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What You'll Discover in this Episode:


Conflict Resolution:
Practical Questions For Counseling Conflicts



These are questions you could ask the party you are in a conflict with, or questions you can lead two other people who are having a conflict in asking these questions between themselves and talking it out.


Questions:


  1. Is there anything I have done or have failed to do, that is contributing to the conflict?
  2. What is it I could do (or not do) to help us get along better?
  3. Maybe when I said ___________, you felt ___________.
  4. I want to bring about a biblical resolution to this: can you tell me what you thought when I said ____________  (or did __________.)
  5. Can I understand your thoughts and feelings so we can work through them in a better way?
  6. Maybe in the future I can say things differently? Can you help me with ideas on how I could say it better?
  7. Have we done anything to make this issue worse, that we could have resolved sooner?
  8. Is there anything I need to ask your forgiveness for?
  9. Is there something I could do differently in order to help us resolve this problem?

In order to resolve a conflict, the parties involved need to learn and walk through talking it out/sharing their hearts/ and reaching an agreed resolution of the issues going on between them. One of the goals is to get the parties involved speaking politely to each other and opening up. Another goal in counseling conflicts is to try to resolve the conflict in the shortest amount of time. The longer a conflict goes on, the worse it is going to get. The sooner the parties involved can work together, the smaller the conflict will be in the relationship, and the parties will be on the way to reconciliation.


Tell us in the comments what worked for you? What didn't work? What's a major victory?  


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  • This episode came in on time, that’s confirmation of where I am is where I need to be.
    We are working towards a ministry where we feed people physically and spiritually and we will need to deal with situations where questions need to be asked, and forgiveness needs to be given and received in order to continue towards maturity in the Spirit.
    What I felt strongly towards was that I can ask these questions before engaging in a conversation, to discern where am I standing in this issue, and be ready to ask for forgiveness and not have expectations from the other person but from Jesus.
    I feel that this way we can solve many disagreements not only in the body of Christ but in the world where everyone is seeking their needs to be met instead of dying to self.

    • Hi Pablo,
      We have this in common, and we’re neighbors 🙂
      What I found in this kind of ministry, is that the people who come for services are damaged, and we must first look at them with love in our eyes, then listen to them giving them our full attention, and then speak to them with love and gentleness in our voice. This can only be accomplished by prayer, inviting the Holy Spirit to take over, because we always lack – I know I lack even after being in this kind of ministry for over a decade, I lack. People want to be heard and understood, and providing a solid biblical answer is important because we may be the last time they encounter a Christian with understanding. Before I begin I always pray that the Lord will fill me with his wisdom, (less of me, more of him), and help me to be a good steward of the knowledge that he gave me, to help me to be understanding and loving in my actions and reactions, and to see them as He sees them; now, I will add for the Lord to help me to see my own misunderstanding and to understand with biblical wisdom.
      I love that you have a food pantry, with biblical counseling; I have wanted to do this for years.
      God Bless You and your ministry

      • Hi Kristi, that is so true I believe people who are seeking counsel desire to be understood most of all, and so really listening with compassion builds trust and comfort, also I like your comment on praying that we are good stewards of the knowledge God gives us! Because so often I feel we let it go to waste by not sharing or using it to minister to others when they need it too. thank you

    • I like the thought of using these questions before engaging in conversation to discern where I am standing on the issue! And go in prepared to seek forgiveness without any expectations. A great way to do ministry and a great tool to use to get us in the posture of humility and dying to self! Thank you for your imput!

      • Kendal this is a really good point: “go in prepared to seek forgiveness without any expectations.” I don’t know if it’s just me, but I have this habit of now looking first at myself, to see if I am aware of any part that I may have played in anything. There was an issue, about 15 years ago, that effected my life and the lives of all who were involved where my part was about 5%. I was badly hurt by accusations that were not true, but appeared to be true because I was in a position of deaconess, where I attended every Christian function that I could because of my desire to learn outreach. The accusations were so outside of who I was, and caused major harm to my family, that it caused me to step away, and mourn for years; even today, though not as intense as it was at that time. Now, I am so acutely aware of all that is around me, that I first judge whether I should say or do anything, and whether or not I will have to eventually apologize for something. If I don’t have to “go in” I find myself not getting involved. This one incident caused me also be be weary of “new company.” I feel bad that I now look at some people as an attempt to do harm, because of their affiliation with those who have caused harm. 🙁 But I feel that if I don’t, I could be “letting in” the wrong company that might be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    • I agree with you that though the right questions and forgiveness goes a long way. Humility is definitely the biggest factor in conflicts being resolved. When asking the right questions and having the Holy Spirit give discernment, helps guide the conversation. It does take time and patience when resolving conflict but when done right it reaps much fruit.

  • Thanks, Pastor Jeff, really enjoyed the podcast. The questions you provided for counseling conflicts were especially useful. One of the biggest challenges in counseling one another is confronting the tendencies in our flesh to point the finger outward and blame, rather than inward, allowing the Holy Spirit to convict us of our part in the conflict. As Pastor Jeff said, getting the person to admit their percentage of the problem is important. Once that percentage of personal responsibility has been established, I urge those that I counsel to own their part or percentage one-hundred percent. Establishing the fact that “I need to change rather than the other person” is counterintuitive to the flesh and only can truly take place when we walk in the Spirit. In other words, pointing the finger back at ourselves doesn’t come naturally, it requires the work of the Spirit. The verse that the Lord brought to mind is Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interest, but also for the interests of others”.

    • Amen, thank you for sharing
      It is quite difficult to remove our self-desire to get an advantage or our point made. But us knowing and dwelling in the Spirit we are constantly reminded to pray before acting, to surrender our idol of control and fix. By example and witnessing this part in us we begin to show others how to react in these situations and although the result may not be what we expected it is what God wanted us to do and He will work on the other person.
      I agree with your comment and I thank you again
      God loves you,
      p

      • Excellent point, Pablo! Praying beforehand is critical to soul care. At times we forget that the Lord is the wonderful counselor and that our job is to let Him speak into the situation. We can, as you said, succumb to the temptation to “control and fix”, instead of letting the Spirit guide. As we all grow in the knowledge of our Lord, I pray that we learn to respond to one another in the Spirit, rather than react to one another in the flesh. Thankful your ministry brother. May the Lord bless and keep you.

    • Thank you Sumit
      I like the verse that you brought up, such a great verse. I think that showing people love and patience is truly how Jesus wants us to deal with people that may not be the easiest to love.
      We want people to just listen and take responsibility for their part. People want to blame rather than agree to their contribution. The Holy Spirit wants us to be still and hear him.
      It isn’t natural for us to look at our self and agree we might be contributing. It is biblical though and that is the way we can have real success in helping others is by dying to our self.
      Blessings!

      • Great insight, Carrie! There are times when those that we’re called to counsel are not “easy to love”, but we must learn to see them like Jesus sees them. In my line of work, I frequently counsel teens that do not have a relationship with the Lord and are dealing with demonic oppression. Rather than condemn the lost for their ungodly choices, our goal is to restore them by pointing them to Jesus. Whenever I’m tempted to judge, Christ reminds me that He died for that person just like He died for me.
        Blessings

    • You are so right Sumit. It takes swallowing hard to accept responsibility for our part of the wrong. Putting others first. considering them more important then ourselves, requires some real humility. Pastor Jeff is right. Sometimes the other party is willing to forgive your small percent without even acknowledging any of their own percent. At that point we hope for another opportunity.

    • Philippians 2:3-4 is such a good verse to memorize and I’m glad the Holy Spirit brought that to your mind. It is so different from what the world teaches because the world constantly wants us to be self assertive but God here reminds us again to continue to die to ourselves and this is the solution to most problems. :)awesome reminder

  • This was a super helpful podcast for me, in that it was so practical. I was definitely challenged by the idea of approaching conflict in such a state of humility, that I am willing to own up to a certain percentage of fault, however small it may be, and yet be ready to accept that the other (more guilty) party might not accept any responsibility at all! This is hugely convicting to me because my pride screams “But it’s not my fault and it’s not fair!”. So while this is something I plan on applying to counseling situations, I mostly need to apply it to my own self first. My example is Jesus Himself, who humbled Himself unto the point of death.
    Jeff asked us to share what works for us from the podcast. For me, it was when he encouraged us to reflect back: “Can I tell you how I understand and then you can clarify how I’m wrong?”. I have been hugely blessed by this idea of reflecting back while in the midst of an argument. I was in a heated conversation a few days ago, and feeling misunderstood. But then the other person stopped and took time to tell me what they thought I was saying, and allow me to clarify how they were wrong. So not only did I hear my own words repeated back to me, which naturally disarmed me because I felt heard, but also I was able to correct and clarify misunderstandings. In counseling situations, I’ve used this type of reflection so often, and it really helps the counselee open up and elaborate even more on what they are experiencing. I feel like it’s almost a secret weapon. You’re literally offering no insight- just repeating back exactly what the other said but somehow it’s so effective.

    • You’re right Rachel, repeating back to someone is helpful and feels like a secret weapon when we’re trying to help someone see that we’re really listening to them. It builds trust in the communication that’s happening, and it’s validating; in addition, I believe that it serves as a guiding expectation for all parties to speak and be understood and not just heard.

      Owning up to a certain percentage is something that I will now, forever, keep in mind. I’m always examining myself and I’m pretty critical of me. I’m always listening to others as well, because it’s in the way they carry themselves that I learn how they like to be approached; however, when I first speak to someone I like to always give them the upper hand so that I never offend. Do you ever find yourself having a certain “first approach” when talking to someone; and is it the same for everyone?

    • I understand Pride and agree it is sometimes hard to humble ourselves and realize the other person may feel they had no part in the conflict. I think sometimes we get so caught up in the moment we loose the purpose. To help and understanding sometimes people don’t hear the same thing we are saying. What I mean by that, people hear what they want to hear and take things the way they feel they have to to cope. Reflecting and working through those moment also help the person learn to work out their conflict with other. A good skill in helping them find the peace they are looking for.
      Thanks for sharing!

    • I so agree with you and love your response! One, I feel the same way about how hard and humbling it is to accept responsiblity to a “more guilty” party. I have done it and had the exact same thing happen as Jeff did. The party gave me 100 percent and took on none for themselves. This can make trying it again very difficult. But great encouragement to do so no matter the outcome! Two, I really relate to the question you quoted also. It helps and is a “secret weapon” to let people get understood. I think conflicts would be very little if we all just took the time to understand each other! And the empowerment that comes with just being HEARD!

      • How can anyone be truly understood without knowing each and every situation that this person has gone through. In the end it still comes down to pride and a lack of humility. Only through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ can we give the ability to try and understand through humility.

    • Good point Rachel, listening and hearing is so vital in conflict resolution. It is so easy to just lay into someone who just doesn’t get it. Listening and understanding goes a long way in reaching the heart. After all it is the heart that is the center of all of our conflicts.

    • Hi Rachel, I hope you are well! It was so helpful and practical!
      Mike took a class a few years ago on counselling and started repeating back to me what I said to make sure that he understands my point of view. It revolutionised our maritial communication. Of course, it means that I have to do the same for him ;).
      Then I started using this in the church, and it really helped! Just in regular conversation, when I can see on people’s faces that there might be a little bit of miscommunication happening, I repeat things back to them and ask them if that is what they meant and it really slows things down and slows down the possibity for agitation. People are generally much more quick to be angered over the past year than in. years past.

      • Oh my goodness, it’s been so helpful for our marriage too! Such an effective tool in communication.
        Seriously, people are way more quick to anger this year! I totally see that too. I think there is just so much more fighting over social media now, and people barely take the time to “reflect back”, as they’re too busy typing out an angry and self righteous response.
        Hope all is well in Paris! We’re still locked down over here in Ireland.

        • I am excited to incorporate this into our marriage. Hubby darling will wonder where his “I’m always right” wife has gone. 😉 This is something that is a huge part of my job, but I think I shelved it when I got home. No matter how good a relationship is, there is always room for improvement. Thank you, Rachel and Becky, for sharing your experiences.

        • We have been in total lockdown in Paris, and now all of France is. Fortunately, we are still able to have church. One thing Covid has done, is shown me the great change in this society. When we first came, I couldn’t pass out a tract without it getting ripped up and insulted. Now, the government is only keeping grocery stores, pharmacies and churches open – and we are full! Praise Him!

      • YES. To stop and say, help me understand. Or what I hear you saying is…is this correct? has a way of soothing a person. It is powerful. So often we listen just for others to be done speaking so we can say what we want to say and didn’t really hear at all. My hubby and I have to start doing this, I want a revolution in our marriage too <3 Thank you for sharing!

    • Good point raised, Rachel. Usually, being misunderstood is a common area that causes conflict. And I have found myself in this so often, but bless God, you took the right approach in clarifying and making sure you are understood. Typically, pride will not allow us to receive feedback, but you chose the path of humility.

    • That sounds awesome! I definitely need to practice that in my own life. As someone who was never taught how to “speak” or explain my situation, I struggle to communicate well when in conflict. Getting into the practice of explaining what I am hearing from the other person is something I must learn to do with gentleness and patients, and hope that I can learn to explain myself in a humble manner, more and more.
      It is a good warning for me as well, to admit my wrong, even if it was only a reaction to someone else’s wrong, that they may never own up to their fault or contribution to the conflict, but I am set free from guilt because I have confessed and asked for forgiveness. That is so huge, and we can forgive because Christ has forgiven us, even if they don’t apologize.

      • Hi Kayla, I also struggle to communicate well when in conflict. even more when english is my second language. I need to repeat to see if I understood well. Misunderstandings don’t help resolving an issue. Very humbling experience. It went well for me. Thank you for sharing

      • I love your point about forgiving even when the other person doesn’t apologize! Giving our grievances to God and letting them go completely. It repairs the soul damage so we can be a heart wide open to the next person who comes across our path.

        • I agree. Its so hard to forgive when this flesh wants to do the opposite, but when keeping our mind on things above, it definitely is possible with Christ. I know for myself that when I hold unforgiveness inside, it eats me up and its such a heavy burden, but when I give it to the Lord, the burden is light and easy to bear. I’m reminded of Jesus’ last words when on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” It’s so humbling to hear those words.

      • Hi Kayla,
        I think the humility it takes to come to someone in repentance and acceptance is always against what our pride naturally wants to do. I am thankful for the opportunities the Lord gives us to practice humility and what it means practically in our lives. What other way would we know what it means to live humbly unless we are given those opportunities to show it, practice it, and receive it. As we grow closer to the heart of God, we too can take on and give out what we ourselves have been given.

    • Rachel,
      Thank you for being so open and honest. I am right there with you on the conviction of this podcast. My flesh wants to scream too at the unfairness. Sharing my fault has become easier over the years, except when the person is likely to attack me with the knowledge of my sins, weaknesses, or vulnerabilities.

    • Rachel, you said it perfectly. it was humble to approach conflict in a state of humility. I forgot to mention in my podcast how difficult was to ask without me defending myself first. It was a humble experienced. the main part was to fix the problem. I realized that it was my fault most of the time. Thanks for sharing.

      • I had the same experience. Its very humbling not to defend myself and just listen to the response with the intention of repenting, asking forgiveness and seeking reconciliation. These practical questions when asked are teaching me humility at the same time to have my speech be with grace. I agree that when approaching the conflict in a state of humility is humbling.

    • Hello Rachel,

      thanks so much for opening up and sharing what you got out of this with me. One of the gig takeaways for myself as well was the idea of humility and how we need to engage with others with that as one of the primary factors. If we lack humility it seems that everything else will fall apart and we will be unable to bring healing to our own personal relationships but even more to those around us that we are trying to care for.

    • So blessed by your comment Rachel. I’m the same way. I work hard at being thorough and just and when there is complaint I want to explain my process, in detail, to justify myself. It never works, does it? In fact, the grace given to the humble is not present at all! Once again, the Kingdom of God is the opposite of what we think and practice in our flesh. Being right is not a Kingdom of God value as much as is the sacrifice of our right to be right.

    • Thank you for sharing and being transparent
      Jesus understands and hears us so would we do the opposite?
      I feel that when I remove myself from the need to be right and begin to hear the other person they are able to communicate and express themselves
      we can then pray and figure out the solution together.
      I have been in the wrong way of doing things and it only causes more rift and anger.
      We must pray before and after

      • Prayer is very important! Our prayer to God to understand? Our prayer to God to be understood? Our prayer to God to be helped with a problem of misunderstanding?
        Our prayer should be for God’s will to be done! If that is in understanding, so be it, but only God’s will will allow for every contingency. God’s will for each of us is perfect and when we humble ourselves we can accept what ever His will is. Both parties have to agree or the will of God is not accepted and used to the greater good of every man. God’s will is peace, God’s will is faithful. God’s will is sustaining and complete. Amen

    • Thanks for your comments, Rachel. Early in my marriage, I would react to comments my wife made out of my own brokenness. If I had known to stop and clarify what I thought I heard by repeating it to her, we could have avoided many arguments. Oh well, I have learned it now but still have to deliberately pause and apply it. That “old man” just keeps poking his head out.

    • Repeating back what was said is something I try to do often with my 15 year old Son. My older kids often complain that I never listened to them, and honestly they are probably right. I heard them, just never really took the time to understand them. In repeating and requesting clarification, I intend that my Son know that not only am I listening, I am interested enough to want to understand. Thank you for sharing about pride, that is something I fight to overcome every time I am in any conflict as well.

    • Rachel, you are so right. It is so necessary and beneficial to bringing clarity to the situation if we would stop and repeat back to the person what we think we are hearing them say. I don’t always remember to do this. Sometimes it is so easy to allow the enemy enter in through an open door of my stubborn pride. I want to be heard and understood and I forget to allow the other person to allow clarification of what they said is by repeating back what I think I hear. This would allow communication.

  • These are really good questions to try to get to the heart of the matter, and I have often spoken several of these throughout the years. I found that a person’s ground during conflict is something that people are so ready to defend, even the most loving Christians, because we each have an understanding of what the Word says, or how the Word has spoken to us in particular settings.

    We also tend to use what we have learned from previous controversies, in similar disagreements; and when the Word might not be fully understood but we believe we understand, we stand on it. Being able to bend is sometimes the hardest part of admitting that our biblical understanding isn’t applied in that particular circumstance, without the fullness of the Word being physically shown and seen. So, seeing the scriptures is critical to rectifying a situation, and talking about what the scripture/s mean to help us in our understanding. I think we should always assume that we don’t know all of the answers, and need to search the scriptures, even when a similar problem arises.

    In the past we have had volunteers who brought their practice of biblical understanding where we have had to ask them to refrain in order to not confuse those who are newly converted. They felt that they had to defend the way they understood doctrines (that they were taught by man’s wisdom rather than line upon line and precept upon precept), and still hold on to their belief even after showing them in the Bible where their belief doesn’t match with what the Bible says. Even after showing them where their belief doesn’t line up Biblically, they picked and chose various scriptures individually to defend their belief before storming off. It’s the storming off, causing division, that we don’t want to do; it’s heartbreaking when that happens because it leaves all parties involved with a pain that should have been avoided, by agreeing on what the Word of God actually says.

    Then at various other times when others came practicing the same doctrines, defending the same various doctrines as the others (maybe a parishioner of the same church); you start to believe that your own understanding might be wrong, and then begin to question your own understanding on other principles in the Bible. Our own understanding becomes attacked. This feeling is horrible, and has happened to me! How does one person’s understanding of what the Word means, vary so much??

    I feel that it is important to stay connected to those who are like-minded; and it’s extremely important to search the Bible before answering as Pastor Jeff said. There is nothing more embarrassing than to try to give an answer without knowing what the Bible fully says on the subject matter.

    Lastly, Question #6 has proved to be important in my life both personally and in ministry. Over the years I have been pressed by those around me to communicate my thought quickly, because me being a woman who likes when others fully understand, describes in detail (but not matriculate detail) so that those who I am communicating with, understands my reasoning. Because of this pressing, I have become, what some might think, as being short with others, when it’s actually my attempt to quickly convey so that I am heard and not cut off each time I try to speak. It’s hurtful to know that what you say, isn’t that important.
    ( 6. Maybe in the future I can say things differently? Can you help me with ideas on how I could say it better? ) <– This question!

  • I think that these are great questions, even in daily life. I feel that when you are in situations where you may be dealing with non Christians, you tend to become more worldly in how we act. I find myself becoming less Christian when people want to take their frustration out on me.
    Thinking about my sin and realizing I have had my flesh moments you realize it is usually something much deeper than that moment. Dying to self humbling yourself and realizing they have the same enemy that I have. The one who causes all of the negative thoughts and doubts, causing this person to need light in their life.
    I think being a disciple of Christ is our opportunity to show the fruit of the Spirit. My pride gets in the way often, there are certain personality types that take me 0-60 instantly. I have to stop and pray before I say another word. I put them and me in a timeout and gather my Christ mind.
    I can see how we can take things personally. But it is about helping someone else, I see the importance of making the other person feel valued and heard and that they have a say in how things go.

    • Carrie, you are very correct, being a disciple of Christ is our opportunity to show the fruit of the Spirit. And when it has to do with conflicts with unbelievers, it becomes winsome when they see us respond to such conflicts in a godly way, exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit. There is no telling how far that will go in winning them to Christ.

  • I have a very recent conflict to use. I wish I had these questions. I think they would have helped greatly. We, my husband and I, with another couple had had a conflict that we thought we resolved. We had a very long conflict resolution discussion, but apparently we did not get to everything. It was brought up about 4 months later that we had more conflict to resolve. Only now the problem was not the problem. Now the problem was that we had overlooked, in their eyes, the passing of a family member. We left the original talk thinking it was resolved. We had acknowledged the passing 3 different ways but not the way that they had wanted us and expected us to acknowledge the passing of their family member. Even though this did not have anything to do with the original problem it was apparent that we needed to apologize and ask for forgiveness for this. But we think it got to be a big deal because they still had issues with the first conflict.

    So these questions would have helped with first conflict. Each one I would love to have on hand because I can see it would have helped clarify the original conflict and lessen the chance of leaving anything unresolved. Sometimes we think a situation is good because we have had a conflict resolved only to find out days later that something still doesn’t feel good. These questions help get a greater understanding of each persons feelings on the subject. These questions also help us clean out the conflict more thouroughly.

    Many times conflict happens without any of the parties sinning. Often it happens as people grow closer in relationship and one hurts the other due to not knowing and or understanding the person yet. Conflict plus resolution equals intimacy we always say with our couples. These questions are excellent for any and all relationships to grow in understanding of each other and to a deeper relationship. Thank-you for these practical questions. They are excellent.

    • Hi Kendal, I agree these are great questions and I wish I had them in the past as well. I like that you pointed out how many conflicts come as you get to know someone better and not because either person is sinning. Relationships are messy but something that God uses for our sanctification. Those I have had conflicts with and resolved are some of my closest friends now.

    • Hi Kendal! I found these very practical questions to be excellent. This is why I signed up for this program, to grow in these areas! I understand your situation, I think we all can. There is a French saying “un train peut en cacher un autre” which literally means that when you are looking at the train tracks, you can only see and hear one train, but you have no idea how many there truly are – so be careful! So often, people smokescreen behind one issue, when they don’t want to work out the real issues. It has given undue cause for so many broken relationships. I am especially appreciative of the vulnerability, transparency and honest desire to grow in the ways of the Lord of this group.

  • This is some of the best instruction anyone could give to someone intending to reach out and help others. After many good books and teachings on the subject of counseling, it would be very easy to enter into a conflict, taking the high ground as the one with all the answers, and just making things worse by not really humbling myself and listening to the other parties. Self denial is the key to walking in the Spirit every day. But it is especially needed when entering into a conflict that needs to be resolved. “How could I say it better”, or “is there anything that I have done to contribute to the problem”, are all very humbling statements that can be helpful in the resolution. I also love the term “soul care”. It is truly a term that describes what the Biblical Counselor is all about.

    • I do agree self denial is needed when dealing with a conflict because we have to humble ourselves and always think everything is about us being right, it is about listening openly to the other person and not just what you want and being open to humbling yourself and looking at the things through the other persons eyes and feelings and not just your own. You can never solve anything if you are not willing to be open and humble.

    • So many times, our pride doesn’t allows to see pass ourselves. I think even our self talk and I am going to give them the piece of my mind only leads to the flesh. The Biblical mind like you said “How could I say it better”, or “is there anything that I have done to contribute to the problem”. It is removing the speck.

  • I was so thrilled to see the topic of this podcast, it is such a practical topic. These questions really helped me be mindful and have some type of structure and direction when speaking with others, (usually teenage girls who have to deal with healthy confrontation within the YG.) Of course I was blessed to have these tips and refocused mindset in dealing with my own relationships, specifically my marriage.
    One thing that stood out in this Podcast was the need to first address your own part in a conflict. This is so completely opposite of everything (mostly secular) that I have heard. I was always told that the most important first step is trying to clearly communicate to the other person the thought or problem that has been taking place, (mainly coming from their actions.) After listening to this teaching I can so clearly see how this is the most effective approach. As much as I am looking forward to using this in my marriage, I’m also nervous because I can be so prideful and only want the other person to see how I was wronged. Prayer for this area of my life is MUCH needed.

    • Hello, Desiree, you are not alone in this feeling of nervousness out of pride, and not willing to own up to your faults. We all need the help of the Holy Spirit in granting us the grace we need to put pride aside and make every biblical effort to resolving conflicts in humility. The scripture assures us that God’s grace is sufficient for us in our weaknesses. The tips from this podcast are indeed very helpful.

    • Yes, prayer in our relationship is much needed. I still remember a pastor telling me that ministry starts at home. This really helps me keep my behavior in check. I myself have bought into the humanist teaching in psychology. what has helped me is knowing nothing good can come from the flesh in dealing with conflict but we have to walk in the spirit and watch God produce the fruits of the spirit.

    • Hi Desiree,

      I just said a prayer for you. I pray you use this technique in your marriage.
      The Lord began dealing with the pride in me, especially regarding my husband, a few years back. I was a baby Christian and he was not saved. He actually dispised that I would do anything for God, not that he was atheist, he was Catholic and did not know Jesus personally. Pride in me was kicked into over drive every time a conflict over church or service arose. I thought I was right to be offended, after all whatever the situation, I was doing it for the Lord. But then I began to ask the Lord to help me see things the way He (God) saw them because I know that that was the only just way. I know my way would be biased and so would my husband’s so the only person who would always be right was God. God, being the good Father that answers prayers began to reveal to me my wrongs, in actions, tones, attitudes or words. I was shocked, how could I be doing something wrong if it was my husband whom was going against God. But the Lord convicted me, and I began to ask for forgiveness on the things the Lord would reveal to me. My husband, now saved, told me that it was that change in me that made him curious as to my relationship with God. Putting our self side gives Him room to work in us. Blessings!

    • It’s definitely a struggle with pride getting in the way and wanting to be right in an argument! This is when we need to remember what it says in James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and He shall lift you up.” We need to yield to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to guide us in how to speak the Truth in love with others in our lives!

  • I used to be a prideful person who wouldn’t be caught making the first move, to apologize or at the very least, acknowledge that an issue has to be resolved with another. Furthermore, I didn’t believe in seeking counsel, secular or Christian, to help me settle things with someone. Pride has always been the reason behind defensiveness and assertion to get my way. Pastor Jeff pointed out an enlightening truth, he said in essence, when there’s humility from either of the party in conflict, there’s accountability and admission for being part of the problem – therefore, a favorable outcome is not too far ahead. On the other hand, it will be a long and difficult process towards resolution in the absence of humility. Humility comes as we go deeper in our relationship with Christ. We begin to see things through His eyes and His perspective. As He increase and becomes greater in us only then will those questions Pastor Jeff provided, will make sense and be easy to ask in the midst of a conflict.
    Ironically, life and death can both be found after a conflict – death to self so the relationship could live, or, as self lives thus death and end to the relationship.
    Either way, as Jon Courson once said, “Someone has to die.”

    • This is an astute point Angelica, referring to life and death after conflict. For resolution as the end goal, someone has to die to themselves. Yet, this humbling brings God honor which should be what drives our choices and decisions.
      I love Jon Courson! He has the most infectious deep laugh!

      • You’re so sweet Audra! I’m glad to hear someone knows who I’m talking about. Referring to Jon Courson’s teaching on Resurrection, how death was necessary, first, when Christ died at the Cross for us to be saved, and then, our own self’s death, in order that He might rise and live in us.
        Relationships to make it, require a lot of dying to self. Our self’s defeat is our greatest feat in conflicts with our spouse, children and others in general. It’s not to say it’s wrong to speak up and stand up for something, but when we do, it has to be done God’s way – in polite openness, genuine care and with God’s agenda in mind for the other person and the situation.

  • I resonated so well with this podcast Jeff! As we become more self-centered and polarised in our thinking (as a society) the more we need to hear this type of teaching! When Jeff brought up his own situation where he admitted that he was a small part of the problem, it reminded me of a situation we (my husband and I) had a few years back. We had some people that were supposed to be serving here and learning from us. But all year, no matter what we gave, they took more, and more, and honestly were not doing what we asked them to do. We should have sent them home, but had hope that they just needed time to acclimate to a foreign land. After almost a year, they wanted to meet to “talk about things”, so we did. We listened and apologised for everything, assuming that what ever they felt, even if it was untrue, was truly felt on their side. They left saying they didn’t accept our apology. They left the meeting feeling like they had done nothing wrong over the whole year. We decided to split ways at that point. I can say wholeheartedly that I forgive them, though there isn’t true reconciliation. Their response was such a surprise to me, because I had given them so much. I was truly grieved. I did grow a lot through this though, and learned hard lessons. I had been treating them as I had wanted to be treated, and as I had been treated when I first came to France. I learned on a much greater level to serve the Lord despite the outcome. We have had many, many people that we’ve worked with that have been a delight, I think that is why their behavior was so shocking and grievous.
    When Jeff was talking about Soul Care, it made me think of “cure d’âme” which is the old French way of saying this. It put a smile on my face because it linked the two cultures 🙂

    • Hi Becky! Wow, thanks for sharing such a personal and relevant story. It’s so hard when you pour yourself out like that, and still experience such bitterness from the people you were trying to love! We’ve definitely experienced similar situations here in Cork. In the early years, I cared so much about people’s opinions of us and the church, and this sort of thing would devastate me. But like you, I had to learn “to serve the Lord despite the outcome.” What an exercise in focusing on pleasing the Lord rather than man! But it gives such freedom to let go, trust the Lord, and know we’ve done all we can.

    • I so appreciate what you just shared Becky! I think we can all relate to it at some point, when after doing everything for someone without expecting anything in return, and then paid back instead with ingratitude and dissatisfaction could really test our godly limits. But, it is in these ‘opportunities’ we can prove the reality of the God we serve as we follow His command to love others, our enemies, and in your case, even those whose behavior ‘we don’t get.’

      • So true Angelica! It showed me, in a new depth, how the Lord loves those who continually malign Him and mistreat Him, and filled me with a new awe and wonder for our Lord!

    • Such an all too common and sad story Becky! It reminds me of the principle of scapegoating. Jesus is the only acceptable scapegoat for our shame, our guilt, but when we follow Him outwardly and not inwardly we scapegoat onto others our blame. The oft used scapegoat is a person or persons (like you and your husband) who has served us mostly well but using one or two of their small deficiencies all of one’s own failures and deficiencies are placed upon them.
      Sadly, there can be no resolution because the scapegoat must take all the blame or the scapegoater isn’t satisfied. I agree with Jeff that it’s okay to present a plan of shared blame but in the end, we all need to agree that Christ has perfectly carried our sins and using human scapegoats will never satisfy. I do wonder though, as we, like Paul, fill up that which is lacking in us of the sufferings of Christ, whether we could be called at times to take on, without defense, all the blame and in that enjoy the fellowship of His sufferings.

    • thank you for sharing your post about a past experience. I can see you really want to serve others. I can imagine all the prayer and your own personal time that went into serving these couples. God knows what you do for His glory. Ultimately, it is God that can change people’s hearts. I am glad to hear God gave you a better experience as you serve others.

  • Great practical lessons for handling conflicts both in personal relationships and in counseling sessions. The issue about being willing to own up quickly and accept your faults, even though it runs contrary to the self-life (a lesson in humility), I have found to always create the atmosphere for a quicker resolution.
    Taking this lesson to handling counseling sessions between parties, I have found two very challenging ones in my counseling ministry as a Pastor. One is when both parties do not open up, and every effort made ends up in a roadblock, or when they both stick to their guns and claim to be right in their own eyes. The other one, which I find more common, is when one of the parties is not under your authority as a Pastor and the other is. This is the case when usually one of the spouses is a member of your congregation and the other is not, and one of the parties wants you to mediate in a conflict between both of them. Most often, the party not under your leadership will refuse to show up or when they do, they refuse to accept the biblical approach to counseling. I have been stuck a couple of times in this and presently stuck in one, where I tend not to see a way out. However, I see question #9, “Is there something I could do differently in order to help us resolve this problem?”, providing an opportunity to follow up with the recalcitrant party, and trust God to touch the person to open up for a counseling session that will see to a resolution.

    • Hi Songo. Great insight on the use of question #9. It gives the ‘recalcitrant party’ the freedom and safety to say what has probably been going thru their head non-stop since the counseling started – especially when it is asked in a spirit of humility and sincerity.

  • Pastor Jeff really brings the issue of humility into the Biblical Counseling arena in this one. There are so many times when we, ourselves, fail to admit that we are at fault, at least a little, when it comes to conflict. Dying to self is a hard thing to do but as Christians it is one of the most important things we should do. These questions will help resolve or find the problem in almost any conflict and by learning how we have hurt someone else we can start to heal the rift that we have created. Humility is something that Jesus Christ taught with so much passion, to let God be in control of every direction in our lives.

    Pastor Jeff also talked about how he admitted to 25% of the problem and the other took it as a full confession. But in his humility and bowing to a gracious God, he allowed the situation to be resolved. The only problem is that from now on he may tend to have trouble trusting the person to except their wrong and will probably be wary of interacting with the person in that type of situation again. People are so proud and God wants us to be humble.

    • I agree. God is constantly teaching me to be humble, to live in humility, and to be gentle with others. I know I cause a lot of conflicts, and I avoid a lot of conflict like a plague, but when it hits, I hurt. I have to submit to Christ in humility to confess my wrongs in a conflict, and ask for forgiveness. It is hard when the other person doesn’t also become humble and confess their own wrong towards me, and I think that’s why Christ’s love is so important, that we can show them Christ’s love through us by showing them mercy to resolve a conflict in our humility. Ephesians 4:2 is on my heart this week, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

    • James,
      Dying to self and putting on humility is hard, but you are right that it is one of the most important things we need to do. Jesus is our example and His humility may very well have been one of the things that attracted others to him. I have experienced the same thing Pastor Jeff mentioned about another party taking his admitting to his part as a full confession and that can cause an underlying hesitation to trust the person or can cause us to become aloof with the person.

    • I was struck with Jesus continual, daily call for self denial as I listened also. In fact, I kept thinking of Philippians 2:3,4: ” Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider others more important than yourself. Do not merely look out for your own interests, but also for the interest of others.”
      I am given the opportunity to count the cost every day by denying myself in the interest of others. It is a humble call.

      • Audra – I completely agree. As a Christian and as I have gone through different seasons, in my life, walking with Jesus I have settled (a bit reluctantly to be honest) in servanthood. When I find that my convictions are not the same as those around me and everywhere I turn is a hard place it is typically when I adapt a servant attitude and humble myself that things begin to get pliable and show forward movement. When I act in LOVE, regardless of what is being shown towards me, is when I feel most in God’s flow.

  • This was really good reminder for me to be a self-examiner before surgery. I often forget to look at my own contribution of sin to conflict, but I never like it to ring out for a long time.
    I have had several conflicts with my husband (minor ones) and I know we talk about how to be prepared to deal with each other to prevent a deep disturbance in our relationship in the future. These questions I will write down and bring up for the next time my husband and I have a conflict, so we can effectively determine how to better our relationship, and I can learn to become more humble.
    I will admit I am more than 70% cause of conflict, so these questions really reflect how I should respond and humble myself before others. I genuinely care about other’s thoughts and feelings and would pray that they would be honest to me so we can resolve anything that breaks us.
    As quick to say “I am sorry” to resolve the conflict, I don’t know if I am truly repentant of my behavior. I am emotionally driven, so the heartache of my wrongs prompts me to seek restoration; but I am not sure if it is true repentance. These questions will hopefully be applied to my life for true repentance and growth in all my relationships, especially my relationship with Christ.

    • Hi Kayla, good point on calling attention to the difference between saying sorry in order to resolve (or halt) the conflict, versus actually being truly repentant for our behaviour. I think the humility of being able to say sorry and admit fault can also help to soften and convict our hearts in order to help us experience true conviction. But sometimes I wonder too… when I’m telling my kids to say sorry to avoid a time out and I know they are not at all sorry but they say it to avoid getting in trouble! But praise God He gives us His Holy Spirit to not only convict us but also to soften our hearts in humility and lead us to repentance.

      • Yes, it is always good to remember that Christ gives us His Holy Spirit to convict and change our hearts. Thank you for commenting!

  • One comment Pastor Jeff made was that “Conflict might not be sin, it might be that their convictions are different than yours,” He based this on Rom 14-15 which I am going to go look at in more depth because I went through a situation exactly like this. I was accused of sin when it was a matter of opinion and not biblical sin. Numerous things were addressed and none were sin. After much prayer, Bible reading, and self-examination, I finally had to write a letter admitting to sins, but they weren’t any on the other person’s list, but rather a confession of taking offense and holding on to a wrong suffered by the other person. Humility and grace have to be at the core of what we say and do.

    I do have a question for you though. What do you do if you use these questions and get the silent treatment? I have a hard time knowing what to do when people refuse to respond or won’t participate in trying to resolve an issue.

    • Hello Donneen. Thank you for sharing your post. I have also shared a similar experience as the one you shared and I have found that when I come into conflict where there has not been a sin, it is most often that the other party’s convictions are different than mine. It is a difficult situation in particular when you are in a close relationship with the other party with which you are at conflict. However in my experience I have found it best to proceed with LOVE. An “agree to disagree” sentiment. Even if the other party eventually yielded their convictions to my own it will not be instantaneous. Therefore in the here & now I prefer to stand in LOVE and not miss the opportunity to experience joy & peace in the by & by.

    • Hello Donneen, truly, the silent treatment is always a tough one to handle, and it is an expected response in cases where the parties involved are not willing to share their hearts and agree on the way forward. I believe that the session can be postponed to enable the parties and the counselor to prayerfully seek the face of God. One of the goals of counseling is to get the parties speaking politely to each other and opening up to enable resolution.

  • These are useful, practical questions. I was able to use the questions with my husband concerning an issue that we have to navigate through frequently. It has more to do with our responses in parenting than one that exists between us personally. As we went through the list of questions and comments from Pastor Jeff, it was helpful as we talked through some issues that have been on-going and difficult to traverse through.
    The one point that my husband lingered on was seeking the Lord through Scripture and prayer. We both agreed that at the points of frustration, we have been neglectful in seeking The Word of God when we feel stuck. Yet, it is in the impossible that our Lord does His great Work.
    Psalm 42: 7,8: “Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me. Yet, the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.”

    • Hi Audra, that’s awesome!! What a great example for resolving conflict. When truth and humility come together it can only bring resolution and peace. Glad to hear that you were able to use the tools that Pastor Jeff spoke about to help settle your conflict with hubby. Great work!! Blessings to you 🙂

  • Initially when I gave this podcast a listen none of it really “hit” me. I have studied conflict resolution and apply different strategies in my work environment and was familiar with this line of questioning in regards to problem resolution. I took some time to ingest Pastor Jeff’s message and then gave it another listen. The most important factor to me, when attempting to resolve a conflict, is that both parties are willing and open to working on the issues at hand. The attitude of “winning” should be thrown out the window completely. Pastor Jeff says (12:46) “when you are walking in humility you know you are capable of being wrong.” Most disagreements arrive from an expectation that was failed to be met. Sometimes intentionally yet more often unintentionally. Many times our FEELINGS are the main culprit as through exploring the conflict we often find that one (or both) party was relying on what they felt rather than what was actually communicated. It is for this reason that I always say there are “3 sides to every story”; YOURS, MINE & God’s. Thomas Crum has written a fabulous book called “The Magic of Conflict” and I love his quote “In a conflict, being willing to change allows you to move from a point of view to a viewing point – a higher. ore expansive place, from which you can see both sides.

    • Hi Jessica, I have walked into situations before wanting to “win” the argument and those were the times where I ultimately lost. When we place our own pride and desire to be right above the other person everybody ends up getting hurt. Relying on feelings instead of facts is one of the many things I struggle with. It is so easy to get lost in how I feel and act upon that versus actually looking at the facts.

    • Hi Jessica, I agree when trying to get to the bottom of a conflict it isn’t always about who is right. I have been in situations where I was thinking I was in the right and I was gonna win the discussion, when we have mind set like that we don’t accomplish anything because most of the time we don’t listen to what the other person says. and we both loose. It isn’t always about winning it’s about listening to both sides being completely open and sharing everything with each other and getting to the bottom of things. some times when we do that it is usually our feelings that got intercommunicated or we just assumed things but we wont ever find out if we don’t sit and be completely open and honest and take the mind mentality I am right. out of your mind.

  • The comments that Paster Jeff spoke about in regards to having conflict with church staff or congregation is spot on. I have experienced this when I was on staff at my church. When this happened, it would be very confusing to me because of the fact I had little involvement with the person who had an issue with me. This was something that the Lord used to teach me how to humble, kind, and learn how to just sit and listen to the person who was struggling with me. Yes, it definitely taught me how prideful and self righteousness I could be. But, as Pastor Jeff shared it gives an opportunity to have a open heart and spirit to be empathic, sympathic, and at times speak truth in love it needed. Even though it was hurtful that someone would believe or think that I was something I wasn’t, it was a great learning life experience and Im thankful for the Lord stretching me and teaching me how to better and Godly. Being humble is a tough attribute to learn but we have the great example, our Lord Jesus Christ. This podcast was a great reminder for me always be humble in spirit.

  • Another good podcast when dealing with conflict it is always good to be a good listener and be willing to not play the blame game but to listen and try to get to the heart of the matter, sometimes feelings and emotions play a role into the conflict and we loose sight of what is really the issue. I know for me learning to listen and to not play the blame game is sometimes not so easy. I actually have to sit and pray for God to be in the mist of the conversation and I need to always remember it isn’t always about who is right or wrong. It is about solving the conflict and if we have to humble ourselves and be the bad person it’s ok because God knows our hearts and will get us through with the best resolution. I know for me sometimes it’s hard to sit and listen but I’m learning it’s always better to get to the heart of both sides and them try and work on a resolution instead of only knowing one side of it and realizing that it was miscommunication and allowing feelings to get in the way of what was a simple miscommunication.

  • Great podcast! I seek a resolution with my husband over an issue we have had for years. First of all the questions bring an atmosphere of peace. I am asking the questions and he is receiving them with a great attitude. He was able to open up and express how he really has felt over the years. I, on the other hand, was able to understand why I need to make changes. I was able to understand him. These questions are not confrontational at all. It eases up the conversation towards a difficult subject in general.

  • I am grateful for the timing of this podcast. I have been dealing with a conflict and these questions are very helpful and I will be using them now and in the future.

    It is important to understand why someone is upset with you in particular. I had a friend who did not understand that I was being sarcastic and it hurt her. When we were able to discuss it I was able to understand why she was hurt and now I know not to be sarcastic around her and she understands that I am not trying to hurt her if I am. Every time I have approached a conflict situation with pride instead of humility it ended poorly. I placed the blame on the other person and took none of the responsibility which ended up creating a greater conflict that took longer to resolve. Looking back, I wish I had humbled myself first and tried to solve the problem from the biblical perspective instead of a worldly one.

  • What a practical podcast. I will be printing out the beginning questions as well as the questions that help get back on track. I want them to become a part of who I am. If we can ask these questions in true humility, then we have created a safe place for them to speak what is on their heart.

    As soon as I read them, I had several immediate reactions. The first was an awareness that I have seen these questions in action in people whom I admire. I thought they were just very smart people. Then, I realized how I have fallen short when speaking with family and friends – trying to explain why I was right (maybe even just pretending to listen?). The next thing I felt was excitement. These questions are tools that I can use.

    Also, telling us not to rush the resolution, to tell the person we need more time to hear what God would say on this, is good. For people that like to solve problems, it is a good feeling to ‘get in there and just take care of it.’ But we have to be careful to keep our own ‘self’ out of it. If that means pausing to seek the Lord on a matter, then we should do that. It’s not about ‘me’ coming out looking like a hero. It’s about the Lord doing His work in His time.

    • I also really liked the initial questions as well it was a great way to first start at looking at yourself. From the place of humility we will step into the place that God is really calling us to be.

      Heathy and whole bringing the healing light of Jesus and His gospel to all those around us.

  • I really enjoyed this podcast as well. One of the difficult realities for so many in our world today is how we engage with conflict. It is so important for us to have tools and resources the we ourselves can step into and use to better ourselves and also to encourage those we are counseling and helping through these issues. Many times we see people engaged with listening and then jumping on whatever to tear down those around them. It is important for us as followers of Jesus to be different. To be faithful in loving with our words and helping people to process conflict from a healthy place even though it is difficult.

    • Thanks, Michael, I hadn’t put two and two together like that until I read your moment. Conflict is a part of our lives and our reaction to it, how we deal with each other in the midst of it must reflect Messiah! I am grateful for you saying it so concisely. It must be an area that I am struggling with, or I wouldn’t have been so surprised by the clarity of the point you made!

    • Hello Michael, thank you for posting. Our world world does not know how to handle conflict. In 2021 the way the world handles conflict or an opposing side to to cancel their thoughts and ideas. The world would rather cancel or dismiss rather than resolve and understand. Jesus was the great listen and knew the right questions to ask.

  • I definitely love these practical tools for counseling situations. And the purpose being to bring biblical reconciliation between the persons involved. It is good to show that each person may be contributing to the problem even if it’s not exactly 50/50 and I can see this being the case more often than not in marriages and families. Many people aren’t willing to see their faults. This is good for self examination also and I will definitely be working towards seeing how I am contributing to issues first and what percentage I am at fault for. I also liked the idea of focusing on the big and main problems first like sin, And trying not to get sidetracked. In the past what hasn’t worked for me was when in conflict my focus was greatly on how the other person was at fault, and I could usually focus on finding the one person who was to blame not the fact that two can be wrong. Listening is more important and seeking to understand the other person also!

  • I really wish I had come up with this question sheet myself years ago! I have been in the position of trying to work through difficulties with people in our congregation several times. I could have used this to raise my children! Thank you, Pastor Jeff, for this tool. I think the podcast was beneficial, and I was reminded of a marital counseling session I was asked to oversee many years ago. I had recently been ordained and was in the process of starting up a church in Portsmouth, Virginia. A friend asked my wife and me to come over and help counsel them. We sat down, and my friend’s wife began denigrating her husband, using the opportunity to unload about every flaw in his character and mistake he had made since they were married. He just sat quietly with no expression while this went on. My wife and I tried to steer the meeting back to a place where we could address the big issues, but to no avail, invariably she went back to her attack. I ended the session early, and we left feeling quite frustrated. There is more to the story than I want to go into here, but looking back, I am not sure that having this list of questions would have made any difference as I don’t think my friend’s wife wanted counsel. She seemed to be looking for a way to hurt her husband and his reputation. Very heartbreaking. What a sad introduction to Biblical counseling for my wife and myself.

    • Congratulations on your ordination, what a proud moment that is! I have only recently been involved in ministry for the last two years, with my husband who recently got ordained. Yes, what a blessing this list is. Fortunately and unfortunately I only have to deal with (usually) teenage girl conflict. What interested me about your post was just how much pride and selfishness can really hinder ones maturity. Whether the person is 46 years old or sixteen years old, their response to conflict can be much the same if their selfishness and pride isn’t dealt with.

      What a difficult spot you both must have been placed in. Thank goodness for the grace of God and Holy Spirit who drives the situation. Sometimes I leave an “informal” counseling situation and think, “Well that went horribly.” And feel as if no progress was made. It is important in those situations to remember that often times God still needs to do more work in a persons heart before their ears are really open to guidance and are able to take correction and learn. I am thankful that I don’t have to rely on all my “skills” of lack there of. We only rely on the Lord and be faithful in obeying the prompting of the Spirit.

  • I am still looking forward to asking these questions. However, I do have an experience from my last class in reconciliation. Part of my assignment was to make peace with someone by asking for forgiveness. I had just the people in mind, but God had other plans. I have a co-worker who believes in God but doesn’t care much about listening to religion. His life is pretty much walking in the flesh. We had a disagreement at work and our communication stopped. We are both fuel delivery truck drivers. During my week of praying for God to open doors to make peace with my brother or my ex-wife. Miguel shows up at my delivery point meaning he had to wait for me. I had to tell him I had just starting unloading, so he drove off upset. In my heart, I heard God saying that’s who you should reconcile with. I called him to let him know I was going to be done in 15 minutes but he didn’t answer of course. So I decided to play a small joke and text him someone had beat him to it. He immediately called me back, he was relieved it was just a joke. He showed up, I asked for forgiveness then we laughed and talked for another 45 minutes. I felt really good afterwards and God showed me a lesson on my pride. I like what Chuck Smith said “how are we going to change the world if we are not different from the world. Today Miguel and I spoke and he sounded very different. before he would complain about his Job today he thanked God for his job.

    • What a great example, I’ve been learning too that the Lord usually has other plans. It is so much more important to listen to the Holy Spirit, as you did, than to stick to plans. I can think of several occasions where I both obeyed the Holy Spirit and tried to brush him aside. The times I obeyed (especially with conflict or reconciliation) I was amazed by how smoothly things went. On the other hand, the times I didn’t listen, I look back and see how God could have used that situation and made it truly fruitful.

  • I am having difficulty with what Pastor Jeff said about apologizing for my percentage of the conflict and just dying to self if the other party does not apologize for their part. They see you as being 100% wrong. This was an ongoing problem I was having with a woman in my congregation. She was always offended by something I said or did or didn’t say or do. I would try to make peace with her and apologize for my part, trying to see things her way. I thought perhaps there was a language barrier issue or a cultural issue. However, this made her feel more empowered, more demanding of me, more fault finding with me until I couldn’t say anything without her finding something to be offended about. The last time she became offended with me over a miscommunication, I offered to sit down together with our spouses to work things out. I felt that it would be wise to have witnesses so that our words would be established and there would be no distortions of the truth. I kept trying to speak politely. However, she refused to speak to me with our husbands present but I did not feel it was wise to speak alone with her trying to resolve the issue because of the constant miscommunication. So we are at a stalemate. I feel at this point all my apologizing for my part just backfired and I was being abused by this person. I actually feel relieved that she doesn’t want fellowship with me anymore as I grew tired of feeling that I had to appease her so much of the time and could not be at ease around her. Am I wrong to feel this way? These questions are certainly helpful and I feel that repeating back to the person what I think they are saying might be effective, but in this case I think it’s too little too late.

    • Hi Indra, sounds like you’re in a tough predicament, I am praying for you. God’s Word tells us this, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). After prayerfully considering whether you’ve done all that you can do, there are times when peace is not possible. In commenting on this verse, Charles Spurgeon says this, “Some people will quarrel and it is barely possible to keep upon good terms with them. In their case we must do our best, and if after all, we cannot live peaceably with them, it will be fortunate for us, if we can move off and live without them”.

  • This was such a practical lesson this week. Taking what we know and applying it in ways that open up a conversation, invite in reflection and gently guide people to taking personal responsibility for their part in the the conflict. Jesus as the example, He took radical responsibility, our sin is completely our fault and yet he took the consequences for it. He sits at the right hand of the Father today, intercessing, saying Forgive them, they still know not what they are doing. So often in a conflict we just want to be right, instead of seeing where we went wrong, where we are contributing, even when we are misunderstood.
    Reflection, and prayer and a humble spirit go a long way in resolution. Learning how to listen and how to speak to people where they are is vital. We all see life through a different lense of perception, that has been tinted by life experiences and social conditioning and programming. WE learn a lot in a conversation when we ask people to explain in their own words what they hear you say. it is amazing how the Prince of the Air can twist words on the way from the mouth of the one speaking to the ear of the one receiving yet it happens all the time. Also our heart (expectation) plays into it. If we are a critical person, someone who looks for the worst first, most likely you will target in on that and react our of that heart posture. I personally experienced a scenario just yesterday and God showed me the misunderstanding was a heart issue. My good intention was received by a heart that did not trust, had been burned by others in the past coming at them in the same manner i was currently. Instead of listening to me and my plan and purpose, they replayed the past and the emotions took over and defensiveness was turned on. A wall was built, a been there done that and it hurt position was taken and the person was completely unaware that they were no longer listening to me but reacting to an old story/past situation in their head. No doubt it threw me off, and I was hurt as we are when misunderstood, but I just kept asking God all night last night, what is the lesson, what is the issue, what is the heart of all of this, where did I go wrong, what is my part in it, what are you trying to change in my heart. The Spirit reveals it all, some times the best thing we can do is say nothing at all. I am grateful that I had enough of the Spirit left in me to hold my tongue, not get in my flesh and go on the defensive, as I felt attacked. The world is going to throw some mud on us, daily, on the hour sometimes, and as we learn to confront ourselves and receive counsel for ourselves, God show us our reflection. And then we can truly see and ask Him to change the image in the mirror to look more like Him.

  • So many useful relationship tools in this podcast. Thank you Jeff! The nine questions are so much about serving each other in humility. I used to get tripped up (and at times still do) on how to handle accusations which I really didn’t agree were fair and just. I thought that if I admitted to being at fault that God’s will for the other person and myself wouldn’t be served well. I do understand that it’s helpful for the other to understand their part (using the percentages idea) so that they can grow but I wonder if there is even a higher calling in these situations of undeserved blame? Using Matt 5:39-48 could we be called to always give those who wish to take from us, blame us or sue us, twice what they require? Then we shall be like our Father …

  • Humility really is the key to start a lot of these conflict interactions with people. When we come into the situation wanting an explanation from the other person it can sometimes get us into trouble. When we come into the conversation in a loving, humble manner it can ease the tension that might be there between you and the other person. We need to spend time in the Word before talking to someone about conflict resolutions. The Word of God tells us to not take counsel from the ungodly but to meditate on the law! Psalms 1:1-3 NKJV “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the [a]ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he [b]meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the [c]rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.”

  • It is good to be married to a godly woman who has taught me so much. We can only take our counselees as far as we have gone ourselves and when we first got married I was so pitiful in my resolution in our disagreements. I would just say ‘I apologize’ or ‘I’m sorry’ and think that would be the end of it, many times not truly even meaning the ‘I’m sorry’, just wanting to get the disagreement over with. But my inner world was rocked when she began helping me to quit being so superficial and sit down from each other and look each other in the eye, (how many times did I say I was sorry and was not even looking at her), and “ask for forgiveness”, it was so hard to say, “will you forgive me?”. I could not believe how old I was and I had never known how to deeply and truly resolve a problem especially a serious one. One of the greatest gifts in life for me has been to be married to a truly godly woman.

    • Thank you for being vulnerable in sharing this brother! I also at times tend to say sorry so that the dispute will be over, instead of actually thinking of what went wrong in a given situation. Proverbs 18:22 “22He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.” I am so glad that God blessed me with an awesome Godly wife with all of the things we have been through in the past three years, I know that I would not want to do life with anyone else!

    • “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life…Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised….” A wise rabbi once said that the husband is the sun and the wife is the moon. She is a reflection of the husband’s light. The wife reflects who the husband is and the Lord uses her to develop the image of Christ in him if he allows it. May the Lord bless your marriage!

  • This episode was so perfect. It covered so many of my questions as far as resolving conflict. It also gave me reassurance on some of the techniques have used for a while but got similar results to those Pastor Jeff mentioned, such as, not admitting to any wrong doing because I admitting and asked for forgiveness for my percentage. It is taken as a full admission of guilt rather than taking responsibility of actions. I am currently facing a family conflict that feels out of control ad this episode spoke right into my situation. I would love to hear more episodes like this on “drawing out”.

  • I think this podcast is a great reminder that whether we are in conflict ourselves or helping those in conflict around us, that these questions are a great tool and guide to coming to a resolution. As long as their are people and we are doing life with others, there will be conflict. We are not all going to agree, but how we approach it and our heart towards one another and understanding one another is what may make the difference. Humility is something that we tend to lose sight of when we are approached with a problem or issue, because usually our pride is hit first. I know that my first response is a reaction. As I grow more and more in the Lord I tend to take longer and longer pauses to hear what others have to say, and to sift through their words and see if there is anything that I need to grab hold of and bring before the Lord to correct or convict. Instead of giving an answer before I hear the matter out, I need to listen in wisdom and speak in wisdom. I think it is really wise to heed what Pastor Jeff said, that it is okay to take some time away from each other and the situation and pray to bring it to the Lord to reveal what He wants to reveal to our hearts. We want our answers to be genuine, honest and full of God’s grace and will. Such a great podcast and reminder.

  • When my husband and I have been conflict or some type of talks about the future, sometimes I do not have a answer. It might take time because I need to go to the Lord process what is going on to have a sober mind of the situation. My husband has learned that I need moments to process in prayer and seeking the Lord.
    We have a poster on our home that quotes Ephesians 4:2 “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” This verse means to use is to talk about our faults because we love another, that comes by being humble, gentle, and patient.

  • This podcast was very helpful in so many ways especially in my marriage and in humbling me. When I asked these practical questions, the response was very humbling because my initial response was to justify my actions as opposed to being slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to wrath. The intention of listening was to seek areas in myself to repent and ask for forgiveness and for the Lord to do some spiritual surgery in my heart according to His purposes. I realized that the questions get people talking and responding in ways that also reveal what’s in the heart. Praying and asking the Lord to reveal the flesh, whether me or the other person, and then seeking to reconcile or resolve the conflict biblically really takes humility and walking in the spirit of God. The end result of the conversations were more in the spirit rather than the flesh which helps a lot in bringing peace, repentance and a renewing of mind. This is where it all begins, me being counseled by my Wonderful Counselor, then I’m able to share what the Lord is showing me through His word. I do notice that its a lot of me dying to self when going through these practical questions, which is very humbling because this flesh wants to say and do what it wants, selfish. This was a great podcast!

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