A man, his wife and her mother went on safari in Africa. They hired a guide and set out into the jungle. One morning, the married couple awoke to find the mother missing. After a lenthy search, they found the woman in a clearing, face-to-face with a huge lion. The terrified wife cried out to her husband, "Dear, what should we do?" The husband replied, "Not a thing.That lion got himself into this mess; let him get himself out of it?" That's how we often want to deal with conflict in our relationships: just do nothing and hope it works out.
H.B. London, of Focus on the Family, asks four questions about easing conflict in his book, "Pause, Recharge, Refresh." First, "What is your responsibility in this matter? Are you guilty? Did you violate God's moral values?" Second, "Have you taken steps to solve the issue by moving toward the person or persons with whom you are in conflict? Are you dtermined to win at any cost, or could you shoulder the blame to ease the tension?" Third, "Are you acting in obedience to what you know God says?" Fourth, "Would you be willing to step back from ministry to begin the healing process? The key to any kind of reconciliation is not the absenxe of conflict but exhibiting a Christ-like spirit. A reconciler is one who seeks an unselfish solution."
We cannot afford to just sit there and blame, or wait on someone else to make the first move. Pride will rob us every time of the joy we could have in a healthy relationship. That's how we lived before we met Jesus Christ and He entered our lives and transformed us by His grace.
II Corinthians 5:18-19 say, " Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God."
Here we are told to be the bigger person, to be proactive in working out or working through the conflict. No, it doesn't say it is easy or fun, but it is right and best. We have been reconciled and now, we are to help others be reconciled. God doesn't leave it to chance, or feelings, or emotions. It comes down to obedience because He tells us how to work out the conflict.
“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him, "work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love. (Matt. 18:15-17)
It's easier to talk about someone who ticks you off, than talk to them. It's more comfortable to just ignore the person that's complaining, than to confront them and begin the process of conflict resolution. But, I will tell you where it all begins: love. If we love them, we will be gracious as God has been gracious to us. If we love the Lord, we will obey and be gracious, as He has been gracious.