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What You'll Discover in this Episode:


Conflict Resolution and Unrepentant Christians


How do you deal with conflict resolution and repentant Christians?


What do you do after you've exhausted all scenarios of Matthew 18, Luke 17, Matthew 5? What do you do when you've done the ideal way to respond to conflict? To communicate and reach resolution and restore Christian fellowship; to be humble and willing?


Maybe you faced the difficult task of trying to resolve conflict with those who will not change their behavior, or they’ve sinned, but they will not repent or just divisive, won’t come under church leadership or they will not cooperate. What do you do?


Remember, that conflicts need to be dealt with biblically. It isn’t easy but the conclusion is a restoration of love and Christian fellowship, time to heal and trust to be built.


We need to bear with one another, extend love and be able to get along with people the best of our ability and not necessarily be forced in relationship.


What if the other person is unrepentant, rebellious and unwilling to place themselves under church discipline or leadership?


From the past podcast episodes we have learned that there are three levels of conflict:


  1. Personality differences
  2. Conviction or righteousness matters
  3. Because of sin

To further understand how we should deal with this, let's look at trends in our current culture:


  1. Blame shifting – people shift the blame to others and own no contribution in the conflict
  2. Talk to everyone about the conflict - Not going directly to the person with whom the conflict is. This is resolved by working directly with them even if time has passed, even if you’re not finding resolution, even if you go step-by-step. You continue to circle back.  
  3. Pick up and leave – cutting relationship and abruptly leave.
  4. Refusal to walk in humility – a person is determined to show themselves right, sometimes an apology isn’t even enough to certain people.

In 2 Timothy 3, “…men will be lovers of themselves.” This is self-love.  This is conflict resolution in the age of outrage where there's blame shifting, cutting relationships off and refusing to walk in humility abound.  


How do we deal with these challenges? What do you when people are uncooperative in conflict resolution?  The first thing is to be aware of this.


“When a person refuses to extend forgiveness, if the one who has taken steps to reconciliation cannot obtain forgiveness from the other person, then he/she has done all that he/she can do under the circumstances, the next instructions in the Bible regarding that relationship are: Romans 12:18. All you can do is what God requires you to do and leave the rest with God.” 
- Competent to Counsel by Jay Adams page 227. 

If it is possible as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men. If you’ve done all you can, there needs to be a point in time where say, “Lord, I turn this over to you. I’ve extended every bit of biblical wisdom and empowering by the Holy Spirit. I have humbled myself. I have attempted to help but they won’t follow through.”


There comes a point where you have to say to one or the other, “Look, we’ve done what we can. Let’s leave it God.”


Hopefully, in time, people will mature. Certain people when they’re younger and haven’t gone through battles of life, they will hold on to grudges. When bitterness takes root, it is brutal, deadly and poison to that person’s soul.


Some people grow and they’re sanctified and circle back around and learn to extend the mercy, grace and forgiveness they’ve received because they know they’ve committed offences and once had sinned against another, brought conflict against another.


Sometimes when you leave it with God, in time, God grows the person and brings reconciliation down the road. So, don’t give up. Don’t give up on people. Don’t give up on what God might do.


“…if it is possible, as much as it depends on you, leave peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18  


Resources:

A Classic in the Field of Christian Counseling Competent to Counsel has helped thousands of pastors, students, laypersons, and Christian counselors develop both a general approach to Christian counseling and a specific response to particular problems. Using biblically directed discussion, nouthetic counseling works by means of the Holy Spirit to bring about change in the personality and behavior of the counselee. As Dr. Jay Adams points out in his introduction, "I have been engrossed in the project of developing biblical counseling and have uncovered what I consider to be a number of important scriptural principles. . . . There have been dramatic results. . . . Not only have people’s immediate problems been resolved, but there have also been solutions to all sorts of long-term problems as well." Since its first publication in 1970, this book has gone through over thirty printings. It establishes the basis for and an introduction to a counseling approach that is being used in pastors’ studies, in counseling centers, and across dining room tables throughout the country and around the world...



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  • This is yet another practical stuff that we deal with on a regular basis as counselors, pastors, and individual Christians living and relating with one another at the family, business, church settings. True that as we live and interact, we will be dealing with fellow Christians of differing levels of spiritual maturity. This is one thing that has come out strong for me in this podcast. Sometimes it is easy to assume a certain spiritual level for the people we deal with within the church setting or elsewhere, partly because of how long they have been in the fellowship or because of the titles they carry. And so, we expect so much from them, or we treat them and relate with them as such. I have encountered situations where supposedly ‘mature’ Christians because they bear ecclesiastical titles, would quote scriptures to justify their unrepentant stand, as it relates to forgiveness of an offending brother/sister/partner.
    I have also been in situations where the ‘safer’ option for me was to pick up and leave because of the pain. While it is sometimes very tough to remain and seek reconciliation, I see that Romans 12:18 puts a burden on us, and we can always seek wise counsel to settle our differences and trust God to do the work of restoration in His church.
    Another very important truth Pastor Jeff brought out in the podcast, and worth noting is the issue of love. If we love someone the way Christ loves us, we will be willing to forgive, and if we have experienced God’s grace, we will also want to pass it on to others.

    • You are so right Songo. Those who refuse to repent or reconcile just need our on going love. Our anger will not help them see their need for repentance. Sometimes a good heaping shovel of coals will do best in bringing them around.

    • Only God knows the true condition of the heart and some people may be present at church, but in reality are from the Lord. There are a lot people who pay lip service to the Lord but their lives and heart are far from Him. I think we tend to assume that people in church are godly or know the Word but often that is not the case. There are a lot of Christians still feeding on milk instead of solid food (the Word) after many years. Evidence of this became horrifyingly evident within our body this past year. It was a wake up call to our church body that God does allow the tares to grown among the wheat and he reveals such tares in His time. The book of Jude became a real scenario for our church.
      In spite of all this, we are called to put on love which is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God working in our hearts and lives.

    • The different maturity levels also stood out to me very strongly. I am learning more and more the impact spiritual maturity has on dealing with conflict. Holding this in my mind increases my grace when dealing with stubborn spirits. It might truly be that they have not walked long enough to understand the folly of their actions, and that given time their hearts will turn back to the Lord.

  • Very informative podcast, thanks, Pastor Jeff. I found the discussion on trends in our “age of outrage” culture particularly interesting. Today’s “cancel-culture”, didn’t just suddenly appear out of thin air within a social vacuum, rather it is the product of a humanistic man-centered shift in thinking that has burgeoned in America for over half a century. Over the decades we have seen the self-esteem movement on steroids, as a result of this trend, there has been a distancing from personal accountability and responsibility as core values in the culture. Sadly, this tendency to blameshift is certainly not uncommon within the body of Christ, it is part of our Adamic nature. The psychologizing of the Christian faith has left its mark on the Church, in terms of a seismic shift away from God-centered biblical counsel toward human-centered psychological counsel. As biblical counselors, we should, when confronted with unrepentant believers, make every effort on our part to seek peace (Romans 12:18), and then prayerfully turn it over to God. As Pastor Jeff said, perhaps the unrepentant believer will eventually come around during a later season in their walk.

    • That is a good approach Sumit. Turning them over to God will often soften them in time. We often have a desire to fix things now, and just messing things up worse. God has a way of working on the hearts of men that is much more affective than our choices of action.

      • That is what really stuck out to me. I have such a desire to resolve conflict quickly but sometimes it takes Holy Spirits intervention and time to soften the hearts of men! This gave me permission to be ok if not resolved!

      • I totally agree. Thanks for sharing Harry. Yes, turning them over to Go will often soften them in time. I know for me, it took about almost 3 years to humble myself before God and allow His spirit to fix me rather than me fix myself. Over time and constant prayers, God faithfully begins to sanctify one’s heart and molds it into the image of Christ. It’s so true that “we often have a desire to fix things now.” Praise God for His faithfulness! Thanks for sharing, Harry.

    • True, Sumit. The unrepentant sinner as he gets mature spiritually will realize his earlier folly, and with the help of God come around. With spiritual growth, feelings and experiences get evaluated in the light of God’s word rather than experiences evaluated according to feelings, which is one mark of immaturity. We should as we turn them over to God, continue to pray for their turn-around.

      • Well said, Songo. Praying for the wayward brother or sister’s turn around is of utmost importance. Our flesh often tempts us to write people off as beyond redemption, but that doesn’t reflect God’s heart toward the prodigals. We must keep in mind that we also have walked in disobedience at certain times in our lives and God never gave up on us.

    • That is right Sumit, this disposition to blame shift is part of our Adamic nature. Adam and Eve were good examples of it. Unfortunately , it won’t get better. the Bible warned us in 2Timothy3 that in the last days people will be lovers of themselves, proud, despisers of good.
      Thank you for sharing Sumit

    • Absolutely agree with you. The number of self-help books on the shelves of our Christian bookstores are a ‘testimony’ (not in a good sense) to what has been happening the Christian world. Through the decades, I have seen Christian bookstores going from Bibles, study books, music, and Sunday School curriculum to a plethora of “How To Get What You Want To Get, Be What You Want To Be, Love Yourself The Most” books. It is easy to see how ‘we’ have followed the world with self-help theories, and how they quickly move us to accepting worldly counselling. I pray that the message of Biblical Counseling takes root in the hearts of our people and our churches. We need a healthy, Christ-honoring, Bible-based people – The world cannot give that to anyone.

      • Hello Myrrh, I agree that the number of self-help books have replaced the Bible in so many areas. When I was growing up in the 70’s I heard my family speaking about Psychology and how they target each behavior, and “how to respond.” I didn’t hear anything about the Bible unless it was chastising or condemning me. Simultaneously, I had Aunts who were part of the rallying during the Civil Rights Movement, and I received so many conflicting messages that cause a serious amount of confusion. Not understanding life; that women should be esteemed and equality turned into suppression of the “man” and fathers were useless; women could do better without men… So many messages that came from this movement and Psychology.

        If people would just read the Sermon on the Mount, there would be so much cleared up; I know when I read it, I felt such peace and truth come from Jesus’ teachings that I realized that this really is “The Truth.” The world causes confusion and division, but the Lord brings peace. We, as Biblical Counselors in training, have a lot to learn and do; I know, at least, that I do, and I will and I am taking this very seriously. I apply all of these podcasts to my life first, to see my error or obedience. Then I want to take these truths into the world and cause all that I come in contact with, to hear the Word and realize that their life matters; and not in the worldly sense.

        • Kristi, that is so awesome, “applying all of these podcasts to my life first, to see my error or obedience.” Many of us fail to do that and that is the first thing we need to do is get ourselves right before we can help others with their problems. As humans we automatically want to assume that we are ready to give counsel instead of using the counsel that we have received to prepare. Wonderful action is your life that we should be prepared to do.

      • Myrrh, you are too correct! I don’t even have a Christian bookstore left to go to in our area of the Phoenix metroplex, so it is only getting worse! We have taken the idea of individuality way past where it is healthy. We are the Body of Messiah and the Scriptures tell us over and over again that we each have a role to play and that they are all important to the life of the community. How we have gone from that idea to the modern spectator event that we offer up as “service” in our “churches” is beyond me.

        • No… lol. I am so not ready for that yet. I do, however, speak to someone any time the opportunity arises. I love that God is preparing so many for this ministry. What a blessing and privilege to be able to speak into the lives of people.

    • Hello Sumit, I 100% agree with you on all of this. I think there is a trend in the Church were human-centered psychological has crept in especially with these Ennegram and Meyers Briggs which are theories and not facts. The Church has been sucked into the Barnum Effect which this test will give them “Self-Discover” and justifies it as a tool for their Christianity. The Church needs to becareful when it starts looking like the world.

      • Yes it does Jocelyn! I am hearing many things about the Ennegram online that indicate it’s not best for Christians to use. Even before reading any of these reports, the Holy Spirit showed me that it wasn’t for me. I had a Christian friend that wanted me to take it so she could better understand my personality and it could benefit our friendship. As I read the questions I thought, this test is measuring my flesh responses! Why would I as a born-again believer in Christ want to answer questions about my “old woman”? We should be striving each day to walk in newness of life! I am so glad the Lord has been opening my eyes!! Glad he is opening yours too.

    • Thank you for sharing, we are scared of speaking, teaching, reproofing, and being bold in the Gospel. I worked with a pastor that refused to receive any correction and decided to cancel our friendship instead of working on a response, allowing secular influences to separate us. Because he held that position he felt justified over anything and it affected the congregation. We are praying that he sees his faults and repents as I am not the only one who was casted off for speaking

    • It is true sometimes the best thing to do is let God take care of them, because ultimately He is the only one who can soften their hearts. We live in a self – sufficient, self reliant, world where everyone would rather shift blame or run then accept responsibility for their part in what ever is going on. When a disagreement usually involves two people to some point. God in time can get to them. Sometimes it’s hard to do that because we think we can fix things, I know for me it is and half the time I make things more complicated till I realize I can’t do this, so I prayerfully give them over to God.

  • My wife and I were involved in such a counseling situation in the recent past. A married couple who was having conflict had gone through four different couples in them church who were trying to help them, before they came to us. Not that we had any special skills but all were just hoping that someone could click with them. They would repent and reconcile and less than a week later they would explode into a new conflict that bordered on physical violence. Both parties were caught up in an endless cycle of blame shifting, therefore nothing ever got resolved. Eventually they “ghosted” the whole effort and ended the marriage. This is a sad story because so many people invested time in these two to no avail. These two had a lot of head knowledge about the Bible, but seemed to just stuck in not being able to walk in the Spirit. I still pray for them every day. If there is not a heart change, they will just carry the same problems into a new relationship and cause another train wreck.

    • This is such a sad testament of blame shifting Harry. I am so humbled that you pray for this couple every day. God is still using you in their lives, though they have no idea. What a gift you are giving both of them.

    • Oh isn’t that the way of the world, going from one train wreck to the next and on it does. We cause so much soul damage along the way when we live in unrepentant sin. Sadly, they never truly trusted in the one who saves. Jesus is the answer. Save and surrender to sweet salvation. Allowing for His sweet redemption to settle in and wash away all the sin. It all starts with taking personal responsibility and unless that is done at the foot of the Cross, one remains a carnal Christian. I will commit them to my prayers. It breaks my heart to see marriages crash and burn, when no one is willing to humble themselves in the sight of the Lord.

  • Romans 12:17, “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.”
    I was reading Romans 12:8 as Pastor Jeff was using this verse for this podcast, and my habit, I read the verse before which so encouraged me because it gives direction on how we are to live before everyone. We are called to live honorably. This puts a fine point on some of the petty differences that we (the church body) can get caught up in and what a shame because it is such a distraction from focusing on the main thing and that is Jesus Christ.
    I needed to hear Pastor Jeff’s wisdom in making sure that I don’t just approach someone one time but after much prayer make the approach for peace again. Often, these difficult relational issues requires our persistence in prayer and approach. It can be difficult but should we fear approaching people over honoring God?! That is the question I put to myself when I have a conflict.

    • Yes Audra! And what you wrote inspired me to think this. No one likes confrontation and knowing you may be going up against someone’s demons is challenging. Yet I cannot help but think of David, with a sling and a stone. God’s Word is the stone and He wants us to do some slinging sometimes. We must have the courage of David and the heart of fire young David had for God, fully trusting in Him. The enemy whispers in our ear, fills us with fear and doubt and says ‘who do you think you are’. All we need is 30 seconds of insane courage and God will bless our obedience and we will have loved our brother to the highest order. With God’s Love. Agape Love. Love them like Jesus, He wasn’t afraid to confront in truth and love and we don’t have to fear either. Praise be to God!

      • Yes! God honors our willingness to take those steps of faith that require our trust in Him. This puts all the glory in Him and not self.

    • I love your comment and added context to verse 16. Our eyes have to first look at ourselves and our actions before we can confront another. Once a habit of dying to self is developed, the petty things begin to fade away. I too need to be reminded of persistence in pursuing peace. It is so easy for me to quickly give up when I meet with resistance. Your comment reminded me of Proverbs 29:25: “the fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD shall be safe.”

  • Biblical counseling, how many non-christians are going to go to a biblical counselor? I ask because if they are not Christian why would they want to be subjected to the Bible (the word of God) when most of them know that they are already in the wrong by not believing. I would have to say that quite a few non-believers are not going to have the humility that Pastor Jeff is speaking of to assume a portion of the blame. If not then, giving the situation to God is the only alternative.
    Now, Pastor Jeff did talk more toward believers than non-believers but with an emphasis on being more mature in the walk. It takes a more mature Christian to see the need to take a portion of the blame and not be so conceited as to think that the responsibility of reconciliation or blame is solely on one persons shoulders.
    Toward the end of the podcast, Pastor Jeff talked about how a person will talk to every one else about the problem (gossip or backbite) or just close up and leave without any attempt to reconcile. I have seen this in the church myself, conflict in the church and instead of trying to find a peaceable outcome, attendees will just up and leave without anything said or discussed. The Bible teaches to resolve conflict, to humble yourself to the needs of the other as long as the conflict does not go against what the word of God teaches. Humility is a big word in the life of a human being and there are so many people who do not know how to be humble much less to accept blame. Not being able to help others resolve conflicts because of their own pride, give it to God.

    • Hi James, I believe that most churches have people that attend regularly, who are not believers. They are drawn for various reasons, but are holding onto something that keeps them from making the decision to follow Christ. I served at a church where a lady came for over ten years, mainly because she liked the people and she knew that her daughter needed a Christian education, but she was not a believer. After over ten years, she gave her life to Christ, and has been faithfully following Him since.
      We, as ministers, develop relationships with people in the congregation, and when they are suffering, they often come to us for counseling, whether they are believers or not. They know that we care for them and that we will try our best to help them find a solution. However, most of the non-believers that have come in for counseling have asked for it because they either would like to marry a Christian or are already married to a Christian. And that is our starting point. We always make it a point to share the gospel in the very first session.

      • Very well said, Becky. The situation you have described is typical of a lot of churches today, where we have a mixed multitude, who are there for various reasons. As pastors with oversight for these people, we should seek every opportunity to disciple them one-on-one, show them that we care, and come alongside them when they are in any trouble. They will, as God helps them come to maturity in the faith.

      • Becky, you are so right and I am sorry for my rant. I guess I was blowing off some steam. You put the focus right where it needs to be, on sharing Christ with everyone, not just the ones who seem to care for Him. Thank you for setting me straight and giving me the right perspective.

  • Another pod-cast in which he brings another aspect of counseling. Counseling those with another person in the equation. They may be friends, spouses, co-workers, co-ministers… et al. Finger point, blame-shifting, innocence proclaiming – we would hope that Christians are ‘above’ this. Sadly, it is prominent even among Christians. We have all seen people ”ghost’ the church, or even just their Christian friends, because their feelings have been hurt. We may have even done it ourselves some time in our lives. That type of vulnerability and humility can be easier in theory than it is in practice, but as the Bible says, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity” (Psa. 133:1).

    His admonishment to not listen or ask for all the details in some circumstances is wise. Even though human nature may want to hear it, we don’t always need it. It is much more respectful of the counselee for the counselor to only obtain the necessary information. How wonderful it is when integrity is lived out in the lives of Christians, especially in those who have been entrusted with ministry to others.

    • I agree, if we as one who counsels is not walking rightly, there is the temptation to be drawn into the snares of sinful life. I agree and plan to heed Pastor Jeff warning, I agree it is most wise. We ever have to check our heart and bring out motives before the Lord. We only need the gist of the story not all the details to bring wise from God to people. We walk a thin line all the time when counseling those who are deeply entrenched in sin. It is so easy to get some on your holy garments.

    • True, Myrrh. Integrity is everything, as they say, and indeed “how wonderful it is when integrity is lived out …in those who have been entrusted with ministry to others”. As counselors, we are dealing with the souls of people, and anything that will take them outside of the counsel of God should be avoided, and a lack of integrity in the lives of leaders, is one thing that drives people from our churches.

    • Amen! the need to hear the juicy details is not always needed and isn’t beneficial information. To be able to have th integrity to stop a conversation that is not Godly take courage and wisdom. thank you for sharing, blessings!

  • Such a timely episode as tomorrow marks three weeks to the day since my sister has iced me out after bringing a word of exhortation to her. I am praying everyday for reconciliation.
    This time around I wasn’t brought into the conflict emotionally, yes disappointed that this was her reaction, but it didn’t injure me as it has in the past. As much as there is a lesson in it for her about taking offense, there is a lesson here for me as well. I am more filled with the Spririt than I have been in times past and so this time I only feel compassion, the hurtful emotional triggers in me do not activate now, God has protected my soul from damage, and all I feel is a deep compassion and sorrowfulness for my sister who just hasn’t grown enough yet. I have lifted her up to the Lord, I have done my part for peace and now I pray and wait to give God glory when that blessed day comes that she calls to say I am sorry, I didn’t mean to shoot the messenger. There is such peace that comes over you when you leave it to God, when you bless and release into the arms of Jesus the one who took offense by your delivering them God’s word that will change their heart and increase their Christ-like character.

    • I am sorry that your sister responded in this way, Christi. I am praying that the Lord speaks to your sisters heart and allows you two to have a better relationship than ever before, with more tenderhearted, honest communication. People often forget that before anyone rebukes or exhorts anyone else, there is much anguish and prayer to be sure that this is from the Lord. Lord bless you Christi for loving your sister enough to say something, and continuing to hope the best for her in this long wait.

    • I have a similar situation. I do have all the emotions that you describe. I guess I’d love to know how this transformation took place in your life? I think for me it’s pride. I want her to acknowledge that I am speaking truth and not to discount it because it’s me telling her. This, of course, is not agape working in me but self-interest and self-love. Thanks for sharing Christi! You helped me work out the root!

    • We thank God Christi, for the spiritual growth you are experiencing, even as you said that this time around you were not injured as in the past. And also do not forget that every trial is supposed to refine our faith. May the Lord continue to strengthen and increase you and at the same time touch the heart of your sister, leading to reconciliation.

    • Beautiful words Christi. I also am going through difficult times. I learned from this podcast that we give it to God. We should not harbor resentments. As much as we can we live in peace with people. I also learned from you Christi. Your attitude is a teaching for me as well. Thank you for sharing.

  • I am so glad that you taught on this! It goes along so well with the other homework! I found the whole teaching to be very “on the pulse” of what we, as ministers, are dealing with every day, which made the conclusion all the more powerful. That while others might behave in this way, we don’t. Honestly, we know what it is like to be on the other side of the stick! So, for those relationships where we could not obtain reconciliation, we continue to hope. For our hope is in the Lord who always accomplishes the work that He began in us, and if the other person is His, He will bring them around… eventually. If they aren’t we pray for their salvation as that is the most urgent need. As I was thinking of the subject of this podcast, and the “absorbing the sin” of unrepentant or divisive people around us, Romans 8:18 came to mind Rom. ” For I consider that the sufferings of this present time nare not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. “

    • So beautifully expressed Becky. The phrase “absorbing the sin” is a powerful one and is so Biblical! It reminds me of Jesus’ exhortation in Luke 6, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
      This whole passage is very much the opposite of what we want to do when we are at odds with someone. We want them to pay, Jesus says, “you pay.” Then, He promises us rewards in heaven–in reality we don’t lose anything.

  • Thanks Pastor Jeff. I have some questions for those who would like to jump in!

    Regarding not listening to “evil speaking” during counseling sessions–

    I haven’t know what to do when an angry wife wants to present her case against her husband. I know she wants to gain my sympathy which I am hesitant to give knowing there are always two sides to every sinful interaction so I listen without a lot of feedback. I also see that when a wife chooses counseling, she is often looking for is permission to divorce and so she comes into the counseling session with a list of all the ways she has been sinned against. When the tirade begins, how do I stop it without leaving the impression that I don’t care that she’s been sinned against? And, when I do interrupt, how do I explain my interruption?

    • Hi Carolyn, I feel your pain. It is a sensitive topic when a wife is sinning against her husband by speaking dishonorably about him. I have found when is occurs, to just stop the conversation take to Provers 31:26 ” She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” and discuss it. The hope is to bring the peace she needs and awareness of the sin she is doing towards her husbands. It is always vital that the conversation is about her and what God wants for her not what she wants for herself.

    • These are my questions too! Love this. In my counseling thus far I do listen. I allow a lot of ugly to come out of the wives. Usually by the time they are coming to me they have been so wounded and not heard and not seen. I know from experience being the counselee having a counselor tell me that it was a two way street in my marriage even though my husband was the betrayer at the time only gave me a boat anchor as I was already sinking. Being told my sin at time when I was crushed betrayed and so hurt did not go over well for me either. I stopped going to that counselor. My husband didn’t like what the counselor had said to me. All of it true but at that time it only caused more harm. So maybe I listen too long? But women need to process and be heard. They need to gain trust. So I listen then always let them know they are heard and seen. I acknowledge their experience and their wounds.

  • Conflict resolution and unrepentant Christians was such a good conversation. This is such a problem in the church. The humility and willingness it takes at times is just not there. Thank-you for teaching that there can be time and a process. Thank-you for teaching that some people are not willing and or ready to take responsibility for their part. Although I have encountered these situations it just helps to hear others have too and give permission to be ok with an unresolved situation and what to do with that. And also hear about all of the inappropiate ways people deal with it today. Opening my eyes and ears to better at dealing with the difficult things.

    • I agree, it was good hear from Jeff that there will be people that don’t come forward to repentance, and that we need to deal with that in a Biblical way. I am a “confess, repent, restore immediately” type of person, and I always get confused and hurt when the issue isn’t resolved as immediately as I wanted it to be. My fleshy nature is right there with me, even when I want to do good.
      Allowing love to cover a multitude of sins is a teaching I must practice. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pastor Jeff’s comments on evil speaking, is a hard truth. Living in a voyeuristic society, where everyone is posting their life on social media, it has made us wanting to know all the juicy details. This is something as “biblical counselors” we should not give into this sinful behavior and not feed our FOMO. Our goal is to care and guide those who are suffering and help them find the healing and reconciliation that is needed for healing. I love the saying “God wants to make us holy, not happy”, and that should be expressed when evil speaking is taking place. We are to always remember to be the best ambassadors of Christ and not allow sin to happen during a counseling.

    • Hello Michelle,
      I posed this question to my wife the other day – I asked, “I wonder what kind of life we would have without the internet?” And the truth is if the internet was only used for the good of people, what a glorious life we would have compared to not having it. But the way humanity has handled things (some anyway) has been very tragic, to say the least. I appreciate your comment – God wants to make us holy, not happy. I can’t agree more.

      • I remember thinking this same thing in the late 70’s: what would life be like “with” the internet. The news about the possibility of the internet being available to everyone was a topic on the news. I even had dreams of confusion after thinking about this being reality, and it was horrifying!
        Life before the internet was much more simple, realistic, and caused us to look at each other face-to-face. We had to be creative and think about things without influence from evil. We played outside together and took pride in expecting others to be moral. Kindness was practiced as we were held accountable to others, otherwise we lost friendships and felt the loss, which caused us to apologize in person and be a better friend. This was only one of the good sides of not having the internet.
        I often wished that we could go back to a pre-internet world.

        • Even growing up in early 90’s all of this was true for us as kids ! We would play outside till the sun was almost down, and had friends where none of us had smartphones or internet. It was a lot more simple to actually connect with true friends rather than having all of these “friends” on social media. I totally agree! We need to get back to trusting others and being kind and honest to one another!

    • I agree MichelleR! I believe we’re all guilty at one point in wanting to hear someone’s ‘dirty laundry.’ There’s something about the juicy details of others that human beings are sinfully inclined to enjoy. I’m glad though for one thing, as Christians, we know we’re on the right track when we don’t treat gossip as normal or natural, instead, as Pastor Jeff said, “we don’t need to hear the details when counseling.”

    • Pastor Jeff’s warning, to not allow too many details to enter the counseling setting, did stick out to me. In talking with my children about conflicts they have had with their friends; I can see how knowing all the details can be detrimental to giving them good advice for resolving the issue. We can easily fall into siding with them or enter into gossip.

    • Michelle, you are so right! I sometimes find myself drawn into the details when I so not want to be drawn in and it is a struggle. My most difficult struggle with this is when my daughter comes to me about struggles that she is having with my son – in – law. He is a marine combat veteran suffering from PTSD among other things. I find if I can steer the conversation away from the details, I can better point her to God and the scriptures, but when she starts to give me the details, I begin to get angry and feel my flesh taking control. This was a good reminder for me on how to conduct myself so I can be speaking by the Spirit of God rather than my flesh.

      • Thank you for your comment. My hurt goes out to your daughter and son-in-law. PTSD is very difficult and at times hard to handle. Being a mother as well, it does take everything in us not to have a harden or bitter heart when someone is treating our loved ones unkindly. Thankfully, your daughter has you to help her to discuss her burdens and guide and lead her to the Lord. Keep strong and be encouraged that the Lord has a plan and reason for her, her husband, and you. Blessings!

        “My heart is confident in you, O God, my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises!” Psalms 57:7 NLT

  • Great podcast! One bible verse that made me reflect on conflict resolution and unrepentant christians. 2 Timothy 3 that in the last days people will be brutal, despisers of good, haughty, disobedient to parents etc. In a personal way, I get emotional when people act like that to me. Is good for me to pay attention to it so I must remind myself not to take this too serious. I must not forget the Bible warned us about it. I would have to remind myself that we don’t fight against people but against the rulers of this world.
    Pastor Jeff said it is not easy but the conclusion is a restoration of love and christian fellowship. “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” Romans 12:18. If we leave resentment in our hearts, that resentment can turn in bitterness. Pastor Jeff says it very well, when bitterness takes root, it is brutal, deadly and poison to that person’s soul.
    If we can’t find a resolution to the matter, because of unforgiving hearts or we just can’t get through them, then we leave the rest to the Lord. Hopefully down the road they will have a change of hearts. Pastor Jeff said not to give up.

    • Restoration! Yes, and amen!
      It can be hard when we find to go to someone when we have been wrong or have wronged someone. But whether it is pride or fear that want to stop us, we need to speak with them in love.
      The portion of that verse, “as much as depends on you…” says so much more than I understood it to mean before. Whether our words are accepted or not, resentment is a bitter house in which to live, and the onus is on us to forgive… …regardless. I’m sure we have all walked in those shoes!! 🙂

    • Oh dear! My prior response to you got messed up when I ‘cut and pasted’ it from Word. This is closer to the ‘real version’:
      Restoration! Yes, and amen!
      It can be hard to go to someone when we have been wronged or have wronged them. But whether it is pride or fear that want to stop us, we need to speak with them in love.
      The portion of that verse, “as much as depends on you…” says so much more than I understood it to mean before. Whether our words are accepted or not, resentment is a bitter house in which to live, and the onus is on us to forgive… …regardless. I’m sure we have all walked in those shoes!!

    • Hello Karen,
      That is an interesting choice for a verse and as I read 2 Timothy 3, I always felt that Scripture would pertain to just the outside world and not the church, but I feel like the church overall is affected by a spirit that tends to cause people to rile quite easily. Maybe since being in ministry I see all sides of our church now but I wonder if I am right about this? Shouldn’t the church be secluded enough from how the rest of the world runs itself? Yet we are also challenged with the changing times around us! Let us work on forgiving one another for the sake of God’s Love!

      • Good question! Shouldn’t the church be secluded enough from how the rest of the world runs itself? Good response! Yet we are also challenged with the changing times around us! Let us work on forgiving one another for the sake of God’s Love! We begin by forgiving in our heart.

        • Agreed! It does start in the heart. That’s where God does His finest work! Thank you for bringing this to where it needs to be.

    • Great reminder Karin, we are warned that we don’t fight against people but against the rulers of this world; wickedness, lovers of themselves, boastful, arrogant… Is it possible to “restore” what they may have never had? In this case, there might be demonic possession? Jesus said that if they don’t receive you, dust off your feet and move to the next town. So, knowing when to move on is the question; when do we decide to move on is what I have been contemplating over past situations that caused harm.

  • I think we can all relate to those who live in unrepentance even if they have caused hurt in others’ lives, hoping to blameshift away from their own issues so that there is no need for them to be accountable.

    We had used to work with a volunteer who used to run all our women’s ministry activities but people avoided her a lot because she brought personal troubles from home into the church environment. She always seemed to remain in this constant flux of contention with just about everyone.

    I decided I needed to confront her so I took a witness along to verify what was discussed and the meeting didn’t end well. We attempted to get through to her in hopes of getting to a place of reconciliation but she was simply unrepentant.

    So a short time later I instituted a 4-lady, board of women to handle all our women’s ministries activities and asked the other person to step down. She ended up almost splitting the church over her hatred for being accountable toward what God’s word teaches in how we are to treat one another.

    I think a lot of people are now relieved over the Leadership’s decision to remove her but there is this wake of trouble under the surface that seems to still exist – kind of this spirit of bitterness still coming from her. I pray she sees what damage was caused and for her to also be free of it as well. She’s a nice person otherwise, but a bad leader of others. Not everyone is cut out to serve in ministry – some are, and some are not.

    • That comes to remind me of a passage from Matthew 12:43-45 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
      I think this might interpret with an unrepentant person, who has an empty space that gets filled with evil when the Holy Spirit does not fill their house. Where she was not willing to be humbled before the confrontation, maybe one day God will soften her heart and bring her back. Pastor Jeff brought up the passage from Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” If there is a lingering of bitterness, I pray all who were involved would hear from God, if there is anything that needs to be forgiven, I pray there would be a time for seeking forgiveness. Those situations can be so sticky and hard to handle. Thankfully our God is bigger than any issue and He has the answers to deal with them.

      • I so agree Kayla,
        God is bigger than these situations. Love the verse about taking time to help people face contentious issues between us and them. I’ve often wondered if some people won’t take communion for the same reason? I do believe facing the issue of bitterness being uncomfortable as that is to do, is better than living with bitterness 24-7. I have done that, and it feels like it consumes you until the problem is faced. Thank you for your prayers too!

    • Hi Sam,
      I have to admit that I appreciate your examples and what resolution was made. I know that this isn’t going to be the same resolution for everyone, but it helps us to see what could happen, and how we could also handle situations and what we could expect to happen.

      We had a volunteer cause so much strife amongst those who attend outreach, and even after telling her and her husband that their response wasn’t biblical, for months they caused more problems from behind the scenes. Recently (one year later) I am still getting texts and phone calls from various people and all I can do is ignore it…according to biblical counseling, I should approach them again, but after what they did before, I just can’t bring myself to mentioning a re-approach to my husband because he, as my husband and the pastor, said that we should put this situation at the feet of the Lord and ask Him to cause change in their heart. Situations like this are truly tough.

      • I feel your pain for sure, Kristi. I think unrepentive people give us two choices. The first is to continue to pray for them or the second thing is to maybe ask them to move on to another church. If your church has experienced damage that is beyond repair, and if you have to approach them again and the same damage will occur all over again creating an even worse situation, leadership has the right to remove the person the one single time, and deal with the backlash, but then they are gone from causing any future problems, at least directly as they did before and hopefully not anymore at all. Some people just live for contention and feel others will be those who are wrong, but then they feel they are right about everything regardless if they are hurting others or not. We hope one day our churches will be a safer place to gather. This is our continued prayers you and I lift up to the Lord. I hope your situation improves for sure. Thank you for sharing.
        Sam

  • Thank you so much for this podcast. I was very encouraged by the exhortation to not give up on people. It is so easy for me to become discouraged when I see someone choosing to remain in a sinful state when given the opportunity the repent. Being reminded that maturity plays a big role gives me hope. The Lord never stops pursuing a heart, and He is working behind the scenes softening what I might perceive as impenetrable. I am also encouraged that I am only accountable to maintain peace as far it “depends on me.” Once I have followed the steps provided from the counsel of the Word, I can release and rest in the fact that God is going to deal with the rest. It is a burden I do not need to carry anymore.

    • Hi Liel, I was so encouraged by that exhortation as well. I think the reality is that a lot of my disappointment is wrapped up in my own inability to “fix” someone or at least play some small part in the resolution. But I just need to be faithful to whatever the Lord calls me to, and trust that as you said- “the Lord never stops pursuing a heart.”

  • There was a recent conflict I was involved in and I saw all of the typical responses take place from different people in the organization. I also struggled with each response to a varying degree but mostly with gossip. For me it seemed easier to talk to several different people about the problem and ask for advice than it was to talk to the person I had conflict with. It is so easy to follow our fleshly desires in situations like this. The last thing I wanted to do was humble myself and take responsibility for my part in the conflict. Like pastor Jeff said everyone usually has some part to play in conflict and we need to humble ourselves and acknowledge it before we can truly resolve the problem.

    • Hello Rebekah, there is wisdom on receiving wise Christian counsel regarding the situation. And going back to God with the counsel and having Him work through the problem.
      “By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.” – Proverbs 13:10

    • Hi Rebekah, gossip is definitely one I so easily fall into as well. I think that when it comes to conflicts I am involved in, I’m so eager to get the approval of those around me, that I subtly put the other party down so that I appear as the “right” one. And like you, I go to others for advice (more like approval!) before talking to whomever I had a conflict with. Praying for more humility in my life!

      • I notice I struggle with the same thing. One problem I find in going to someone for advice, in addition to potential gossip, is that people are usually not willing to tell me the truth about my fault. They would rather take my side, or at least appear to because they want approval just like I do.

    • Hi Rebekah,
      I understand, “easier to talk to several different people about the problem and ask for advice,” because I have done this as well; I tried to understand my part, if I had a part, and how to handle it appropriately by gathering opinions of what the right responses are. It all seems logical because we don’t want to confront a conflict with more conflict, but find resolution and move forward.

      My take-away from this part of the podcast was: Matthew 5: 22-24, But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother “without a cause” shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

      “Without a cause,” stuck out to me, because I have experienced a “cause” but only talked about it once, and didn’t go back again to try to reconcile. Humbling myself to go back makes me feel like I will stir up strife and bring danger to myself and others in one of the situations that I was involved with. The other situation, my husband told them that we would not be returning; then when we seen one of the persons by himself and tried to show kindness, he almost ran from us as if to admit that there was purposeful conflict. This I just don’t understand and it hurt so badly that I had to just forgive, ask God to help me forgive, give it to Him, and move forward – that was a process and brings fear when I think about going back again to speak to them. I just can’t bring myself to do it because it all seemed like an outright attack that would bring on more if I went back.

    • Rebekah, I can relate to what you said. I have struggled in so many areas. It is so hard to confront people. It is really important that we seek God before we have those encounters, but really is a scary thing sometimes. Our flesh can cause so many issues that sometimes we can’t even see ourselves. It is great to have a supportive group in your church to give support but defiantly want to be careful with sharing details. The best way for your support would be prayer to handle the situation and scripture study together to find how to handle the conflict. Thank you for sharing. God Bless you!

    • Thank you for your transparency, a good mentor of mine said that when we recognize our unbilbical behavior, our mistakes, our sins and shortcomings it makes a world of difference to those around us, we are not perfect and although you may have had a better response you are human and will make mistake what makes a difference is your reaction after and during. Thank you again
      God loves you ,p

    • Rebekah – I am humbled by your honesty – thank you for your post. I have also struggled with workplace gossip and actually found the workplace, no matter if it was a hair salon or a construction site, to be where I encounter the MOST gossip. There seems to be something really humbling when ONE person in a conflict admits fault and takes responsibility…almost like a domino effect. There have been times in my life where I have admitted a level of fault or taken responsibility for something as a reverse psychology tactic in order to get the other party, involved in the conflict, to do the same. Yes, maybe a cheap trick; however I find that when I do this it’s mainly a trick on me. 🙂 I start off by offering my fault and forgiveness to the other person in an effort to get them to meet me half way and do the same…and most of the time it works. Either way I am ALWAYS left feeling better and lighter to not have the conflict looming over me, weighing me down. I read this anonymous quote recently and it really spoke to me, as I have been prioritizing working on my close personal relationships: “A relationship with no arguments is a relationship with a lot of secrets.” To be in relationship with anyone deems that we must work together to resolve conflict or peaceably agree to disagree…on any level there must be mutual respect in order for a relationship to exist long term.

      • Hi Jessica! Your post made me think about how relationships that have never experienced conflict are very surfacy and do not have much depth. If we spend any real time with others, eventually disagreements are going to come up. May we be quick to take responsibility for our part if we’ve committed any sins and agree to disagree if we just don’t see things the same. How sad it is in the Body of Christ when there are schisms and breaks in fellowship. If we are walking in the Spirit and relying on the Lord, He will show us a way to keep the bond of peace.

    • Gossip was one of the things that I fell into easily in my 20’s &30’s, and not even really intentionally. It just tended to happen among women when they get together and start talking. Eventually you are sitting there thinking, why didn’t I say something to stop the gossip? Why didn’t I walk away? Why didn’t I change the subject? Even recently I had the opportunity to speak up and I didn’t. And the whole way home I was so very convicted! I should of been the example, I should of been the mature believer to speak words of life. But instead I was silent. I didn’t join in the conversation, but I also didn’t stop it either. And these were all believing women and even leaders. It is so easy to get caught up in. But I want to be one who leads conversations that build up, that believes the best, that speaks in love, that leaves others with a fragrance of Christ, instead of a bitter taste in the mouth of others. I think it just takes those of us sho know better, to pray, and to be bold, and loving, and the example. I pray this for myself. Thank you for your honesty, because I think we can say we have all stumbled in the area of slander and gossip.

    • Been there lots of times, Rebekah! It is tough to swallow pride and admit being wrong, but it makes life so much easier! My wife will call me out on something, usually something minor that, if I just said I was sorry, would be over and done with…But when I’m in a bad mood or, more accurately, when my old, fleshy man runs the show, I won’t apologize until we are both angry and frustrated. Then I will finally say sorry, but it would have been so much better to have just humbled myself, admitted the error, and apologized. I am 61 years old, and shamefully, it still happens.

    • I agree, it is very hard not to follow our fleshly desires. We usually want someone to tell us how right we are and how wrong the other person is. I have noticed in myself that when I am most inclined to seek the approval of others is when I feel conviction for my percentage of fault but am looking to someone to convince me out of it, and therefore, avoiding me having to take action (humble myself and ask for forgiveness).

    • Truly appreciate your honesty, Rebekah. It takes great maturity to be honest in dealing with our spiritual blind spots. Talking to a person directly isn’t always our first inclination, our flesh wants to “vent”. If you’d ask my wife, she would tell you how many times I’ve come home from work and engaged in a lengthy vent session, rather than deal with the issue directly. At the end of the day we’re human and we mess up. The important thing is that we humble ourselves when we blow it and follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance going forward.

    • Yeah gossip is an easy sin to fall into because it seems like everyone around us is complaining about something. In those moments it is very hard to not jump right into the complaining ourselves about a particular person. What I find strange is that most of us Americans don’t realize that gossip is more than just a sin that only women deal with. I deal with the same temptation to badmouth another person especially when someone else is complaining about the thing I was thinking. Thank you LORD for your grace!

    • Thanks for sharing, Rebekah! Yes, I agree that its so easy to follow our fleshly desires in situations like this one you mentioned. I can relate as I had also gone through a similar situation in the past. Our pastor today taught on Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This verse puts it all into perspective. I realize I am the chief sinner and yet He forgave me and continues to forgive, so I too must extend that same mercy and forgiveness to those who’ve hurt me. Grace, mercy and peace. Thanks for sharing!

  • For the last time in this course, thank you so much Pastor Jeff, for all your teaching podcasts! ‘I have been counseled’ as I seek to become a counselor myself, learned and grew much more in homeworks. The pointers you gave in this Conflicts podcast relates to all of us and provides exact biblical wisdom we will need sooner than later.
    It never fails to amaze me how God’s Word contains all the answers we need in life, especially on relationships. No matter how complex a life issue might be, the rest and solution we’re all looking for is found in Him, in His Word. A child of God does not need to decipher the Word for answers, as He’s already revealed it to us. So we can be assured, whatever conflict each of us might be facing, Pastor Jeff’s reference verse in Romans 12:18 where it says, ‘if it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men,’ would give us the guidance we need to deal with even the most difficult, most traumatic, most severe person or situation. Very simply, the Bible is like a “one size fits all,” if we’re willing to “put on,” what He offers.

    • True Angelica, that is definitely a convicting verse, romans 12:18, Gods main desire for us to live in unity and at peace if at all possible. 🙂 not always easy but possible

      • Yes Leslie! This verse is very convicting and worth remembering in the midst of conflict. Our flesh wants to assert its rights and have our way. I am learning that when we obey and choose to follow His ways regardless of who’s right or wrong, no matter how unpleasant and uncomfortable it may be, the satisfaction that comes from His Peace and Rest is incomparable beyond measure than winning the conflict that leaves us mostly alone and miserable – and not at peace.

    • That is a great scripture. Living peaceably is something that we have to think about everyday in the world that we live in. It is opposite, we have to be the light drawing people to Christ. Our fruit will be attractive to people that are hungry for Christ. Conflict is something that we will all face and how we handle it is a reflection of who we are in Christ and what someone can have if they surrender. Thank you for that. Have a blessed rest of your week.

    • Angelica I LOVE how you describe the Bible as “one size fits all”. I will definitely be stealing that one for future use. I believe in the adage of “If it’s new, it’s not true. If it’s true, it’s not new.” God’s Word has such a magnificent way of maintaining relevancy through the years and centuries. The Bible has laid out a sufficient base per all of our humanistic needs and quandries in specific to inter-personal relationships. As I have grown in years and experience I have seen through many examples that life is not about what is happening to me, yet about HOW I choose to respond to it which will determine where I end up. Blessings to you!

      • Very wise words Jessica! In saying, ‘how we choose to respond will determine where we’ll end up.’ In our new life in Christ, what goes on in our hearts comes out in our words, actions and thoughts. As in computer language, ‘Garbage in, garbage out.’ Knowledge of our God through His Word is the key to setting our hearts right. The condition of our hearts in every situation, in a conflict, shows who we belong to.

      • Amen Jessica. I loved how you said that life is not so much about what is happening to us rather than how we choose to respond to it which determines where we’ll end up. I needed to hear that right now!

    • Yes! “the Bible is like a “one size fits all,” if we’re willing to “put on,” what He offers”. People think of the bible as an old fashion history book, not applicable to modern day living. Little do they know that it is our “owners manual”. But just like a products owners manual, it’s probably tucked in a drawer somewhere and only pulled out as a desperate measure because something went wrong in our life. It’s the sad truth.

      • YES! Fun fact…the root “manu” is latin for hand. “Manual” meaning “of the hand”. Definition: to set free; to lend a hand in freeing someone; to release from someone’s hands. To me this gives so much strength to the word Emmanuel – God is with us, his hand on us. Through His word we are set free.

    • Thanks for sharing Angelica, This pod cast not only is good as a counselor but also gives us instruction on how deal with our own conflicts the biblical way. I never really realized till I started taking my classes just how much the Word does give instruction to everything in life. Everything is found in Him, and His Word. but sometimes we are so into self that we think we can do things on our own, I used to be like that but know after really getting in the Word not just in for my classes but everyday for myself. It give the instruction all I have to be like you said is be willing to put it on. Every morning before I leave my house I try and put on the full armor of God so I can rely on that instead of myself, although every day brings many conflicts and different things, I know I can get through them as long as I don’t try to rely on self. Some days are harder then others, but I do know the tools to find the peace. I just have to put it on.

  • This was an amazing podcast and timely. 🙂 Conflicts will always arise one way or another between believers, and it’s good to focus on the reasons why some resolutions don’t work out. Like blame shifting, I have been a victim to that and I know how easy it is to blame shift rather than own up to your part of the problem. As well as just dropping off and leaving, refusing to fix it. That is also a bad way to handle a situation or conflict because God desires that we overlook offenses if we can and move on, not holding grudges and becoming bitter.

  • Differences in personality and convictions has certainly been a tough one as a newly wed. My husband has quite the contrast in convictions and personality – which I am thankful for – but often I find myself disagreeing and butting his head over things that may not pertain to righteousness sake. This podcast was a good reminder for me to overlook an offense, and if I can’t, question if I have love for them and if I am acting in love.
    As for counseling, it is important not to get caught up in the slimy details of situations. I like to know things for the sake of knowing to better understand, but how far is that fishing line and how big of a fish am I really searching for? Being reminded that it isn’t my place and that details won’t resolve an issue really helps focus my priorities.
    And last but not least: Don’t give up, cast it all to God – who is the authority over all – and continue to follow Christ. That is a major theme that is easier said than done, but so rewarding for me when I do rest everything entirely upon God. He takes care of all things, in His time, and I get to rest as He makes me lie down in green pastures (Psalm 23).

    • Hi Kayla,
      Having differences in convictions is a great point because this allows us to learn empathy; we can sit down with our spouse and talk about why these convictions are important. We can also study the Bible together and determine if our conviction is warranted, or if we should change our mind. That’s the good thing about having a husband who loves the Lord; He will seek the scriptures and talk about it. It is also bonding in the sense that, when we share conversation, that intimacy causes a closeness that is like glue. That intimacy is the same that we learn to have with the Lord when we read His Word and pray. We are His bride.

      I recently heard a biblical counselor from B.C.F. say, “Thoughts are like an untrained puppy, put a leash on our thoughts. If we don’t put a leash on our thoughts, they could turn to sin.” For this reason, I no longer want to pay closer attention to the details of someone’s explanations. Like your fish, the line must be shortened to catch only the fish and not all of the weeds it’s hiding in.

  • Another great podcast Profess Christianson! I have actually experience this in my own life. I had a friend that I was close with at the time. In my heart, I have forgiven her. Within our conflict, in the area I knew I was wrong in I apologized. On her side, she refused to see what went wrong her side. The first time we made peace. The second time she was still holding on into bitterness for something I thought we talked about and resolve. We have Matthew 18 the situation but there is no resolution due to her pride and bitterness. To this day, we are not friends but we are sister in Christ. In my heart, I have peace over the situation as she comes to my church. I still serve her like Jesus would.

    • Hi Jocelyn, I am so sorry for that situation. It is difficult and I will be praying for your friend. Pride is a difficult thing to crucify and it causes so much hurt to those around you. I went through a similar situation and I came to the same conclusion that I would continue to love and serve this person as Jesus would even though I am no longer friends with them. It is truly freeing when we can just give it all to the Lord and place it in His hands.

  • Trends in our current culture are: Blame-shifting where people shift the blame to others and own no contribution in the conflict; People talk to everyone about the conflict and do not go directly to the person with whom the conflict is with, even when time has passed and had not found resolution; People pick up and leave and abruptly cut off relationship; People refuse to walk in humility, determined to show themselves right, where sometimes an apology isn’t even enough to certain people.

    This is one of the reasons that I wanted to study Biblical Counseling; the secular world will tell you to do all, or most, of these things verbalized differently, but Christ is all about peace and peaceful relationships with all people. I am still learning about the “go directly to the person with whom the conflict is with, even when time has passed where there was no resolution originally.” How many times do you go back? If you tried and they avoid you, how many more times do you try? If they continue to do harm, do you still go back?

    I feel like I have done all of these before coming to Christ, which gives me the ability to understand when people are talking to me about issues. These, listed as trends here, are the kinds of details that I am looking for when people begin to tell me about issues; and because of my upbringing and being educated in the school of hard knocks, I was given the ability to relate. Knowing how to make changes, and making changes in my life came from the decision to first look at myself, repent, change, and think about how Jesus would tell me to act; my first go-to was the Sermon on the Mount. This was and still is liberating!

    There is one area that I struggle with and that is with confronting someone. I have always chosen to just forgive, move on (avoid), pray for them, love them from a distance, and not be confrontational. Even in the last 2 years I felt that I had to cut off relationships because of how harmful they were to me, my husband, ministry and volunteers. Instead of walking in humility, I walked with pain, while trying to avoid the people to the best of my ability. I believed that when you’re talking about church leaders doing the harm, they should be aware that they are doing harm and it’s taken as being purposeful – because they are church leaders. Also, when someone who claims to be a Christian becomes carnal and makes threats, texts at all hours of the night, causes others to call and text, breaks a car window and cuts a gas line on separate occasions, and slanders you because of your refusal to get involved in someone’s argument – you believe they are capable of doing serious bodily harm…how do you approach or re-approach someone like that? Why would we want to approach people like this? Aren’t we just asking for more harm? Shouldn’t we just forgive in our heart and put it in God’s hands? Listening to this podcast, and thinking about approaching these people just caused a sense of fear within me. I believe it’s important to know when to cut off a relationship, and if maintaining a relationship is smart or safe; otherwise, we’re just asking to be harmed.

    Sorry Pastor Jeff, I understand what you’re saying here and it makes me wonder why I now feel like a magnet for attack. Is avoiding them the issue that Jesus wants me to work on? Are these trials to help me to learn to speak with biblical authority by confronting each issue? Am I too trusting? I have issues with trust because of these reasons above. How do we handle our own trust issues with people who are in church leadership, and those who have all of the right answers when it comes to knowing what God’s Word tells us to do, but doesn’t do all of it? And how do we approach individuals who claim to be Christians, yet they cause so much damage physically and tries to cause damage with slander? I need help with this one please. 🙁

  • When Jeff mentioned church discipline, it reminded me of a time in my own church, several years ago, when we actually carried out the whole Matthew 18 process on an unrepentant member of our church who was living in open sin. My husband is the pastor, and he tried many times to talk with the person, but they refused to repent. He then involved the elders, but again no repentance. Finally, he informed the person that he would “tell it to the church” (Matthew 18:17), and the man in question said go for it, nothing would change his mind. My husband was so heartbroken (this was a dear brother whom we loved very much), but he went ahead and called a church member’s meeting and shed light on the sin. I was soooo nervous and I even asked my husband not to do it, but he wanted to be faithful to Scripture, despite his own fear and reluctance. Well, a few months later, the unrepentant man came back to church, confessed his sin, and was restored! He has been walking faithfully with the Lord ever since, and is involved in ministry too. Praise God that He knows man’s heart better than we do, and He has no fear of being “cancelled”!

  • This episode was so helpful. It was both convicting and encouraging to have the trends spelled out. Thank you, Pastor Jeff, for clarifying these trends. In looking back at my life, I can see where I have used every one of these trends to excuse or deny my fault. It is freeing though to ask for forgiveness of the Lord and move forward. On the other hand, it is encouraging to see where I have done things right and been successful in following the Biblical model for reconciliation. I was especially encouraged with the idea of not giving up on reconciliation, but going back and trying again to resolve the issue. Finishing with Romans 12:18 lifted a burden from my shoulders as there have been times in the past, where I have tried over and over to reconcile, to no avail. As Pastor Jeff has said many times, I must look at myself first if I am to help others.

    • Hi Donneen. That is an encouragement for when we find ourselves in a conflict with someone who is not willing to reconcile at that moment. We can have hope that God is continuing to work in that person’s life as He is doing in our own. There have been many times where I was the person most at fault and I am grateful that God revealed that to me and for His grace.

  • Another great podcast. I really think it is so important to really understand who you are in Christ before you try to lead someone else. Even the best will occasionally have conflict. I think the most important thing to remember is you are a representative of God. Our Lord died to give you the Holy Spirit to walk in light.
    People that are not taking responsibility, probably have no real relationship. They are blinded by darkness and do not even see that they are part of the issue. We do have a very self centered, impatient culture. I have had people getting angry over strange things, no tolerance for anything.
    Focusing people back to the word, getting them into that relationship isn’t easy and sometimes there will be conflict. Standing your ground if someone will not take responsibility and putting them in a time out to work with God, usually will bring people to the end of themselves at some point.
    Thank you for this wonderful journey we have taken. See you in the future. God Bless everyone in this amazing class!

  • This was an amazing point of conflict resolution and unrepentance, are we sitting with people to hear about how bad they are or how bad they need Jesus. It is an enemy weapon that is used in these settings, and we fall for it more often than we should and it causes the need for counseling to shift from guidance to soap opera. I enjoyed when Pastor Jeff clarified that when we are confronted with these situations we should communicate and begin to shift others from blameshifting into understanding that everyone has a part of this problem and together it can be resolved, but Jesus is needed and we need to understand how to accept his help.
    I also got clarification about situations where there will never be a request for forgiveness and that helped me because of a family situation, we will leave it in God’s hands
    we did our part biblically

  • This podcast really designated with me for several reasons. I lost a wonderful friendship partially over my pride back in college. Even though both of us were immature in ways, I knew scripture and was suppose to represent and obey Jesus. Yet I let my pride from my hurt get in the way of forgiving and apologizing. I definitely can relate when Pastor Jeff spoke about pointing fingers and and not taking responsibility for our actions.
    Since then I have tried to remember how important it is to be humble and try to draw attention to when the flesh is pulling at my emotions and when the Holy Spirit is promoting me to live in humility.
    This gives me comfort especially since my conflict resolutions usually have to do within youth relationships or sin. Often times it seems like there is really nothing else to say to them or do. I often thought I was “giving up” but now after hearing this Podcast I see that sometimes the Holy Spirit and the Lord need to deal with their hearts before these kids are really able to have open ears and an open heart for correction.

  • Throughout the last year or so “Cancel Culture” has become more than just an entry in the Urban Dictionary…it has become an epidemic in our society. The pandemic and reduced our exposure to each other and constrained communication. I have found that many people have just written others off who have posed them offense or possess a differing opinion. In particular I witnessed many examples of this during the election months. You would assume this toxic trend would end up correcting itself as things “return back to normal” however that is not what I see from my vantage point. I see many communication forms being changed forever and our communication forms becoming more and more virtual. Social media has made this “cancelling” of others who have differing opinions from ours very easy. If someone disagrees with you and is outspoken about it, you can delete them or unfriend. The ease of this trend is creating the dilemma of many not caring enough to work through conflict, take responsibility for their wrong, or even just being “the bigger person” and offering the olive branch of forgiveness. CANCEL CULTURE is a petri dish for all of the issues that Pastor Jeff mentioned in this week’s podcast; blame shifting refusal to have humility and gossip etc. As a Christian who works very hard daily to make sure my light is turned up BRIGHT for all to see, it has been my cross to bear, as I see cancel culture picking up steam, to work diligently at building up the relationships with those who are near & dear to me. Whether or not we have a difference of opinion or of matters of the heart – I try to meet them where they are and love as Jesus loved, with a Spirit of inclusion. The words of my Grandma have been echoing in my ears as my personal armor to this growing epidemic; “Mind your own store.” Romans 12:18-19 has been a touchstone for me as I have navigated through all aspects of the trials & tribulation of the last year – Jesus take the wheel! THANK YOU Pastor Jeff & fellow students for your teachings, insights and witty banter. Blessings to all.

  • Conflict is always a difficult subject. But conflict is inevitable as long as we are in this world. We can even have conflict within ourself, to where we shift blame to God or the circumstances around us. We have enough sin in our own flesh to cause conflict, but then add others into the mix, and we see the condition of our heart and what our flesh is capable of. It is only by the Spirit of God that we have the ability, the desire, or the power to not shift blame on someone else, and take ownership of our part in the conflict. We are family if we are in Christ, and reconciliation is what the Father desires among His children. How sad it must be for Him to see those whom He has set apart for His will to be divided by slander, mockery, or strife.

    The “pick up and leave” is the trend among so many believers. I have seen it many many times. Too many times. When someone says they are leaving a church, I ask if they are being called to leave, or are they leaving because of hurt feelings, neglect, not connecting, or offense? So many times it has been because of hurt feelings and conflict, and rather than resolve the problem, they avoid it, by leaving. Could you imagine if we did that every time we were offended by our children? Our husband? Problems don’t leave because you move, they only travel with you. I have learned not to make any major decision in anything if I have unresolved issues. If emotions are high, I am unsettled, or there is a feeling of urgency of fear, I don’t make a decision in that moment. I pray, I wait until I am at “baseline” emotionally and I am filled spiritually. It is so easy when we are offended to look for those to join in our offense. So we seek out those fan our flame rather than those who will call us to correction and restoration. Oh, how we are to have a spirit of humility, which is opposite of pride. I pray that the Lord always gives me a spirit that is quick to forgive, correct, and resolve. I want to do what is right before the Lord and allow Him to have His way with the situation. A great reminder Pastor Jeff. Thank you for this weekly podcast.

    • Kristine, I really liked what you said about not making any major decisions if you have unresolved issues. I am not one to hold a grudge but I have made decisions to say things that I have later regretted. If I could just keep my mouth shut until I am at “baseline” like you said, it would be so much easier to talk through conflicts with humility rather than having to attempt to reconcile with someone who does not want to resolve the conflict due to hurt feelings. This has been a hard lesson for me.

    • I so agree with you Kristine concerning people leaving the church. It is so easy to “bounce or ghost” as Pastor Jeff described. Going gets tough and it’s easier just to take off. You share great wisdom in your recommendation to not make major decisions if there are unresolved issues, emotions running high, feeling unsettled or fearful. Very good advice to wait and pray until you are at baseline and filled spiritually. I love how you explained that so well.

  • Pastor Jeff’s comments about the difficulties in providing Church discipline really spoke to me this week! Very few people really understand the idea of a committed relationship with a community of faith. They have taken the consumer mentality into a place where it doesn’t fit. If the local church meets their perceived needs and keeps them entertained without taking up too much of their time, they might come again. However, if the church gets too demanding or says something they don’t like, they move on to the next church to see what it offers. It’s as if they are shopping for the best deal on a car, and if this dealer doesn’t give them what they want, the one down the street will. With that lack of commitment, any attempt at discipline is met with anger and is usually followed by their “feeling released” from the congregation. It makes me very sad.

  • This week I have been doing a devotional on “dangerous prayers”. When I listened to the podcast today, Pastor Jeff spoke about blame shifting and not taking any responsibility for the conflict, the prayer of King David came to mind. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thought. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139; 23 – 24). I thought of two people in my life that I am having a conflict with. I said this prayer and the Lord revealed a critical spirit in me. I felt convicted that I needed to make another attempt at reconciliation before deciding that I have done all I can do. I realize that all conflicts involve blame on both sides and no party is guiltless but sometimes it’s difficult to see your blind spot. Either someone else has to point it out to you or the Holy Spirit reveals it directly to your heart. Usually the blame on each party involves pride.

    • thanks for your comment. I love when I hear God’s counsel on someone’s life. I really like that verse of Davids’s prayer. God has also shown me that I have pride in choosing who to reconcile with. I reconcile with people for my benefit but God wanted me to reconcile with a co-worker. And God really opened a door that day it was an amazing experience.

  • I am grateful for the opportunity to learn at CCU and be mentored through these podcasts. I get the opportunity to help others and also get counsel myself. Reconciliation has been a part of my life now and it has felt like another opportunity to repent. And acknowledge the faithfulness of God was to forgive me. However, God has shown me that I can have pride in choosing who to reconcile with. I struggle when I feel they are false accusations towards me. But after this insight about conflict, I am able to discern blame-shifting. I am thankful for my new identity in Christ that has given me new hope, love, and new words to say. I no longer identify with the old me and the problems it brought. I have let go of blame shiting things on my past and I no longer identify with them. Dealing with unforgiving people has always helped me be more conscious about that person and give them their space. however, in the body of Christ, we should be different and should be treated biblically.

    help me to know the person better and allow me to give them their privacy

  • I have discovered that I do not like conflict! I steer clear from it and let it slide if it pertains to me. However, I am not good at ignoring those who come to me telling me about their situation either. I am not one to give my opinion on it or even go tell anyone else about it, I just listen and today I learn that that makes me a sinner also. I will have to work on not getting into details because though I don’t necessarily ask, many people like to offer way to much detail about their conflicts. Like Pastor mentioned, blameshifting is the new norm. I am not very popular among the youth (my kids or their friends) because I am the type to say own your fault and ask God to help you change the wrongs in yourself. Not what they want to hear at all, they always want to blame someone else and change someone else’s faults but never see their own. I’m truly blessed by these conflict resolution podcasts, thank you Pastor Jeff.

    • I enjoy hearing comments from different personality types. It helps me understand people better to show them admiration. My personality type is hardly emotional and mostly logical INTJ”. I search my personality type on Briggs Meyer Test. It helps me understand myself better. Because my personality type is so rare people are constantly misreading me. Anyway, I kinda understand why you avoided conflict because I avoid being the center of attention. I actually dislike my birthday because of it, it’s weird, I know lol.

  • I have been involved in a few conflicts with a few different people and for me, back then was to go to everyone else or just leave and humbling myself was very hard. I used to let my flesh be my guide. I can see the difference know because know I find it easier to just go to the person and try and resolve whatever the issue is and if we can’t get it resolved try and not leave angry and just leave that situation to God and let Him do the work. Leaving used to be so easy for me but not anymore I feel bad if I leave on bad terms with anyone.

  • There was a lot of information in a short amount of time in this one! It was a good reminder that thing do not always go perfectly as planned, and that is ok because God is in control! We always have a plan of how everything is going to work while we are trying to work through conflict. Isaiah 55:8-9

    New International Version

    8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
        neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

  • What a powerful podcast about conflict resolution. This was an encouragement as well as a challenge. I know for me in my past I always picked up and left because I don’t want to deal with the pain and for some reason, I think by leaving that it will all magically go away which it never did. When I started helping at a church in my mid 20s God put me in a spot where I couldn’t have that option which I am so thankful that he did. I loved how Jeff shared that we are to love others like Jesus and that’s when we are able to experience forgiveness and His beautiful grace. What a simple wonderful and powerful reminder.

  • This was a great conflict resolution podcast! I learned that when there’s no forgiveness extended, after Scriptures have been shared to help one back onto the path of discipleship, the best thing to do is to give it to the Lord and pray. I remember years back, when someone had gossiped about me and a brother came to me saying, “did you hear what so and so said about you?” They went on and on about this gossip and being spiritually immature and a newborn in the faith, I was dealing with bitterness instead of telling the person I was offended. I was dealing with unforgiveness and such a burden to carry I decided to give it to the Lord and have us reconcile. 2 Years went by, and eventually we were able to reconcile, but it took growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ for both of us to reconcile and move on. “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression” (Proverbs 19:11). The Scriptures mentioned in this podcast was what helped me repent of my sin and as Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Conflict resolved and repentant sinner check.

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