“God blesses those who are peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9 (NLT)
Conflict resolution is one of the most important life skills, yet it is never taught in the home or at school. But Jesus teaches us that unresolved conflict blocks our fellowship with God, our prayers from being answered and our happiness. The steps to reconciling a relationship are: 1) Make the first move; 2) Ask God for wisdom; 3) Begin with what is my fault; 4) Listen for their hurt and perspective; 5) Speak the truth tactfully; 6) Fix the problem, not the blame; 7) Focus on reconciliation, not resolution. As you work through these steps you’ll be eliminating self-centeredness, pride and fear. The question is: Who do you need to be reconciled with today? Talk it over, then go and do it!
Open your group with a prayer. This is only a guide – select the points you want to discuss.
“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” Matthew 5:23 – 24 (NLT)
1. Describe a past relationship that conflict destroyed. How has the pain from this broken relationship influenced your life? Does this make you more or less likely to make the first move toward reconciliation in the future? Why do you think God says it is more important to be reconciled than to worship?
2. The biggest barrier to dealing with conflict is the fear of being exposed or vulnerable. Fear can make you defensive (afraid to reveal your true self), distant (hide your true feelings) or demanding (try to control or have the last word). Have group member share at least one helpful step to overcome these fears to aid in conflict resolution. What current relationship(s) could benefit from overcoming these fears?
“God has restored our relationship with him through Christ, and has given us the ministry of restoring relationships. God was in Christ restoring his relationship with humanity. He didn’t hold people’s faults against them, and he has given us this message of restored relationships to tell others. We are Christ’s representatives…We beg you on behalf of Christ to become reunited with God.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (GW)
3. Conflict happens. When it does do you want to be right, or do you want to stay in the relationship? What do you find the most difficult about this question? When your pride rises up, how do you keep it from causing conflict?
4. It’s always more rewarding to resolve the conflict than to dissolve the relationship. Remembering that you don’t have to agree about everything, what is most challenging about agreeing to disagree without being disagreeable?