In this sermon, lead pastor Andrew Bach discusses a challenging, but important and biblical relational resolve.
As a church, we – Mosaic – landed on 5 relational resolves to help us become the body of Christ as Jesus calls us to be. These Relational Resolves have principally guided how we relate with people, and they have helped tremendously to set our culture as church. However, these are more than just points of discussion for aspiration; we live them, constantly looking to Jesus for strength and wisdom to do so. Every so often, we need to review these, and decide again that this is indeed how we will relate with others. In the first sermon, we discussed honor. Today, we discuss healthy conflict, a biblical calling for us as His people.
This discussion, though perhaps less sweet than others, is important, because there are ways that God intends for us to engage each other in healthy conflict and ways that God does not. If a part of Mosaic’s culture is healthy conflict, then we have a chance at long term relationships. However, unhealthy conflict is a quick way to division and broken relationships.
As a people that love Jesus, we have to make a resolve. We will have healthy conflict.
The Bible speaks about this in detail, because God knows that people have varying perspectives, and therefore have conflict. His intention for us is conflict characterized by grace and patience, in order for relationships to grow and exemplify Him.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:15-16.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:12-13 ESV.
Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him. Luke 17:3-4 ESV.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger. Ephesians 4:26 ESV.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. Proverbs 27:5-6 ESV.
We know the Bible has a lot to say about healthy conflict. Here, Andrew provides principles for us to understand how to practice what we preach.
- The goal of healthy conflict is Authentic Unity.
- Specifically, this means that we don’t just pretend to ignore the differences we encounter. Instead, we work through them, together, to the glory of God.
- The goal is more about being unified than it is about you being right. Body of Christ: we must work together to accomplish the purposes and plans of God. It’s not about you proving your right. Rather, it matters that we stay together.
- The person is not the problem.
- Our battle is never against people. Ultimately, your problem is not with this person.
- Truth must be spoken in love.
- We cannot be afraid of conflict. We have the hard conversations, from a place of desiring unity, and we trust and hope that conflict will always lead to the best possible outcome in the end. Therefore, we don’t shy away from speaking the truth.
- Seek to understand rather than to be understood. To speak in love, recognize how you communicate through tones, facial expressions, and word choice.
- Assumptions matter. Ask questions. Actively listen.
- Understand what heavenly Love is, exemplified by Jesus. Love is not flattery, and love is not making sure people feel good. This is hard, but to make others feel good is the easy way out. Understand that healthy conflict is loving, and discipline the delivery.
- Forgiveness is a matter of the heart, and forgiveness has no limit.
- We are commanded to forgive. This is one of the most powerful aspects of our relationship with Jesus.
Practice Healthy Conflict, for the goodness of God and His people.
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17 ESV.
In healthy conflict, we follow the process found in Matthew 18:
- Approach the person alone
- Approach the person in a small group
- Approach church leadership
All 3 steps are taken with these 2 important truths in mind:
- The church is a unified body
- Forgiveness has no limit
Just as Jesus forgave, we must follow suit and forgive others as well – with love and authenticity.
Check back soon for more Relational Resolve series recaps!