Someone e-mailed me recently about a conflict they are having with someone. It is not a clearly defined Biblical issue. Both parties feel they are right. Neither is willing to budge on their position due to personal experience and conviction. Both parties are believers but not related by blood or by marriage. They have no mandated relationship, such as work or marriage. They simply got to know each other and developed a sharp disagreement.
They’ve been advised by well-meaning believers that they must address it with the person. They are certain it will be received wrong, but they were told it’s the “Biblical” thing to do.
I may be wrong, which wouldn’t be that unusual, but I don’t think that’s always true. I think what they have to be able to do is forgive in their hearts, reconcile the disagreement in their own minds, and move forward with their lives without the conflict continuing to haunt them. If they can’t do that, then I would agree…they must confront the conflict.
Not every conflict, however, is necessary to be resolved. Sometimes, two people may have to agree to disagree and, if necessary, be willing to go separate ways to avoid future conflict. (Read the conflict between Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15.)
Based on the disclaimers listed, here are 5 questions to help pick your battles:
Can I move forward without holding a grudge or being resentful in my heart? – If not, do you need to confront simply to clear your heart to be whole again?
Will I be able to change their opinion if I confront them? – If not, then is there any value in the confrontation?
Is it impacting other people? – If your conflict is simply between two people, then what’s the urgency of the conflict? If others are affected by your disagreement, then some sense of resolution may become necessary.
Does my heart lead me to confront? – We can’t dismiss the Spirit of God working in our lives. If the issue won’t leave your mind, you need to do something.
Am I at peace with things as they are? – If you are at complete peace and the thought of confrontation only makes you miserable, then are you sure you are supposed to confront? Again, a conviction to confront should not be avoided, regardless of the fear involved, but if you are already at peace, why disrupt the calm?
Have you had a relationship you simply couldn’t reconcile? What questions would you ask?