Dealing with a conflict and not sure what to do?

Don’t just hold onto the offense, the anger, the bitterness, but rather engage the other person in a matter that will help it get addressed and resolved. It’s not about amplifying or making it worse, it’s about dealing with it now rather than allowing time to make it worse. Is it something they said? Is it something they did? Could it be a misinterpretation or misunderstanding? Either way, what will you do about it? Don’t let it brew and get worse. Don’t let it fester and amplify. Go talk to them and get it taken care of!

Today’s Word speaks to this subject as follows:

15 “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. 16But 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. 17If 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. 18Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

–from Matthew 18

Jesus gives us an equation for taking care of it! He helps you get through it if you aren’t able to get it taken care of 1 on 1. It’s more than just a problem here, it’s a spiritual thing. Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers of this dark world. And so we don’t have to try and get it all taken care of on our own, because we can turn to God and ask Him for help!

What I learned the hard way and the easy way was that in forgiving them, it made it easier to help resolve the conflict. Two different experiences at work with two different teams and two very different management styles. The hard way I held onto the Unforgiveness isn't a word!, the anger, the bitterness, and the frustration from having been promised one thing and then received another, stolen from in my work and career. The easy way I forgave immediately what they had done to me and then I went to them to address the conflict that they created through lies by getting the documentation fixed and then going to my management team to work on making sure this doesn’t happen again. The biggest impact of my decision in these two examples was the impact on me. In neither case did my decision to forgive or not really impact them. In both cases my decision to forgive or not impact my state of mind and health. So my recommendation from my own experiences is to forgive them (in my case, I said “God, I forgive them and give what has taken place into your hands.” And then I went to address the problems being it lies in documentation, be it broken promises, be it … It broke the chains and allowed me the freedom to move forward without the anger, the frustration, the bitterness, and the pain.

Today’s reading continues with the following:

23So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

–from Matthew 5

We are to be ambassadors of reconciliation, so if we notice even without being confronted that we need to apologize and ask for forgiveness in order to be reconciled, then we need to. During that first “bad” experience, I say “bad” because the reality is that what I learned through it was so incredibly powerful that it has turned what the devil intended for evil and God used it for good as I know it now and able to share the freeing power and truth behind forgiveness! During that first ordeal, I realized that I had let my pride keep me from stepping in and stepping up into a role and so I went to speak to that person (post the breaking of the chains of bitterness thanks to forgiveness) and apologized. It was interesting as they were unaware and couldn’t even remember the situation but said, “I forgive you so we can move on.” As I said earlier, it’s more about us and our hearts than the other person as they may not even be aware of something you did or they did to trigger what your response ended up being.

So where are you at today? Do you have a conflict you need to take care of? Do you have a conflict that you need to address? Do you have a heart to build on the call to be a peacemaker? Do you have a heart to build on the call to be an ambassador of reconciliation? So what are you going to do?

As always, the choice is yours!

Today’s devotional (day 2 of Conflict At Work) speaks into this too. It goes like this:

Go and Address the Person Directly

How do we restore broken relationships? In Matthew 18, Jesus gives us a template for dealing with someone who has wronged us. He does not say, “Get even!” or “Strike back!” or “Prove that you were right.” Instead, he lays out a process that begins with seeking one-on-one to be reconciled.

Even in the healthiest workplaces, conflicts arise. When they do, the only effective resolution is for those in conflict to engage each other directly, not to complain to others. Rather than play out a conflict in front of an audience, meet with the person privately.

In the age of electronic communication, Jesus’ approach to “go” directly to the other person is more important than ever. All it takes is a name or two in the “cc:” line or one press of the “reply all” button to turn an ordinary disagreement into an office feud. Even if two people could keep an email chain to themselves, the possibilities for misunderstanding are multiplied when an impersonal medium such as e-mail is used. Therefore, unless doing so would put you in danger, it is probably best to take Jesus’ advice literally, “Go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.”

If you’ve been hurt, take the first step toward reconciliation, even though it may make you feel awkward or vulnerable. Likewise, if we believe we’ve hurt someone, Matthew 5:23 makes it clear that we should go and get right with him or her. Either way, it takes humility to be the first to say, “Hey, there’s something that’s been weighing on me. Can we talk?”

Sometimes conflicts aren’t resolved one-on-one. In that case Matthew 15:16 tells us to seek help from others with the appropriate skills and authority. This does not mean complaining to other people, but finding the right person(s) to help us resolve differences with the person we’re in conflict with.


Jesus, your command to go and be reconciled is difficult. I ask for you to both strengthen me with your might and soften my heart to hear from your Spirit. Amen.

Further Exploration

Click to read more from the Theology of Work Project about conflict resolution in Matthew 18.

–day 2 of Conflict At Work)




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