Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses. – Proverbs 10:12 NLT
Recently, I was involved in an incident that caused another person to become offended and angry with me about the circumstances and how I handled things. After much prayer, I sought to follow a biblical strategy, based on Matthew 18:15-19, to resolve this conflict behind closed doors. In the months since, this person appears to still be extremely offended. They’ve been unwilling to communicate and seem to look for opportunities to attack the things and people I’m involved with. Even though I feel like I handled this situation in a biblical way, it has not resulted in reconciliation.
As a Christian, it’s difficult to know how to deal with situations of this nature. In this instance, I knew I really needed to work through the offense by meeting with the person and discussing things. However, before I handled it directly, I also knew I needed to check my own heart to make sure I had genuinely forgiven this person.
Mathew 18 has really helped me through the years as I’ve learned to resolve conflict. Maybe it can help you, too. According to this passage, here are four biblical steps to take when someone hurts you:
1. Determine to meet with the person who hurt you alone. Go to the individual that offended you and ask to meet with them privately. Do not broadcast your intentions to anyone other than God. (Matthew 18:15)
2. If the problem remains unresolved, take someone with you as a witness, and try to speak with the person a second time. A third person can usually serve as an objective party. (Matthew 18:16)
3. Remember the goal. The ultimate goal is not for you to win or seek justice, but to reconcile the relationship peacefully. Peace and unity are so important to Jesus that He teaches us to seek reconciliation with someone as a spiritual priority. (Matthew 18:15-16)
4. Finally, if the matter is still unresolved, continue to take the situation to Jesus and leave it with Him. When someone becomes so unapproachable that their hostility completely defeats the reconciliation process, we are to turn the person and the issue over to God in prayer. Not every circumstance will end in reconciliation, but you can take every circumstance and lay it at the feet of Jesus. (Matthew 18:17-19)
1. Read Matthew 18:15-19. What does this passage teach us about reconciliation?
2. Have you ever faced a conflict that ended in reconciliation? Share your experience with your community.