Picking up the pieces in a broken relationship is never an easy task, and Christians, like unbelievers, experience conflict in their lives 24/7. But how do Christians differ? What makes them ideally better able in handling conflict when it happens?
Unlike the world, "Christians respond to conflict in a way that is remarkably different as the world," says Dr. Ernie Baker. Sadly, many Christians figure in biting and devouring incidents in the church then and now. If the Lord Jesus Christ is a reconciliator and a peacemaker, shouldn’t we be also?
Ephesians 4:1-6 speaks of the motivation for dealing with relationships the way Christ would ---that is, we’ve been lavished with grace and mercy. Thus, walking in a manner worthy of our calling entails creating and continuing loving relationships within the church. As a people who have been adopted into the family of God (Eph. 1), we are to live lives worthy of the Gospel (Eph.1:27; Eph. 2:10).
Dr. Baker mentioned the automatic responses Christians must be armed with when they are in the battlefield. Remember our speaker’s father, the World War II veteran? As a soldier, he was taught under pressure to tactically respond to certain situations. Christians are the same. Thus, believers need a go-to plan to execute when the pressure is on. The 4Gs are:
- Glorify God (1 Cor.10:31)
- Get the log out of your own eye first (Matt. 7:1-5)
- Gently restore (Gal. 6:1-3)
- Go and be reconciled (Matt. 5:23-24)
So how does one negotiate as a servant in a way that does not water down the gravity of the issue? How can one negotiate in a manner that exemplifies Christlike care for others? Phil. 2:3-4; Matt. 22:36-40, and 1 Cor. 13:4-5 are instructive. When negotiations are in order, Dr. Baker suggested a strategy: Learn to PAUSE, where:
P stands for PREPARE (Prov. 14:8, 22)
A stands for AFFIRM relationships
U stands for UNDERSTAND interests
S stands for SEARCH for creative solutions
E stands for EVALUATE options objectively and reasonably
In conclusion, we quote a portion of the Peacemaker’s Pledge:
“By God’s grace, we will apply these principles as a matter of stewardship, realizing that conflict is an assignment, not an accident. We will remember that success, in God’s eyes, is not a matter of specific results but of faithful dependent obedience. And we will pray that our service as peacemakers brings praise to our Lord and leads others to know His infinite love.”
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