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Conflict Resolution in the Body of Christ (Part 2)

Updated: May 11, 2021

By Deborah Bell

(Lead Apostle DGAN Global Network and DGFC churches)

(Originally posted 20 January, 2015)

How do we deal with conflict in the body of Christ, the Church? What does the Word of

God say about it?  If we know, how many leaders or peers actually use the word for conflict Resolution? Conflict resolution was established in the word of God, for the people of God, long before any department of Human Resources was in place.

When we stray from the word, we stray from the GOD of the word.

What do you do when you are faced with conflict in your church environment or any

situation that would affect you or your ministry?

I believe one of the greatest skills lacking in both the Marketplace and the Church is

proper communication. If you have an issue, or if conflict arises, talk to each other!

Communication is a very big part of the formula, when it comes to building a healthy body of Christ.

I believe the church is first a community of believers. Barna research shows that most people 78% of people view church as a community. In any given community, we are dealing with people from every side of life, rich poor, abused, neglected, rejected, spoilt, the sick and the list goes on. To say the least, it’s complicated! Therefore problems or conflicts or are bound to arise, warranted or not. So much of how we “see” is what we perceive not always what actually is.

The Church is no different. Like in any community or family, similar issues can and will arise in the Church. At at some point or other, there will be conflict in a team, no matter how “angelic” people profess to be. Sometimes that’s half the problem.:) What would be “first prize”, is if the Church handled conflict well, better than our secular counterparts. Why? Because we have Christ in us, who transforms our thinking, our hearts, our love for one another, right?

So it is imperative that we learn both as leaders and peers to deal with conflict in respectful open safe dialogue, and that our churches create the right environment for God’s Word to have the last say with all parties feeling that they are in a safe space. But the key to any conflict resolution is first off, COMMUNICATION!

Here is the key passage we are called to use for conflict resolution, found in the book of


Matt. 18:15-17 “If your brother or sister sins against you, go and show them their fault, just

between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. (16) But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. (17) If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church;a and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (NIV)

There is often too much assumption going on in the body of Christ and not enough talking to each other or sharing the truth in love. Ensuring all parties feeling safe to openly share, is vital to avoid a breakdown in our teams, our relationships, our friendships and with our loved ones. That doesn’t mean everyone will share but it helps the process!

Here are the remaining four steps to guide us through the process:

5.  If there is any need for resolution, always check what the word of God has to say

about it first. Then work it out in love according to the word.  (Matt 18:15-17). If you are

wrong confess and make right. There isn’t room for “passive aggressive” behaviour.

Passive aggressive behaviour, is much like a Cold War; and I’ve found it happens in

churches a lot! Simply put, it’s when people continue to pretend that nothing is wrong,

trying to keep up a smile and the “right Christian appearance”, when in fact that is the last

thing they really feel like doing. They might be polite, act “normally”, appear okay, but

inside they could be really upset or have an issue about something or someone, but will not express it; so it comes out in other ways (explained in wikipedia description below). This is such damaging behaviour and leads to confusion for those parties involved, especially when the parties involved are aware there is a problem but it is swept under the carpet, so to speak.

Sometimes others are not aware there is an issue at all with a person that displays passive aggressive behaviour. Often, only that person/s is aware of something being “wrong” but they choose not to share or resolve or discuss it. It’s dangerously unhealthy behaviour in a team because it leads to assumptions. Wrong perceptions form, and then resentment sets in without any dialogue about the actual facts. Of course that is a “breeding ground” of a stronghold for the enemy. We should be conduits of God’s love and power and have sound minds, not conduits of the enemy!

Passive-aggressive behaviuor is the indirect expression of hostility; such as through

procrastination, sarcasm, stubbornness, sullenness, resistance to fulfil tasks or deliberate or repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible.

Behaviours: Learned helplessness, procrastination, stubbornness, resentment. (From Wikipedia).

6. Teach people to share in a healthy way about their conflicts and issues, and teach

them how to handle conflict in love.  It is much easier if people have an awareness of what the word teaches us to do in these situations as men and women of God. If the world can get it right, surely the body of Christ, which is empowered by the power of Holy Spirit can get it right!