The world today is full of alarms and anxiety. We experience, read and hear of disasters each new day.
There are bombings, kidnappings, plane crashes, wars, and rumours of war, devastating storms, flooding and others which are believed to be as a result of climatic change.
Life is therefor full of conflict and crisis and how the individual react to such moment affect the future.
According to june Hunt, quoting from Merriam Webster Collegiate dictionary, conflict has been defined as “Disagreements, struggles or battles over opposing issues or principles.
Ken Sande sees it as ” a difference in opinion all purpose that frustrates someone’s goal or desires”. In order words differences in opinions, values, goals, gift or interest may lead to conflict or crisis.
Conflict therefore, is the interactive process manifested in in incompatibility, arguments, fighting; opposing ideas, opinions, wishes, interest and feelings that may result in dissonance.
When conflict are allowed to linger for a long time, it might degenerate into critical conditions that may lead to crisis.
conflict resolution and crisis management is the process by which an organisation or individual handles or deals with an event that threatens to harm the organisation, by causing his disaffaction that may lead to disintegration.
Some May refer to it as incidental management.
In recent past, churches have faced one problem or another, causing disaffection and breakdown in relationship among members.
As the days roll by, rather than have solution, the conflicts/crisis deepens despite effort put into bring it to an end. This only suggest that the root cause of the matter has not been identified, tackled and eliminated.
Lingering of conflict issues may lead to leaders losing grip on their members.
As individuals ,we experience crisis or conflicts at one time or the other in life. Likewise, it is not out of place for group of individuals to pass through conflicts and crises.
Our forebearers in the faith were not excluded from the experience of Life conflicts and crisis.
The early church had its own share too. But the most interesting aspects and a lesson for us to bear in mind is how these conflicts and crises were handled and resolved to enable the church move forward.
As we cannot rule out conflict and crisis in our lives,the church as an organisation has not been devoid of them all through it’s history.
Conflict or crisis may hinder the individual from interacting with one another in a cordial or friendly way due to divergent views on a subject matter.
It could bring struggle over perceived incompatible goals, values or behaviours. Often people sees conflict and crisis in the church, home as living unchristian life.
The church is viewed as a place of perfect Union with one another and with God. However not all who attend church programms understand the Church’s ethics and organisation.
Jesus did not promise his followers a conflict-free society but promised us the gift of the holy spirit that will enable us overcome such situations.( Luke 17 verse 1; Mark 13 verse 12 to 13 ;John 16 verse 33).
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace”.
In this world you will have trouble but take heart, I have overcome the world (John 16 verse 33).
In the gospel as recorded by Matthew Jesus Christ admonished us to settle our quarrels “settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court.
Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison (Matthew 5 verse 25).
Jesus also said – “therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the alter.
First go and be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5 verse 23 to 24).
We should always remember that we all are born with different temperaments. Even people of the same parents do not always act alike.
So long as we differ in many ways, there are bound to be differences of opinion on certain issues which are breeding grounds for conflict.
Therefore, as human beings, we cannot avoid conflict nor is it best to use our position to have it our own way. Rather it is
always appropriate to respond to conflict and crisis by setting up plans and actions to resolve them amicably.
Resolution is responding appropriately to conflict or crisis:
it is not having it my own way or trying to avoid it. According to June Hint quoting Merriam – Webster, it means “finding the answer”, “the process of reducing complex things into a simpler form”.Or “to lessen.”
In other words, it is to cushion the effect of an uprising. Reconcilliation however, is complete restoration to harmony. It is the process of bringing people together again.
As mere mortals, there are some differences that may never be resolved but it is possible to reconcile with those who differ with.
There are situations where reconciliation will be inappropriate, especially in matters of faith, such as idolatry, adultery.
It may be possible for some individuals to resolve conflict as listed above, but the true Christian cannot compromise his or her faith.
Paul makes it clear in his letter to the Romans – “if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone”. (Romans 12 verse 18).
Notes that forgiveness is not the same as a reconciliation. Forgiveness focuses on the offence, while the reconciliation aims at the opposing groups coming and working together thereby nurturing a relationship in order to achieve one goal.
In forgiveness, you may forgive one who has hurt you but may not guarantee or be willing immediately to work, with the person. The case of Paul and John Mark is an example (Acts 15:36 to 40).
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