5 Whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. We observe children often having conflict. Yet they move on and forgive​ and bear no grudge.
Luke 14:7-11 Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Romans 12:10 With honour giving preference to one another.
Romans 12:16 Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
1 Corinthians 1:28-29 Our humble calling as the weak of the world.
1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is not proud.
Ephesians 4:2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
Philippians 2:3 Giving service from humility. Esteem others as better than ourselves.
Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;
James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.
James 4:6,10 (quotes Proverbs 3:34) But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." ... Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
1 Peter 3:8 have compassion for one another.
1 Peter 5:5 (quotes Proverbs 3:34) ... Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."

Service

Mark 10:35-45 Whoever desires to be great among you shall be your servant.
Luke 9:48 Welcome little children. Whoever is least is the greatest.
Luke 22:24-27 Be a servant, not a "benefactor" like the Gentile rulers.
John 13:4-17 Jesus washed disciples' feet.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
Philippians 2:1-4 Christ's humble service.

Forgiveness and Mercy

Opposites of forgiveness: resentment, disdain, bitterness, gossip.

Genesis 50:15-21 Joseph forgave his brothers.
Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.
Proverbs 17:9 Forgiveness from love.
Proverbs 19:11 Overlook wrongs.
Matthew 6:14-15 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 18:21-35 Forgive up to seventy times seven. Parable of unforgiving servant.
Matthew 23:23 Weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, faith.
Mark 11:25 Forgive, otherwise we won't be forgiven ourselves.
Luke 17:3-4 Forgive many times.
Luke 23:34 Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they're doing. Acts 7:60 Stephen likewise.
Romans 5:8 Christ forgave while we were still sinners.
Colossians 3:13 ...even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
2 Chronicles 7:14; 1 John 1:9 God forgives our sins.
James 2:13 We receive mercy as we give it. Mercy is better than justice.
1 Peter 2:19-25 Forgive following Christ's example.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord...is longsuffering toward us, not willing that anyone should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Rejoice in Repentance

Luke 15:1-10 Rejoicing in a sinner who repents.
Luke 15:11-32 Parable of prodigal son.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord...is longsuffering toward us, not willing that anyone should perish but that all should come to repentance.
1 John 2:2 Christ died for our fellow humans. We should respect others for whom Christ died.

Desire Others' Success

This comes from a combination of love and humility.

Matthew 22:39 Love your neighbour as yourself. Quoting Leviticus 19:18.
Romans 12:10 With honour giving preference to one another.
Philippians 2:3 Esteem others better than ourselves.

Longsuffering

The word really signifies "long-tempered", as in the opposite of short-tempered.

Exodus 34:6 God's character includes mercy and longsuffering.
Romans 15:1-11 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification...
Galatians 5:22 One of the fruits of the spirit.
Ephesians 4:2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love...
Colossians 1:11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;

Give Good In Response to Evil

Very challenging. Goes against our desire for justice.

Why is this the right thing to do? Isn't justice a good thing?

Proverbs 25:21-22 Do good to enemies.
Matt 5:40-48; Luke 6:27-36 Love our enemies, give to those who treat us badly.
Romans 12:14-21 Love, care, humility. Overcome evil with good. No vengeance.
1 Corinthians 4:12-13 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.
1 Peter 2:23 Christ's example.
1 Peter 3:9-12 Don't return evil for evil, but rather return good.

Be Willing to Suffer for Peace

1 Corinthians 6:7 Brethren shouldn't be taking brethren to court over disputes (Proverbs 25:8-10; Luke 12:57-59). Why not rather suffer wrong?
1 Peter 2:18-25 It's commendable to have patience when suffering wrongfully.
Genesis 26:12-33 Isaac had strife over wells. Rather than fighting over them, he just dug another well.

Exhortation and Encouragement

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron.
Romans 14:19 Edification.
Colossians 3:16 Teaching and admonishing one another.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Comfort and edify one another.
Hebrews 10:24-25 Don't forsake gathering together. Exhort one another.

Rebuke, Admonish

Leviticus 19:17 You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.
Matthew 18:15 Go to your brother (if it's serious enough that you can't just let it go).
Romans 15:14 Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
2 Thessalonians 3:13-15 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

Practical

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath.
Proverbs 17:14 Stop a fight before it begins.
James 1:19 Swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

Examples of Conflict

Acts 12:25; 13:13; 15:36-40 Dispute between Paul and Barnabas over John Mark. In Colossians 4:10 and 2 Timothy 4:11 We see they eventually reconciled.
Acts 15 Jerusalem conference over contentious issue of circumcision.
1 Corinthians 5 Man who was conspicuously sinning in the Corinthian congregation, who had to be dealt with by the congregation.

Examples of Mediation

1 Samuel 25:2-43 Abigail mediated between David and Nabal.
Luke 9:51-56 Jesus stopped James and John from calling down fire from heaven.
Luke 23:34 Jesus: "Father, forgive them, because they don't know what they are doing."
Acts 7:60 Stephen likewise.
Philemon 1 Paul mediated between Philemon and Onesimus.

Examples of Forgiveness

Genesis 50:15-21 Joseph forgave his brothers.
Luke 23:34 Jesus: "Father, forgive them, because they don't know what they are doing."
Acts 7:60 Stephen likewise.

Challenging Questions

How should we treat someone when we think they are wrong?

What do we think of the idea of tolerance? Is tolerance Biblical? Doesn't tolerance contradict the need for repentance?

How should we treat someone when we think they are wrong, and they are in a position of authority and power? E.g. a parent, a church leader.

How should someone in power (parent, church leader) treat someone when they think the person is wrong? How should their authority be used effectively, or not used?

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