Friday, July 27, 2012

Gospel-Centered Conflict Resolution

While our flesh will most certainly demand justice when we have been wronged, the gospel gives us a very different picture of how we should handle and look at conflict resolution as Christians.

Our pride insists that the person who wronged us must come to us and seek forgiveness. At minimum, our pride and flesh demand that the other person take ownership and admit to their wrong-doings. But that’s not what we see at all, in the gospel.

Jesus didn’t come to earth to demand an apology from the world.  Nor did he sit stubbornly in heaven waiting for us to approach him, seeking forgiveness.  In fact, in humility and selflessness Jesus stepped down from his place of glory, in heaven to pursue restoration with us.  He came to earth, in the flesh, to serve and save the very people who had turned their backs on him.  Jesus came to lay down his live for the very same people who would eventually hang Him on the tree to die for their sins. He did this out of love…for their ultimate good, not His own.

First: Our flesh (in relationships) says the following:
“I will be the (husband, mom, daughter, son, wife, friend etc) I ought to be if and to the degree that you are the (wife, daughter, son, mom, husband, friend etc) that you ought to be.”

Or to say it more simply, “I will treat you the same way that you treat me.”
However, this is not the gospel. This is not the example Christ modeled for maintaining God-honoring relationships. Christ is the perfect model of what sanctifying love and grace looks like in a relationship; and a gospel-centered relationship, fueled by Christ and not our flesh, (emotions, hurts, anger, resentment, bitterness etc) should compel our hearts to respond to hurt like this:

“I will be the (husband, mom, daughter, son, wife, friend etc) I ought to be regardless if you are the (wife, daughter, son, mom, husband, friend etc) you ought to be, because Christ is my model for what love looks like and he didn't give me what I deserved, but instead what he knew was most loving. He didn’t do this primarily for his own greater good, but instead to bring me back into fellowship with God and bring restoration into my life.”
Remember, as Christians we bear the responsibility of modeling Christ to a world who does not know him.  And it's the little things in life that are going to make the greatest impact on the people we are attempting to lead to Jesus.  So, embracing the very real fact that we will have conflict in this's crucial that we remember that even in the way we handle's possible for us to honor Christ in the process.  Let the gospel, which saved you from what you deserved from God...lead you to love others in the same way Christ loved you...even if they don't deserve it.

For His Glory,


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