Usually a conflict brings on trauma and frustration. In those times, it can be helpful to have some easy-to-remember tools. The steps below are designed primarily for Christians, and the material is copyrighted from Peacemaker Ministries.
When in conflict, always start with the 4G’s.
- Glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31)
- Get the Log Out (Matthew 7:5)
- Go and Show Your Brother His Fault (Matthew 18:15)
- Go and Be Reconciled (Colossians 3:12-14)
Step 1: Glorify God
Admit your hurt honestly and completely to yourself and to God. Confess to God anything you did wrong and accept his forgiveness. Then choose to make the glory of God more prominent than your feelings and pain. Recognize that God forgives us and therefore gives us the power to forgive others.
Step 2: Get the Log Out
Do not attack others or focus solely on what they did. Instead take responsibility for anything you have done to incite or contribute to the conflict. Be the first to confess to the other party(ies) without talking about what they did. Use the 7A’s to guide your apology.
- Address everyone involved
- Avoid using the words, IF, BUT and MAYBE (always!)
- Admit specifically
- Apologize (make sure to actually say “sorry”!)
- Accept the consequences
- Alter your behavior
- Ask for forgiveness (don’t forget this crucial step!)
Bad Confession: I am sorry you felt hurt. I feel bad about what I did, but I only did it because of what you said.
Good Confession: I am sorry I hurt you. I am sorry for calling you a jerk. Will you please forgive me?
If you are not able to sincerely apologize, then go back and repeat Step 1.
Step 3: Go and Show Your Brother His Fault
Make sure to only do this step after Step 2! Do not pretend or live in denial. Do not excuse the other prematurely. Do not talk behind the back of others. Sometimes you will need to overlook minor offenses, but usually you will need to talk directly to the other person in private. Do so gracefully and peacefully. Use this format for sharing: I felt _________ when you did _________.
After you share how you were hurt, let them own their sin and give them a chance/time to repent. Do not rush through this, even if it is awkward. If they apologize and/or ask for forgiveness, and if you can, then say: “I forgive you.” This phrase is an important part of the exchange, even if they don’t specifically ask for it.
If speaking with another Christian and they will not listen, then ask other believers to help you.
Good Confrontation: I was really hurt when you said that I am the most inconsiderate person you know.
They might say: I am sorry I hurt you when I said you are inconsiderate.
You say: I forgive you for saying that.
Step 4: Go and Be Reconciled
Do not settle for compromise. Do not let relationships die off because of conflict. Instead, make 4 Promises of Forgiveness:
- I will not think about this incident.
- I will not bring this up and use it against you.
- I will not talk to others about this incident.
- I will not allow this to stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.
If you are not able to make and keep these promises, then you are not ready to really forgive the other. Go back and repeat Step 3.
Adapted from Peacemaker Ministries (www.hispeace.org)
© 2019, Alignment Life