Celebrating a Biblically Based Conflict Resolution Day - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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October 17, 2017

Celebrating a Biblically Based Conflict Resolution Day

Conflict Resolution Day seems like it’s specially designed for students who elect to major in Human Services. Putting your degree to work in social agencies might find you acting as a family support worker, drug and alcohol counselor, probation officer, juvenile court liaison, or mental health aide — all positions that require an inordinate amount of skillful communication and conflict resolution.

In 2005, the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) decreed that the third Thursday of October be set aside every year to “promote and celebrate peaceful conflict resolution practices worldwide.” It’s also intended as a day to recognize the significant contributions that peaceful conflict resolvers make to their governments, communities, clients, and within their own families. This year, Conflict Resolution Day falls on October 19, 2017.

Conflict resolution begins at home

In order to be a skillful resolver of conflict in your community, whether you decide to use your degree in the legal, educational, business, or mental health field, you first have to be adept at resolving conflict in your own personal relationships. Christians are reminded in Matthew 7:5: “First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

In keeping with ACR’s commitment to promoting broader awareness of creative, peaceful means of resolving conflict in the month of October, here are four tips for approaching your own conflicts in a God-honoring way. While you can’t ever totally avoid them as you move through life and bump up against other people’s perceptions, wounds, and defenses, it is possible to use conflicts as faith-growing tools of mutual healing. Committing yourself to finding peaceful resolutions to conflicts with others can help you grow emotionally stronger and more resilient while simultaneously cultivating more fruitful and fulfilling interpersonal relationships.

1 – Glorify God
Peacemaker Ministries notes that one of the most important foundational principles of Christian conciliation is to use the conflict with another to glorify and honor God “by trusting him, obeying him, and imitating him (see Prov. 3:4-6; John 14:15; Eph. 5:1).” Ask yourself, “How can I please and honor the Lord in this situation?” Ask God, “How can I love and value the person with whom I am experiencing conflict as Your unique creation?”

2 – Exercise Self-control
Plan your words and responses carefully and deliberately, avoiding impulsiveness and expressions of anger. Call to mind Proverbs 29:11: “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man holds it in check.” Rehearse what you plan to say, and anticipate likely reactions. Be discerning about choosing the right time and place to initiate the difficult conversation.

3 – Listen as Much as You Speak
Listen carefully and acknowledge each other’s feelings and perceptions. Don't dwell on old issues or get derailed with topics not directly related to the conversation. Brainstorm ways to resolve the problem, ask for feedback about your role in the disharmony, and pray together, if appropriate.


4 – Be Fully Reconciled
God calls Christians to forgive others totally in the same way that they are constantly forgiven for transgressions.
For a deep and lasting peace that endures, find inspiration in Ken Sande’s four powerful promises of forgiveness:
1. “I will not dwell on this incident.”
2. “I will not bring up this incident again and use it against you.”
3. “I will not talk to others about this incident.”
4. “I will not let this incident stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.”

If you’d like to learn more about the biblically based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to introduce you to Christian perspectives at work in the field of Human Services. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your goals for a career in Human Services, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email web@geneva.edu