What approach do you use when you encounter conflict? I'm almost certain that the thought going through your mind is, "It depends." When it's conflict between your children, you may be more like a parent, using that authoritative voice and your authority to say, "Enough, here's what you should be doing instead of what you are currently doing." As our children get older, we may find our voices changing and the use of reason and what children should know. That's true in all of our relationships. As they mature based on time and getting to learn one another, our approach to conflict may change.
Time is key in the handling of conflict. Sometimes, you had to dive to keep your children from harming themselves (moving toward a wall socket uncovered) and sometimes you let time work to your advantage. For example, we sometimes give them time to let our children try to work out their conflicts so they can learn from them until we have to finally intervene.
We see that in the church too. Conflict and how it is handled may depend on several factors: the kind of issue; the depth of the emotion involved; the level of maturity among the body of believers involved in the issue (from several members to the entire body); and the timing of intervention.
Paul sees a need to intervene immediately in Corinth because harm is likely in the practices and beliefs the congregation have developed (or beliefs they were unable to shake before they became Christians). Paul sends people and a letter he has written to intervene, and he admonishes almost like a parent. We hear this in 1 Corinthians 3: "But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and believing only in a human way?" (1 - 3)
We pray that when we are in conflict (not if, but when), we take the time to pray and assess the issue before we decide how to act. We pray that when conflicts arise, we strive for maturity and seek God's will, in our personal relationships, professional relationships, and in our spiritual relationships.
Hope Men's Ministry