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Understanding & Dealing With Conflict

Since Adams willful disobedience, man has experienced all types of conflict, from within ourselves and from the people around us. Conflict is a disagreement or clash between ideas, principles, or people which takes place when two or more values, perspectives or opinions are contradictory in nature and have not been aligned or agreed about. It often occurs when perceptions are used as absolutes and uncertainties are interpreted as truths.

The Objective of this study is to answer the following questions.

  • When does conflict occur?
  • What is conflict in motion?
  • Are all conflicts detrimental?
  • How should we deal with different types of conflict?
  • What rules of conduct must we follow?
  • What are the best ways to avoid conflict?
  • What is the best way to manage conflict?
  • How do we defer anger during conflict?

The following situations are when conflicts occur.

  • Within ourselves when we have not met goals or haven't been living according to our own set values or standards.
  • Within a group setting among individuals or a partnership when values, character, and ideals are questioned, challenged, threatened, or even rejected.
  • When the unknown exists in our lives creating doubt, confusion, and chaos resulting from a lack of direction and uncertainty.

Conflict is inevitable in this life because of who we are and the people we live among, however depending on the type of conflict and the maturity and wisdom surrounding it, we may find it leads to a very successful business, relationship, or assembly.

Conflict in motion is a dynamic we see when trying to achieve a goal. To create and establish any initiative there are several developmental stages that have to occur before we can operate with any consistency.

  1. The creation of the idea, we conceive it in our minds, then we gather the resources to create and bring it to fruition.
  2. We then have chaos within that creation, perhaps because of different personalities within the partnership or minimal resources, several things may bring about conflict as we are trying to create.
  3. Once we work out the conflict, we then enter a state of harmony which brings consistency, the mode we need to be in.

Getting the most out of a diverse group to obtain consistency often means accepting and incorporating contradictory values, perspectives and opinions. If were striving to walk in righteousness as partakers of the covenant we can't accept any conflicting values. We must hold true to the core values, ethics, and standards given by Elohim.

Will often find conflict comes when a person does not agree with the moral standard and values established by Elohim, which was given to create peace and stability. We need to achieve a harmonious relationship so that we can live in the world system with the sons of belial in peace, while demonstrating love, loyalty, faith, and obedience to Elohim.

    But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, don't boast and don't lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition are, there is confusion and every evil deed. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:14-18 RNWEB)

Bitter jealousy and self ambition are contrary to the wisdom that comes from above and can only lead to confusion and every evil work. The wisdom we must walk in or at least aspire to, is pure, peaceful, gentle, showing mercy and reason without prejudice and hypocrisy. If someone claims to be walking in righteousness but is displaying traits contrary to the fruit of the covenant, it's generally due to jealously and selfish ambition driven by emotional wounds. A person who is wounded won't listen to what we have to say most of the time, so we must use wisdom and be very discerning. This may simply mean riding out the storm and maintaining the peace.

Three Ways of Dealing With Conflict

  1. Conflict Resolution
  2. Conflict Avoidance
  3. Conflict Management

The typical desire when conflict arises is to avoid it, however this is not always the right strategy to employ. We need to know how YAH expects us to address conflicts when they arise.

    A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1 RNWEB)

We should always try to resolve conflict and keep the peace, a kindly answer will turn away wrath and keep things from escalating.

    By patience a ruler is persuaded. A soft tongue breaks the bone. (Proverbs 25:15 RNWEB)

We don't have to respond the same way when someone is angry or acting harshly, we should hold our peace and respond with soft words while maintaining a mild demeanor.

Conflict can occur even if differences are not real, invalid perceptions can be as important as reality. Most people use perceptions to judge a situation or circumstance and evaluate a person. Perceptions are not facts, and we cannot react based on what we think we know. Elohim has given us strict rules of conduct, which includes only dealing with facts, which means assumptions and perception must be avoided. Many people spend so much time with speculation and perceptions it becomes their reality, they make it truth, and it will only add to the conflict and confusion making a resolution more difficult. For example, if we believe someone is angry with us it may affect our perception regardless of the other persons true feelings.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict often occurs because of mistaken impressions or misinterpretations of the actions or communications of another. Addressing this conflict is a collaborative resolution, which is usually the best approach because it is high on both assertiveness and cooperation. All parties have an interest represented by a collaborative solution. The problem with this simplistic view is collaboration is effective primarily when interdependent parties are willing to ignore Self, generally most people deal with these situations while only thinking about themselves, due to power issues, pride, and territory. For any type of resolution to be reached both parties need to be mutually aware of the potential for growing conflict that will bring about damnable transgressions.

Conflict and confusion happen's all around us and not understanding how to deal with it properly can cost us our salvation.

    "'You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. (Leviticus 19:17 RNWEB)

We are not to hate our brother, but we should go and reprove him rather than carrying any type of bitterness or hatred. This will establish a dialog to bring about peace. If we don't, there will be conflict, it may just be internal, however this will eventually become external. The smallest word or action from the other party could set these events in motion. If we follow Elohim's process, we will prevent it from escalating, avoiding any type of conflict and keeping us from transgressing the law.

    "If therefore you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24 RNWEB)

Before we make a presentation of any type to Elohim we must first make sure we don't hold any animosity toward are brothers and sisters, because in the eyes of Elohim this is hypocrisy, we can't approach him while holding any hostility toward another.

    "If your brother sins against you, go, show him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained back your brother. (Matthew 18:15 RNWEB)

The sin could be anything, for example words that were said that caused hurt. This may even keep us from operating normally during the day because we can't let it go, it consumes our thoughts.

    But if he doesn't listen, take one or two more with you, that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembly. If he refuses to hear the assembly also, let him be to you as a Gentile or a tax collector [crook]. (Matthew 18:16-17 RNWEB)

We shouldn't develop friendships with heathens or crooks, only others walking in the covenant of righteousness, if someone that's a brother is breaking the covenant we must follow the mandated process before discontinue fellowship completely.

    Avoid a factious [heretical] man after a first and second warning; (Titus 3:10 RNWEB)

Shaul is specifically giving Titus council on how to deal with divided, contentious, and contrary individuals who are in the tabernacle but living outside the covenant. He instructed him that after two warnings if no correction is made, they must be avoided. The scripture says cast out the scorner and contention and strife shall cease.

Heretic - Someone which holds unorthodox religious beliefs. A holder or an adherent of an opinion or belief that contradicts established religious teaching. Someone with unconventional beliefs, someone's whose opinions, beliefs, or theories in any field are considered by others in that field as extremely unconventional or unorthodox.

Conflict Avoidance

This is a good strategy to temporarily handle the anger of another person or group. Heated exchanges tend to obscure unexpected issues, we can become hasty in thought, decision, words, and have a hard time seeing a clear perspective on a situation or matter, so we stay away to examine what's at the heart of the point of contention, because we're not able to employ any reasoning skills during the exchange. Allowing people to cool off by temporarily avoiding confrontation usually improves the quality of a future exchange. Avoidance is an excellent long term conflict management strategy only if the relationship between the parties is or can be independent, not relying or having to interact with one another on a normal basis. An interdependent relationship relies's on cohesiveness and collaboration, both parties have to work together to maintain this type of situation.

There's no point in experiencing potentially destructive or counterproductive conflict if we can completely separate ourselves from the other party. Sadly, the option of bailing out is not always available. It may be necessary to maintain interdependence for a variety of reasons, for example this would not work for a married couple. Conflict avoidance will not work under these conditions and maintain peace long term, not just between parties but also with Elohim. We have to determine if dialog or the chance for dialog is a liability or a future developmental asset. We need to examine the nature of the person we may want to implement a conflict strategy with, considering if it's possible to come to an agreement, or because we know the nature of the individual decide it's better just avoid them completely.

    He who corrects a mocker invites insult. He who reproves a wicked man invites abuse. (Proverbs 9:7 RNWEB)

There is absolutely no profit in trying to correct a contentious, argumentative, backbiting, and strife oriented individual. Conflict resolution will not work with everyone, we need to use wisdom and be very discerning as to what course to take.

    Don't reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you. Reprove a wise man, and he will love you. (Proverbs 9:8 RNWEB)

A scoffer (someone showing contempt) will take correction as a form of debasing or humiliation, where as a wise man will be open to correction and reproof and receive it openly.

Reprove - to sensor someone, to speak to someone in a way that shows disapproval of something he or she has done.

We cannot reprove someone that's extremely unpredictable, inconsistent, moody or erratic. They can make extreme emotional swings for no obvious reason, so a great deal of prudence and discernment needs to be used to determine who these people are. The righteous are not looking for confrontations with anyone, they just want everyone to be at peace.

    Don't speak in the ears of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words (Proverbs 23:9 RNWEB)

There is no need to reprove, rebuke, or go through any form of conflict resolution with a fool.

Fool - Want of mental sanity and sobriety, a reckless and inconsiderate habit of mind; A person lacking in judgment or prudence; The lack of commonsense perception of the reality of things natural and spiritual.

    Don't answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. (Proverbs 26:4 RNWEB)

Fools say things to lay snares and drag us into their wrath and tribulation, they don't want peace, In other words misery loves company and a fool likes a lot of company. They look for recognition, attention, and affection, all the things they don't deserve. We cannot negotiate, collaborate, or compromise with them because they are specifically trying to create conflict, which makes it impossible to find a solution.

    Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. (Proverbs 26:5 RNWEB)

When we perceive an individual is extremely superficial and simplistic by choice, we should depart from them. This means were dealing with an ignorant individual, keep the peace, be cordial and leave. The scripture says to stay away from a foolish man, for you won't find knowledge on his lips. (Prov 14:7)

    Now I beg you, brothers, look out for those who are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and turn away from them. (Romans 16:17 RNWEB)

We need to separate ourselves from those who claim to be walking in the covenant but are causing divisions and speaking against the doctrines of truth.

    For those who are such don't serve our Master, Yahshua the Anointed, but their own belly; and by their smooth and flattering speech, they deceive the hearts of the innocent. (Romans 16:18 RNWEB)

They deceive by their smooth and flattering lips, there's no doctrine, they speak opinions, thoughts, and feelings deceiving those who are innocent. We should only build relationships with others walking righteously within the covenant. Those who are not walking within these precepts need to be treated the same as people who are not within the covenant at all, they can't be considered friends. The relationships we have in the world should not be anything more than superficial, simple associations rather than close personal relationships derived around fellowship, sharing, and trust.

    Flee from youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on YAH out of a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22 RNWEB)

Shaul is telling Timothy to grow up, stop indulging in youthful lusts and to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with others who are righteous and call on YAH with a pure heart.

    But refuse foolish and ignorant questionings, knowing that they generate strife. YAH's servant must not quarrel, but be gentle towards all, able to teach, patient, (2 Timothy 2:23-24 RNWEB)

We need to walk in wisdom and realize just because someone says there walking in righteousness does not mean they are. We need to judge and discern if they are truly serving YAH with a pure heart by their actions. We need to stay away from stupid and ignorant controversies that lead to debates and fights. We need to be kind to everyone, a good teacher, and not express bitterness or indignation when mistreated.

    This saying is faithful, and concerning these things I desire that you affirm confidently, so that those who have believed Elohim may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men; BUT SHUN FOOLISH QUESTIONINGS, GENEALOGIES, STRIFE, AND DISPUTES ABOUT THE TORAH; FOR THEY ARE UNPROFITABLE AND VAIN. (Titus 3:8-9 RNWEB)

Once we realize that we can't clearly make someone understand that were fully accountable for the laws given at Sinai, we need to stop, don't pursue it further, were dealing with a son of belial and it's time to leave. We need to avoid debates and disputes, maintaining the peace whenever possible.

    "Don't give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (Matthew 7:6 RNWEB)

Simply put, we can't share the knowledge and understanding Elohim has given us with someone that's a son of belial. These individuals will ridicule the word, trivialize it, then turn and attack us directly. This requires a considerable amount of wisdom and discernment, so we can see who these people are, deal with them appropriately, and maintain our peace.

Belial means worthless, signifying wickedness; Furthermore, a wicked man, a destroyer, a waster.

The method of conflict resolution we use will be contingent on our audience, some people will engage us several times because there's a lot of good in them, and they want to know and understand but may have a difficult time comprehending the truth.

    No, WHAT I WROTE YOU WAS NOT TO ASSOCIATE WITH ANYONE WHO IS SUPPOSEDLY A BROTHER but who also engages in sexual immorality, is greedy, worships idols, is abusive, gets drunk or steals. With such a person you shouldn't even eat! (1 Corinthians 5:11 CJB)

We need to avoid people that say there walking in the covenant but are breaking its precepts, which includes even having a meal with them.

Conflict Management

Managing conflict may require us to be accommodating at times, we may not like it, but we have to remember who, what, and where we are. These strategies are effective in handling temporary situations, in accommodation one party is willing to indulge the behavior, accusation, and perception of another to address temporary or unimportant situations. We may choose to accommodate the rudeness of a brother or sister because we see there is no resolve with them, they are a wounded individual without self resolution, so we accept wrong just to keep the peace. This shows our righteousness to Elohim and our ability to avoid conflict and keep the peace.

    Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the holy ones? (1 Corinthians 6:1 RNWEB)

It's wrong to try to resolve and issue between two people walking in the covenant in the court system of the unrighteous. These issues need to be brought before the righteous, those who would make their judgments by the standards and laws set forth in the Torah.

    Don't you know that the holy ones will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Don't you know that we will judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then, you have to judge things pertaining to this life, do you set them to judge who are of no account in the assembly? I say this to move you to shame. Isn't there even one wise man among you who would be able to decide between his brothers? But brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers! Therefore it is already altogether a defect in you, that you have lawsuits one with another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? No, but you yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that against your brothers. (1 Corinthians 6:2-8 RNWEB)

We must be accommodating if were in a circumstance like this, we need to restore the peace and be the one to apologize even if we're not the ones at fault. Once the problem is resolved we can't be foolish, individuals like this need to be withdrawn from or will find ourselves in the same situation with them again.

    Repay no one evil for evil. Respect what is honorable in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men. (Romans 12:17-18 RNWEB)

We need to try to maintain the peace in all situations, this means it doesn't make a difference who is right or wrong, it's our responsibility to do whatever is necessary to defuse the situation.

    For what have I to do with also judging those who are outside? Don't you judge those who are within? (1 Corinthians 5:12 RNWEB)

We don't judge those who are outside of the assembly, we use wisdom and prudence to judge those in the assembly in accordance with the precepts of righteousness given by Elohim.

    But those who are outside, Elohim judges. "Put away the wicked man from among yourselves." (1 Corinthians 5:13 RNWEB)

Elohim judges the wicked, we need to leave them alone, separate ourselves, they shouldn't be our friends. If we find someone acting like those who are wicked within the assembly we need to separate ourselves from them also, no good can come from having fellowship with those who are unclean. If the relationship is interdependent, such as a job situation, we need to use wisdom and conflict resolution guidelines to keep the peace when we interact with them. These are life strategies for us, and we need to employ them whenever necessary.

Fellowship - Friendliness and companionship based on shared interests. A group of people that meet to pursue a shared interest or aim.

    Brothers, even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual must restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourself so that you also aren't tempted. (Galatians 6:1 RNWEB)

When we find a brother or sister at fault we must try to restore them before separating ourselves. We may find ourselves in a similar situation, and it will be our brothers and sisters that point us back to truth.

    Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the Torah of the Anointed. For if a man thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each man test his own work, and then he will take pride in himself and not in his neighbor. For each man will bear his own burden. But let him who is taught in the word share all good things with him who teaches. Don't be deceived. Elohim is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don't give up. (Galatians 6:2-9 RNWEB)

We need to be focused on doing good at all times, we can't be slothful in this.

    So then, as we have opportunity, let's do what is good toward all men, and especially toward those who are of the household of the faith. (Galatians 6:10 RNWEB)

When the opportunities arise, we must be good and do good toward all men, especially those who are walking in righteousness. It's the ones walking in righteousness we collaborate and compromise with when a problem occurs, so we can come to a permanent solution and bring peace, those that are unclean we generally accommodate just to keep the peace when we interact with them.

    Remind them to be in subjection to rulers and to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing all humility toward all men. (Titus 3:1-2 RNWEB)

We can defer a considerable amount of wrath by humbling ourselves in meekness.

    For we were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But when the kindness of Elohim our Savior and his love toward mankind appeared, not by works of righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us, through the mikvah of rebirth and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly, through Yahshua the Anointed our Savior; that, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This saying is faithful, and concerning these things I desire that you affirm confidently, so that those who have believed Elohim may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men; (Titus 3:3-8 RNWEB)

 

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