| Eye Can See Clearly NowJesus had much to say about resolving conflict. One of his most familiar commands is recorded in Matthew 7:3-5:
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
This passage is sometimes interpreted as a warning against talking with others about their faults. If you read it carefully, however, you will see that it does not forbid loving correction. Rather, it forbids premature and improper correction. Before you talk to others about their faults, Jesus wants you to face up to yours. Once you have dealt with your contribution to a conflict, you may approach others about theirs.
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 79-80
Food for Thought
Every couple prays for a full-term delivery; however, premature births are not an uncommon reality. In these situations, everything will be accelerated and great care will have to be exercised on the part of the parents, nurses, and doctors. Premature babies usually spend time in the intensive care unit, where constant monitoring and attention can be given, many times with a one to one ratio of nurse to child. It’s a fragile and often dangerous time. Most premature babies are fine, but some do not survive; everything took place before they were ready.
Ken’s use of the word premature in connection with Jesus’ words about conflict resolution is remarkable. Our efforts to “de-speck” our brothers or sisters before we “de-plank” ourselves create premature situations; something is happening before it should. It would be nice if there were roving spiritual-ICU teams who could help us in those moments to help carry the resolution to a healthy point, but that’s rare. It’s usually just two people, neither one seeing clearly, and both often too wounded to respond properly.
Conflict resolution always begins with the eye of the “I.” So upon reflection, how many of your attempts at conflict resolution could be described as premature? Did you ever get around to examining yourself? Did you get help from others during these delicate situations? And did these conflicts end in reconciliation, or sadly, did your relationship die due to the unfortunate complications of premature confrontation?
2008 Peacemaker Conference
As we look to the 2008 Peacemaker Conference, the storms of life remind us just how much we, as the church, need to be equipped to handle the storms of life and to offer light and hope to others. By standing on the Rock of Jesus Christ, we can experience “The Power of a Peacemaking Church.”
At the conference we will explore the various spheres of life touched by storms—in our homes, in our communities, cross-culturally, and in our churches—and see how God’s Word applies in each situation. Peacemaking can be a way of life, and we can each be encouraged by the wisdom of others who have weathered many storms!
Register before June 30 to secure your place at just $259 per person! Bring a group and save even more – register 4 and the 5th is free!
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