In many situations, the best way to resolve a conflict is simply to overlook the personal offenses of others.
This approach is highly commended throughout Scripture:
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2).
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col. 3:13; cf. Eph. 4:32).
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 82.
Food for Thought
Do people keep their distance from you unless you’re well fed and rested?
If you’ll look at the verses above, you’ll notice a common word — BEAR — bearing with one another in love and bear with each other. As peacemakers, we are called to bear with one another; however, how many times are we a bear to one another? How many days find us just like an old grizzly that has been prematurely awakened from his winter slumber — mad at the world and letting everybody know about it? How many times do we react just like that big brown bear that growls and roars when he finds someone else in his fishing hole?
You see, we can be a bear or we can bear with — and the two are entirely different approaches to people and life. If the issue is protecting your young, then be a bear and don’t back down — guard them well. Beyond that kind of a scenario, most other situations call for us to bear with…and those times can help us remember.
- The person ahead of you in traffic who’s out for a leisurely Sunday drive while you’re twenty minutes late for church. And remember that it’s your heart God wants, not matching socks.
- The neighbor who occasionally leaves a porch light shining directly on your spot in the bed. And remember that God often speaks between 2-4 a.m.
- The pastor who preaches a “less-than” sermon once every couple of months. And remember that your church called a man, not a god.
- The spouse who has been sick for three weeks while you’ve had to pick up the family slack. And remember that you promised “in sickness and in health.”
- That other situation that God is laying on your heart right now. Remember that he is faithful.