“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” Matthew 18:15
Do you ever avoid resolving conflict? It’s uncomfortable. We experience fear and anger. When we experience pain in a relationship, we think trying to resolve it can create more pain. When we choose to see conflict resolution as a negative experience, we try to protect ourselves and avoid it. When we do approach the person, we can vent, describe how we have been hurt and maybe even be right. Notice how we have made conflict all about us. Instead of seeing conflict resolution only as a way of alleviating our pain, think of it as an act of love for the offender.
“God’s love is too great to be confined to any one side of a conflict…,”
When preparing for that difficult conversation (not email or social media) ask: Why is this relationship important to me? What value do I see in this person? How does God see them? Perhaps most important: what do I want for this person? Forgiveness? Reconciliation? Freedom from anger? For them to reach their full potential in Christ?
Conflict resolution is not all about you.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
About Corey Sharpe
Where do we get our beliefs?
Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology.
From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ.
Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles.
I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.