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To Rise Above Conflict, Pull on People’s Spiritual Gifts


Though conflict may be inevitable, God has equipped the Church with power to resolve conflict and bring reconciliation rather than division. That power will flow through people with spiritual gifting needed for that moment. As leaders, we don’t have to handle all these issues on our own. We can pull on other people’s spiritual gifts to help members of the Body rise above conflict.

Is it Biblical to Pull on Other People to Help with Conflict?

God does instruct us to go to the person directly BEFORE getting others involved (Matt. 5:23-24; 18:15-17). And, we must encourage people to follow God’s plan for conflict resolution. But, as we see in the Apostle Paul’s example, he pleaded, or strongly urged, two women in the church at Philippi to “be of the same mind in the Lord” but went on to ask someone else to get involved in helping the women (Phil. 4:2-3). While it doesn’t give gifting as a criteria for coming alongside of them, it does support pulling on other people in conflict.

Members Can Pull on One Another's Spiritual Gifts in Conflict

Notice the word “all” in Romans 12:5 which says “so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others”, suggesting that each and every one of us could possibly have a role as needed. We may be tempted to say “it’s not my place to get involved” but as members of the Body, we belong to “all” the others

How Might the Different Spiritual Gifts be Useful in Conflict Resolution?

Go back to verse 3 in Romans 12: “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” — We must approach any involvement in the Body from a place of humility and grace, not as superior to others. Even our spiritual gifts are given to us on the basis of grace (Rom. 12:6). If we hop to the closing verses of Romans 12 we find a number of commands that would help prevent and/or resolve conflict. (Take time to read Romans 12:9-21.) Sandwiched between the beginning and end of this chapter, we find a list of the following spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:7-8). Here are ways pulling on those gifts may help in times of conflict, providing what is needed:

prophecy – Sometimes it just takes a wakeup call, warning about what unresolved conflict leads to in terms of our fellowship with God and one another as well as our testimony to the world around us.

service – Sometimes people need to be freed up to spend the time needed to work through issues so enlisting the help of people with the gift of service for child care, temporarily filling in for their ministry responsibilities, etc. can truly be helpful.

teaching – Sometimes people need to learn how God wants us to deal with conflict whether in a class, one-on-one, or a written up biblical procedure.

exhortation – Sometimes people need that extra little prodding and encouragement to do what is right in these situations.

giving – Sometimes people need to go the extra mile to receive counseling or get away so they can deal with issues but don’t have finances to do so.

leadership – Sometimes people need help envisioning the potential results of doing their part to live out Romans 12:18 which says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

mercy – Sometimes people first need to experience a bit of compassion and comfort to hurdle their hurts and be willing to do their part to resolve issues.

Some of the gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 may also be useful:

pastor – Sometimes people need someone to look out for their spiritual welfare during these difficult times so they don’t let conflict derail them.

wisdom – Sometimes people in the midst of conflict can’t see the best way to proceed, especially in ways that align with the heart and ways of God.

knowledge – Sometimes people need to be presented with the full counsel of God on an issue causing conflict so they can make biblical choices.

faith, miracles, healings – Sometimes people most need someone to stand in the gap in prayer believing God is able to do what seems impossible, having the power to break through and bring healing to people’s hearts.

discernment – Sometimes people are deceived in these kinds of situations as Satan would like nothing better than division within the Body. They need help sorting through the lies so they can distinguish right from wrong, truth from error.

Obviously it isn’t about the whole Body ambushing people at odds with one another but stepping in as needed.

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