As a writer, it is not uncommon for misunderstandings to happen and there have been numerous occasions when something that I wrote, whether in print or through other various media formats, when a misunderstanding occurred. Maybe it was something I said that was taken out of context or something they truly did not understand. For pastors and other individuals of God, this is also commonplace so the question remains, especially among Christians, how do we resolve the misunderstandings before they become conflicts? Or, if they’ve become conflicts, how do we fix them?
Within the world we live, there are many ways to solve such misunderstandings or conflicts but few of them involve God. In fact, most of them have a way of completely shutting Christ out completely. The more ways of this world that I observe and witness, the more obvious are the words within Isaiah 55:8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” Whether we are Christian or not, we should always want to resolve misunderstandings before they become something more but if they have turned into something more, we should want to resolve them if for nothing else to have peace within our lives.
To resolve these issues and have peace within our lives, we must turn to God and conduct our steps according to His ways. We know of His ways from His holy word. Proverbs 16:7 reads “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” When Christians have a problem or misunderstanding with someone, we are instructed to personally confront the individual(s) to make things right. This does not mean that we have to do so in an intimidating but we do have to clear the air and do our best to make things right.
Many people do not like confronting others as it can be difficult and this is true whether you are within the word or not. Sometimes, people will keep up a lie to avoid confronting others to make things right. A confrontation can be very unpleasant especially with someone who is known to be emotional or unreasonable. As Christians, we never want to hurt someone or put someone in an awkward situation but sometimes, we have to do what’s uncomfortable in order to make things right. Scripture reads “Brethern, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).
While it may sound simple enough, the common bond in life, as Christians, should be our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Of course, this common bond does not mean that when personal feelings and emotions are involved, this bond will prevail. Sometimes, maybe many times, a personal discussion will not resolve the issue as it should. When this is the case, what do we do Many people, with or without Christ, will make personal threats or cut off the individual(s) completely and while this may be the best solution, we are not ye encouraged to break off the resolution. Rather, the next step is to bring in a few believers to help with the conflict to hear the story and help with a potential resolution.
Scripture reads “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established” (Deuteronomy 19:15) as well as “This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1). While this may not be a trial with a jury who needs witnesses to convict or not, it’s important to get another perspective as people involved within a conflict are sometimes bias and/or prejudice and unable to see things from another perspective so having two or more witnesses is a valid way to help determine what is right.
If this does not work, we are instructed to take the matter in front of the church congregation. Personally, I have never been in a situation that escalated to the point where the issue had to go in front of the congregation as most issues that have come up were resolve either between those involved or we brought in another party to help. However, for those problems where two or more believers are unable to resolve the conflict, it is to be taken to the congregation. It’s clear from scripture that we are to do the best that we can to make things right and if the problem is to the point where we go in front of the church, the problem most likely deserves serious attention. With that said, most God fearing people who are seeking a Godly resolution will be able to have the problem solved here without any extra steps but, of course, there are times when the situation calls for drastic action.
Of course, cutting someone off completely is not a proper action for a simple misunderstanding or difference in opinion about an issue. A difference of opinion is something that happens between everyone regardless if you are in the body of Christ or not. If we are in the body of Christ, we still have opinions and emotions and sometimes, they will not line up with other believers but for all problems, we do have God’s word to help us through and we are instructed to confront the believer so we can solve the problem without growing bitter and resent the other individual(s) involved. In order to maintain peace in the body of Christ, we must strive to resolve all unpleasantness as it will keep us from receiving God’s word and worshipping.
Matthew 18:15 reads “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” When we do so, we do more than just confront someone but we are preventing Satan from gaining advantage over the situation including our minds. 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 reads “To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.“ By making the attempt at a resolution, we are holding others accountable and possibly, restoring a fallen believer.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.”