A Textbook for Relationships…

When you move from reading the Bible for historical accuracy to seeking answers for personal living, you soon realize that the Bible is a relational textbook. Turn the pages through panoramas of Old Testament family life or tour the battlefields of a nation’s struggle with oppression. Share in intimate, inner conflicts poignantly expressed in the Psalms, and seek ultimate truth as Jesus reveals God’s heart through parables and the very way He lived His life. You will never be able to plumb the depths of wisdom revealed in Scripture, but you will learn that conflict is a natural part of living. . . . God has a great deal to say about the necessity of seeking resolution.

“If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” -Matthew 5:23–24

Q: “What Are Some Facts about Conflict?”

  • Conflict can not be avoided.

“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33

  • Conflict is not bad.

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17

  • Conflict requires action toward peace.

“Let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” -Romans 14:19

Q: “What Is the Difference between Resolution and Reconciliation?”

Resolution and reconciliation are different.

  • Resolution means “finding the answer.”
  • Reconciliation means “restoring to harmony.”

Some differences may never be resolved, but you can still be reconciled to those with whom you differ. God requires only that, as far as it is possible, you seek to be at peace with everyone.

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” -Romans 12:18

Key Verse to Memorize

“Let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” -Romans 14:19

Key Passage to Read and Reread

Philemon verses 1–25

Click here for the PDF version of the complete Conflict Resolution Resource Guide provided by Hope for the Heart.

Hiding from Confrontation…

“Adam, Eve, where are you?” The probing voice of God pierces the evening air, confronting the two pounding hearts hiding in the foliage. Just hours before, all was so perfect, so peaceful—but then they ate the forbidden fruit and that changed everything. They knew they had disobeyed God. They chose to defy His authority. Now they flinch in fear as God’s voice comes near.

As they step out of their hiding, how will God confront the couple? Things could have been so different. He created the first man and woman in a perfect place where He would meet all their needs. If only they had listened to Him! Because of their fatal choice, they forfeited what He had planned. Now what will He say to them? What will be His approach?

As the couple cowers, He proceeds with questions: “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:11). As if God doesn’t know! Adam shrugs off personal blame and instead puts blame on Eve,

“The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” God turns and asks Eve, “What is this that you have done?” Do you really think God is unaware? God knows what she has done. He asks her questions to help her confess. Meanwhile, Eve blames the serpent, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12–13).

Q: “If I have a friend who is a Christian but who is continuing to live in sin, am I obligated to confront my friend?”

Realize that you may be God’s agent to help your friend to change and then to grow to be more Christlike. By caring enough to confront, God can use you to encourage and support different loved ones to overcome habits that enslave them or alienate them from others. At times He will call you to directly but lovingly intervene in the lives of fellow believers who have wandered from the truth and have become ensnared by sin.

“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” -James 5:19–20

Q: “If I have confronted someone for wrong behavior and that person continues to rebuff my words, should I continue to bring it up?

If no change occurs after repeated attempts to confront someone who is clearly wrong, don’t continue confronting. The Bible says, “Shake off the dust from your feet.”

“If anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.” -Matthew 10:14

Key Verses to Memorize

“If anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” -Galatians 6:1–2

Key Passage to Read and Reread

Matthew 18:15–17

Click here for the PDF version of the complete Confrontation Resource Guide provided by Hope for the Heart.