Body Life Can Prevent Conflict

Oneness in Christ can Prevent Conflict

It takes a certain type of climate to cultivate healthy, godly reactions to differences, disagreements, and wrongs.  We can learn how to build the kind of environment to prevent conflict by looking at the “one-another” commands of Scripture. They’re listed below to show how it takes not just the right kinds of words but also actions, and at the very core, the right attitudes to prevent conflict.

The Type of Attitudes that Prevent Conflict

Conflict begins in the heart long before it’s revealed by our words and actions toward one another.  — “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1)  — “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.” (Matt. 15:18) — “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Lk. 6:45)

Consequently, if we are going to prevent conflict, we must develop the right heart attitudes toward one another. The following “one-another” commands demonstrate the kind of attitudes we should have toward one another:

  • Accept one another  (Rom. 15:7)
  • Bear with one another  (Eph. 4:2)
  • Be Devoted to one another  (Rom. 12:10a)
  • Forgive one another (Eph. 4:32)
  • Honor one another  (Rom. 12:10b)
  • Be Kind to one another (Eph. 4:32)
  • Love one another  (Rom. 13:8)
  • Submit to one another  (Eph. 5:21)

Such commitment, patience, and humility toward one another will lead to the kind of reactions that diffuse conflict rather than fuel it. It provides an environment in which people can disagree or make mistakes and know they still belong.

The Type of Words that Prevent Conflict

We see in 2 Timothy 2:24-26 how our words find root in our attitudes. — “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2 Tim. 2:24-26)

Quarrelsome, defensive, antagonistic, cruel, or belittling words have no place in a Church practicing Body Life as God intends. The following one-another commands suggest the opposite:

  • Admonish one another  (Col. 3:16)
  • Build up one another (Rom. 14:19)
  • Comfort one another (1 Thess. 4:18)
  • Confess faults to one another (James 5:16)
  • Encourage one another  (1 Thess. 5:11)
  • Greet one another  (Rom. 16:16)
  • Be Honest with one another (Col. 3:9)
  • Be Kind to one another (Eph. 4:32)
  • Pray for one another  (James 5:16)
  • Spur one another on  (Heb. 10:24)

Getting along with one another doesn’t mean we overlook wrongs or ignore difficult subjects. Sometimes we must deal with hard issues. But, truthful communication combines with grace and mercy to build up rather than tear down.  In this kind of environment people can open up, express their doubts, and even confess their sins to one another, without feeling like they will be verbally attacked or condemned.

The Type of Actions that Prevent Conflict

Body Life must get beyond attitudes and words. All of the “one-anothers” listed above find expression in what we do, how we act toward each other. For example, think about loving one another (Rom. 13:8). We can feel love toward one another. We can tell each other we love them. But, the real evidence comes when we show that love in tangible ways. — “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 Jn. 3:18)

Words will mean little when disagreements or problems arise if we haven’t already been living it. People aren’t going to feel safe to be open with those who say one thing but do another. What a difference it makes in preventing conflict when people know they matter to the other person because they have been practicing the following “one-anothers” in the Body:

  • Bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2)
  • Care for one another  (1 Cor. 12:25)
  • Fellowship with one another (1 Jn. 1:7)
  • Be Hospitable to one another (1 Pet. 4:9)
  • Pray for one another  (James 5:16)
  • Serve one another  (Gal. 5:13)

We tend to be more cooperative and compromising in an atmosphere of love and understanding. In this kind of culture we “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Phil. 2:1-4).

Leaders: Work at building an environment of true Body Life. Make living out the one-another commands of Scripture part of your church culture. Of course, that begins with leadership setting the example as well as teaching. We must acknowledge, however, that even in churches that actively work at these “one-another” commands, conflict will come. The next post will consider why and how Body Life not only helps prevent conflict but also resolve it.

2 Replies to “Body Life Can Prevent Conflict”

    • Hello Sammy. This post isn’t necessarily intended to categorize the “one-another” commands but rather to show a basic idea of how they relate to attitudes, words, and actions that can prevent conflict. To be sure, there would be much overlap as many of the “one-anothers” listed under one area in the post could be listed in others.

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