By Ozeme J. Bonnette,
a financial coach, speaker, and author
Sometimes, we may find it hard to avoid a disagreement in the workplace,
or even a conflict at home. Here are some Biblical tips to think about in working toward a peaceful resolution.
What is causing the quarrel?
One thing that we should ask ourselves when we find ourselves in a disagreement is, What is causing this conflict?
Is it because of envy and selfishness? James 3:16 says, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every evil practice." (NIV)
Is it because of the sin that lives in us? Paul experienced similar struggles.
He discussed it in Romans 7:14-23. He called himself a slave to sin. The sin that lived in him waged war against his mind. Even though he knew what was good and right, he still found himself caught in sin. We have the same battle.
James also talked about the battles within us in James 4:1-2. He said that we fight when we want things and don't get them.
It is important to identify the source of the conflict. If we are the source of even part of the problem, it is our responsibility to address the areas that we can control.
How am I impacted by the quarrel?
Quarrels lead us to hurt ourselves. They will take us where we don't want to go. Even if our anger is directed toward someone else, we are still impacted by it. God shares that impact in both the Old and the New Testament.
Proverbs 13:3 reads, "He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin." (NIV)
In the New Testament, Paul tells the Galatians in Galatians 5:15, "If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other." (NIV)
Whether at work or at home, there will always be people who are impacted by the negative choices we make. Let's aim to realize this early so that we can reduce the potential for damages.
How do I improve?
If anything, God should be the reason we make an effort to live peacefully.
We should be forgiving toward those who hurt us simply because we are forgiven daily by a merciful God. Paul reminds us in Colossians 3:13,
"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (NIV)
If we don't have a forgiving heart, how can we ever expect to share eternity with God? Hebrews 12:14 tells us, "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."
We should look at how we interact with those around us. Paul encouraged the Philippians in Philippians 2:4, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."
We have to be careful not to seek revenge against those who hurt us. God tells us in Deuteronomy 32:35, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay."
(NIV) Instead, we are to do what Paul told the Romans to do in Romans 12:20-21, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
In doing good toward one another, we should not only look at the present but also look ahead. In Romans 14:13, Paul told the Romans, "...make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way." (NIV) We shouldn't do things that will lead to our being confronted or challenged by someone else. We need to avoid malicious behavior.
We can be encouraged by James 1:20-21, "For man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you." (NIV)
This one passage shares two very powerful thoughts. First, God's Word can save us. If we spend time in the Word, we can get the strength we need to handle whatever comes our way. It is important, though, that we do get our daily bread. Once a week or once a month is not enough to keep us going.
Second, God's Word is planted in us. We've been fed in the past, and the Holy Spirit is with us always to help us remember who we are in Christ.
We just have to remind ourselves that it is there and reach for it when we need it.
Ozeme J. Bonnette is a financial coach, speaker, and author. She began her career at Merrill Lynch, and now works to increase financial literacy. She teaches and speaks to groups and organizations throughout the U.S. She earned 3 Bachelor's degrees at Fresno State and an MBA at UCLA's Anderson School. She blogs at http://www.povertynorriches.com.
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Published in November 2010.
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