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Weekly Article Blog

Senior Pastor Dan Hawn publishes a weekly article which is also emailed to members and regular attenders.  Let us know if you would like to receive this weekly article via email.


Preserving the Relationship

We are continuing our series on conflict resolution.

Our community has just gone through a season of conflict within one of our most important institutions. The agreement between the school board and superintendent published in the newspaper was basically a divorce settlement.

What they negotiated was the classic “escape” response to conflict; that is, instead of working together to resolve the issues before them, they agreed to separate and go their own way. Thus, the relationships will likely remain forever broken. My guess is neither side feels particularly good about the outcome and reputations have been diminished.

Mediation

I regret the parties didn’t try a method of conflict resolution known as “mediation.” A skilled mediator will help the parties communicate more effectively (directly, not through attorneys) and explore possible solutions. However, mediation presupposes (and requires) a desire to preserve the relationship. If preserving the relationship isn’t important, mediation typically won’t be successful.

An Illustration

Years ago, I became embroiled in a conflict with our church’s worship director, whom I supervised. (He had gotten into a dispute with a deacon and felt I had taken the deacon’s side.) In anger, he submitted his resignation, but I encouraged him to put the resignation on hold as we sought out a trained mediator.

The mediator gave us some homework and then we met at his house for almost an entire day. At times, the mediator met with us separately; at other times, we were all together.

It was a difficult, exhausting day. However, by the end of it, we understood each other and we each apologized for how we had contributed to the conflict. He still went ahead with his resignation, but we remained friends and he continued serving the church, only in a different role.

Preserving the Relationship

As Christians, we should always seek to preserve the relationship for that is the essence of Christianity.

When sin entered the world, humanity became alienated from God, but God still wanted a relationship with humanity, so He sent Jesus to make that possible. Yes, it cost Him a great deal, but He judged a relationship with humanity worth it.

It grieves the Holy Spirit whenever a Christian judges a relationship (especially with another believer) “not worth it” and simply walks away. What kind of testimony is that to the power of the gospel?

Pastor Dan

 

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