It's always a challenge: in a knock-down, drag-out, everything-plus-the-kitchen sink conflict...just how do you begin to make distinctions that cut through the emotion-filled static toward a just and reasonable solution?
One place to start is the four Gs. Although really there are five Gs, because "the Big G" foundation stone of all the others is the Gospel. When tempers are flaring and claws are extended, reminding the parties of the presence and power AND GRACE avaiable from the Creator God begins to put a different perspective on things.
Once things calm down a bit, it is helpful to break a conflict down along the following lines.
G #1: Glorify God. We need to get to the HEART of this conflict. What is really at issue are conflicting demands (that have in fact become heart idols). As we all look outside of ourselves to the common Source of our lives and all things, we can learn to rely upon his grace, wisdom, strength, and justice to bring light in the situation that has currently paralyzed us.
Let's work to view this conflict as an OPPORTUNITY live fore God, serve others, and grow to become like the Lord Jesus.
G #2: Get the Log Out of Your Eye. Everyone needs to ask: just what is MY CONTRIBUTION to the present situation? Conscientous people should be willing to admit that "it takes two to tango." On the conflict front, that means that if there's a big blowup, both parties need to look long and hard...what part have I played in this conflict?
G #3: Gently Restore. Here is where parts 1-2 are important, for they bring a new God-focused and Gospel-centered perspective to the question we're all dying to ask: What is THEIR PART in this conflict. Here is where we must learn not to attack, but to go to our adversary winsomely and creatively. We cannot run away or live in denial of the conflict.
G #4: Go & Be Reconciled. With all the facts on the table, and our personal interests clearly outlined in good faith. We can now make wise choices towards a mutually agreeable solution to the conflict. Here is where negotiation properly takes place.
These four components of conflict resolution don't provide all the answers. And conflicts are as diverse as the people who have them. But this mental outline provides a baseline of rational processing that allows a peacemaker to come in with a level head and a place to go.
Please pray for me as I head to the airport tomorrow. I'm almost packed, and eager to learn more about putting wheels on peacemaking.
I feel like the guys who has the "idea" of a car. It works perfectly okay in his head. But in practice, how do you see conflicts resolved in the power of the Gospel? That's where the I need wheels put on my vehicle!