Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Conflict Resolution By Confronting Sin: Continued

We’ve been talking about how to encourage each other through loving and humble correction. This week we’ll talk about confronting someone with what you see as sin. Next week we’ll talk about confessing your own sin.

Remember that before you confront someone
• you need to find a time when you can be face to face
• You’ve prayed deeply and humbly
• You know without a doubt that God is calling you to speak to this person
• You are ready to come along side this person and help in the work the Holy Spirit is doing in their life
• You have defined the problem using scripture
• You have examined your own heart, your motives, your attitude and the possibility of sin on your part

Ultimately God’s grace will determine the effectiveness of any confrontation. Still, there are ways that you can help this part be effective:
1. Speak privately with this person, as Jesus instructed

2. Plan ahead so there will be few distractions

3. Affirm your genuine love and warm affection for this person before you say anything more. You are there to speak the truth in love

4. Share your perceptions as honestly and clearly as possible. Use biblical language, but don’t be like a prosecutor

5. Keep a spirit of discovery. You don’t know the whole story. Ask them to help you see this from their point of view, then really be teachable

6. Offer Biblical counsel and solutions, including going to a pastor or other trusted helper

7. Give enough time to the process, don’t demand an immediate response

8. Pray with and for the person

9. After a certain amount of time, as the Lord leads, follow up with your love and affection, your concern and your assurance of help

If the person chose not to receive your correction, don’t give up. Jesus told us how to handle that in Matthew 18

If someone confronts you with a sin or an offense, you can help in several ways
1) listen humbly and prayerfully

2) Confess and ask forgiveness wherever possible

3) If you need some time to process and pray over what the person told you, ask for it. – Note: if you have to do this every time you are corrected, you might need to carefully examine your heart for pride and unteachableness

4) Thank and affirm the person for coming to you, and for having the courage to confront you

They served you in the spirit of Galatians 6:1-5, by pointing out a sin, or seeking to reconcile their relationship with you.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Conflict Resolution By Confronting Sin

Last week you and I looked at how resolving conflict is one way to bring godly correction. The second way you and I can correct each other in godliness is through confronting sin.

Whether you were sinned against, or you become aware of a fellow believer caught up in a pattern of sin, confrontation might be the right next step.

To “confront” just means “to bring face to face.” I’m not talking about those scary scenes where one person clearly has the floor and is making a speech full of criticism and judgement and the other person is trying not cry or be completely humiliated. I’m talking about getting face to face with someone because you love them deeply, from the heart, and you want to help them see a particular sin in their life, or to work through a conflict, or offense, to bring about forgiveness and reconciliation.

Scripture lays out several principles to follow when confronting someone about sin.
Proverbs 19:11A person’s wisdom gives them patience; it is their glory to overlook an offense.” If you are able to genuinely forgive someone, completely resolving the offense in your heart and mind, then no confrontation is necessary

However you must confront someone if
• you are unable to get the incident out of your mind
• you are unable to have a normal relationship with the person who has offended you or sinned against you
• you believe someone has something against you but is not coming to you

1) First, when a friend has sinned and you believe you need to speak to them ask yourself
• Is this sin a pattern
• Is it serious enough to need immediate attention?
• Am I the one to confront in this case?

When you are called to confront someone you are really being called to come alongside the work the Holy Spirit is already doing in that person’s life, not be the Holy Spirit.

2) Second, define the problem.
• What are you confronting this person about?
• What did this person do or say?
• Was sin involved, or was it a mistake, or a misunderstanding?
• What is the impact?
• How does this person need to change?

2 Timothy 3:16-17 Make sure you define things Biblically, since it is only Scripture, and not our own thoughts and feelings, that is "God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man or woman of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

3) Third, make sure the log is out of your own eye, Matthew 7:1-5 in connection with Galatians 6:1. Confront in humility and fear of the Lord. If you are confronting someone who has sinned against you, you will often discover that your own sin has contributed to the situation.

Examine your heart. Is it possible that you might have become offended without there ever having been an offense? Maybe someone just did something that exposed your own selfishness, or pride. Sometimes being overly sensitive is really about that.

4) Prepare your heart
• Make sure your motives are right, to glorify God, turn your brother or sister away from sin, and be reconciled. In other words, not to win your case, or straighten them out, put them in their place, or relieve your own irritation.
• Make sure your attitude is right – gentleness, patience, humility and genuine concern for the well-being of the other person.
• Pray for effectiveness in communicating your concerns, that the other person’s heart would be prepared to receive, for your own teachableness, for God’s grace for repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Conflict Resolution in Marriage

One thing all marriages share in common, even the very best ones, is conflict.

One of the vital ways you and I minister to each other, helping each other to mature in Christ, and to spur each other on, is through this main skill in the art of correction: conflict resolution.

Conflict is inevitable because we disagree with each other from time to time, because and because we’re sinners. But the Bible teaches that we’re to see conflict as an opportunity to demonstrate God’s presence and His power, and opportunity to glorify God and to grow to be like the Lord Jesus.

A. Often the way to deal with conflict is to avoid it with the idea that it is better, as one author put it, to build guard rails at the top of the cliff than an ambulance service at the bottom.” I don’t mean in unhealthy ways, like
1. Making certain subjects taboo
2. Hoping a problem will disappear if you ignore it
3. Just avoiding that person altogether
4. Being extra nice so that person will be nice too
5. If they say something, pretending that no offence was taken, that it was no problem, no big deal
6. Getting a whole bunch of people on your side first, so that person wouldn’t dare to attack you
7. Acting like it never happened

Healthy Ways
1. Keep communication open and honest
2. Invite others to be open and honest too by the way you respond to what they say
3. Have realistic expectations based on the other person’s spiritual and emotional maturity, circumstances and limitations
4. Be clear about your hopes and expectations
5. Deal with the little things before they turn into big things

B. Work through the conflict with a three-fold goal in mind to (1) solve the problem (2) grow closer during the process (3) become more godly through the process
1. Evaluate the conflict: is there sin involved, is it just a misunderstanding or disagreement, or a personal preference? Be quick to listen and slow to speak so you can get a grasp of what actually happened and how it made everyone feel
2. Stay on the subject. Deal with one thing at a time.
3. Don’t try to assign motives
4. Don’t bring up the past
5. This is not a time to vent, accuse, complain, or indulge self-pity

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How To Be Miserable

How you interpret what happens in your life, is going to have a profound affect on what you what you think and how you feel about God, and your life.

In my daily devotions, I came across this remarkable list that reveals a certain mindset.

Title: Several Ways to Make Yourself Miserable

* Count your troubles, name them one by one -- at the breakfast table, if anybody will listen, or as soon as possible thereafter.

* Worry every day about something. Don't let yourself get out of practice. It won't add a cubit to your stature but it might burn a few calories.

* Pity yourself. If you do enough of this, nobody else will have to do it for you.

* Devise clever but decent ways to serve God and mammon. After all, a man's gotta live.

* Make it your business to find out what the Joneses are buying this year and where they're going. Try to do them at least one better even if you have to take out another loan to do it.

* Stay away from absolutes. It's what's right for you that matters. Be your own person and don't allow yourself to get hung up on what others expect of you.

* Make sure you get your rights. Never mind other people's. You have your life to live, they have theirs.

* Don't fall into any compassion traps -- the sort of situation where people can walk all over you. If you get too involved in other people's troubles, you may neglect your own.

* Don't let Bible reading and prayer get in the way of what's really relevant -- things like TV and newspapers. Invisible things are eternal. You want to stick with the visible ones -- they're where it's at now.

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