014: Conflicts of Differentness


What You'll Discover in this Episode:

Conflicts of Differentness

In Episode 14 we are talking about conflicts resulting from 'differentness'. People are different and that can contribute to disagreements of style and personality. We will look at the seven practical guidelines for resolving those types of conflicts. Hopefully, each person involved has a willing heart to hear what the scriptures have to say about conflicts that arise from areas of disagreement- often differences of preference, where one person’s temperament or tastes are displeasing to another person. This involves learning to see the qualities in the other person that the Lord created within them, guarding our hearts against judgmental attitudes or misunderstandings, and learning to listen to the other person, communicate in a biblical manner, and for one person to choose to yield to the desires of the other person. Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Make sure you click the link below and read Romans 12 in it's content).  Wherever it is possible, we are to do as much as depends on us, in order to live peaceably with others.

Every blessing to you as you listen!  Pastor Jeff


  • Scroll down and leave your comment below!
  • Seven Guidelines:
  • 1. Remind yourself that God made the other person with his own unique personality and for His own purposes.
  • 2. Guard your heart against judgmental attitudes that raise an issue to the level of sin.
  • 3. Focus more on the interests of the other person than on your own interests.
  • 4. Be reasonable, willing to yield to the views and desires of others.
  • 5. Be willing to put up with the annoying traits of others.
  • 6. Try to determine in the issue involved, if one of the persons can go either way, or how firm are they on the issue?
  • 7. Allow the peace of Christ to be the referee (or umpire) of the conflict.

Resources:


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  • Olivia Klinkner says:

    Love the practical application here! The idea of yielding to the person who it’s a bigger deal to is awesome. What an easy thing for us to do: evaluate how important it is to you and yield to the person who it is a bigger deal to. What a great way to not only bring peace, but also to bring perspective.

    • jeffchristianson says:

      Hi Olivia! Thank you for commenting. That was helpful for me. Sometimes when working with people, one has their heels dug in and the other is willing to yield. Yielding is maturity.

  • Randy Sexton says:

    In perusing Romans 12, Paul makes several comments that can be applied to relationships: be devoted to one another (v. 10), bless those who persecute you (v. 14), rejoice with those who rejoice (v. 15), be of the same mind toward one another (v. 16), and there are others. Living peaceably with all is really a very powerful thing when done biblically. It takes love and humility, as your seven guidelines indicate. You share some very practical guidelines in dealing with conflict. Thank you!

    • jeffchristianson says:

      Yes! The context of Romas 12 is so very rich, isn’t it!

    • Jake says:

      Randy, thanks for the reminder on Romans 12. The first one you noted is hard enough on its own but then the list continues. As we all know, we can’t do this in our own strength, but as we rely on the Lord and His strength, we can love as He loves. As you said, it is definitely a powerful thing when we live peaceably with others biblically. Thanks for sharing!

      • steve@blueletterbible.org says:

        We do it by the power of God, Ps 19, Heb 4:12. Thes. tells us the work of God is able to work effectively
        2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

    • Kia Jackson says:

      Hello Randy! You both are right on. Plenty of takeaways from Romans 12, especially pertaining to relationships!

  • Jake says:

    It is so helpful to remember that the person we are in a conflict with is made in the image of God and that our war is not against that person, but against principalities and powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil as Ephesians 6:12 says. I really liked the idea you guys shared about asking each person in the disagreement to rank on a 1-10 scale how important each disagreement is to see how willing (or unwilling) someone might be to yield to the other in a disagreement. I’ve noticed in my marriage that so often something I don’t think is a big deal, my wife will care more about and vice versa. This communication between the two people disagreeing really gives an opportunity to see where that person stands and gives that opportunity to win the person over by yielding as long as it is not a sin issue. Thank you for sharing that insight!

    • jeffchristianson says:

      Jake, Spiritual warfare as a contributing factor to conflict is often overlooked, right? I think we will do an episode on this in the future. Very true about our spouses. It is so important to learn to communicate. We will never be perfect this side of heaven, but we can grow in spiritual maturity.

  • Josh Halan says:

    We must work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life. We should all be of one mind and Sympathize with each other, Loving each other as brothers and sisters, tenderhearted, keeping a humble attitude, Searching for peace, and working to maintain it. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace and always be thankful. Those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

  • Rebecca says:

    These practical guidelines are so important to note when dealing with differentness issues. So often issues arise because of differences, and there are so many different types of differences that can pop up and cause conflicts. The first step really stuck out to me: recognize that they are unique human beings whom God made. When dealing with anyone, we have to remember that our fight is not with flesh and blood, it is with powers and principalities. When we are dealing with people, we have to remember that sometimes the problems just come from us being different, and when we see the other person as being a unique person that God made, it is easier to let things move on. Each step was very practical and helpful in making your way through a conflict regarding these issues.

    • jeffchristianson says:

      Rebecca! Great point about spiritual warfare (versus flesh and blood). We can miss that so often and the enemy loves to create conflict when it is possible to overlook the offense as a diffferentness issue. Jeff

  • Sherra says:

    Jenny starts with such an important point. We must talk to the people and see where they are at and if they are even willing to make peace with the other person. I have found that there are times when a person really is not interested in ending the conflict. They are more interested in the dramatic and attention that conflict brings. We must start with the recognition that we need to be less concerned with self and more concerned with the Lord. We are not the standard, the Lord is.

    • jeffchristianson says:

      It takes Gods wisdom to realize some people are at times not interested in resolving conflict.

    • Jake says:

      Thanks for sharing this Sherra. I definitely default to just assuming that everyone wants to resolve conflict but some people, for whatever reason, do not desire that the conflict would end. It definitely makes sense why God wants us to be prayerful through every interaction so that He could provide us with this divine insight and discernment.

    • steve@blueletterbible.org says:

      Yes, praise God we are not the standard. 2Co 10:12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
      We are to measure each one according to the Lord, by His Spirit.

  • Kristie says:

    The podcast was so good and practical. One of keys to conflict resolution is to check our own hearts and motives. According to the podcast Step 2 is to guard our hearts from being legalistic or judgmental. So often we become critical towards others because of our opinion and not necessarily from what the Bible says. In order for us to live at peace with others we need to humble ourselves and take the low place. We need to realize that we are not the standard by which others need to live by. God’s desire is to bring growth in each of us and He will use conflicts in our lives to bring us closer to Him as we seek help and humble ourselves.

    • Kia Jackson says:

      Hello Kristie! Agreed. I always try to keep this in mind whenever I am in the midst of a conflict. By taking the high road and showing grace and mercy, I feel much better about the situation. In some instances the issue resolves on it’s own!

  • Tobiah says:

    I’m pretty sure Ive been in all of those conversations with someone and done all of the wrong things stated here at one point or another. But this is great list to help people see outside of themselves more. I am not involved yet in a church ministry of counseling but I get to counsel people sometimes at work. both Christian and non-Christian. Actually I see being able to use just about everyone of these in my position. Some will understand more than others of course. And I can’t always use the statement let Jesus be the referee. I can certainly try to diffuse issues be determining how much of an issue this matter is: rate it 1-10. Can they be willing to just deal with another persons annoying idiosyncrasies? And just point out that everyone is created unique, find those attributes or talents they might have and encourage instead of discouraging them. I know a counseling session might be different within the body of Christ but it gave me some tools to take with me.

  • steve@blueletterbible.org says:

    Try to determine in the issue involved, if one of the persons can go either way, or how firm are they on the issue?
    It is a beautiful thing to ask how important this issue to you example, on a scale of 1 to 10. The willingness to yield because you have a lower number. Hopefully the high numbered person will grow. It is a great way to express yourself by measuring how serious this is to you. .I like the scale 1 to 10. I can see how this really could work? What a blessing to discover this guideline for counseling.

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