Conflicts in churches are the most destroying factors influencing relationships of any scale: in small groups, in teams of different ministries, between friends and between leaders.
Teenagers from my church often come to me with a conflict situation. From one hand, you can be proud of yourselves. They finally trust you with their problems! If you have ever worked with teens or youth, you’ll understand. On the other hand, they want you to punish the offender based on their words only.
When feelings hurt, it is difficult to look at the conflict from the place of God’s love.
What do we know about God’s love?
God loves every soul so much that His Son died for everyone to have forgiveness of sins. It is very hard to keep this truth in our hearts in conflict. God loves your brother or sister in Christ the same way He loves you.
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2
His love is always forgiving. The victory on the cross gave Jesus all the rights to be our Advocate in front of the Father. It means that we can be forgiven at any time on any place.
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
My favorite place in Bible for solving conflicts is The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant in Matthew 18:21-35
When Peter asks Jesus how many times you should forgive your brother, Jesus gave him a big number and told this parable. It pictures a servant that didn’t want to forgive his debts a thousand times less than his own. His debt was forgiven because of compassion. As this servant was so angry, he was put in prison till he repays all his debt. The last verse in this story bears the sense of the parable:
“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
Matthew 18:35 NKJV
Love of God is given to everyone. We can do nothing to earn it. The only way to receive it is through faith in Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross.
It is true for every relationship we’re involved in. We love our friends not because they deserve it somehow. Yes, we have come to some path together, and we know those people are trustworthy. However, we love them in every situation not only when they are good to us.
With God’s love, it is the same but at a greater rate.
His love is unconditional love that came into this world through His Son, and everyone who believes can have access to it.
So do we have any rights to judge our brothers and sisters? Keeping in mind the price for your brothers and sisters, forgive them with all our hearts.