What is this breach of faith that you have committed against the God of Israel in turning away this day from following the Lord by building yourselves an altar this day in rebellion against the Lord?  (Joshua 22:16)

And if you too rebel against the Lord today then tomorrow he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel.  (Joshua 22:18)

In the previous post, we explored the importance of listening and learning the other person’s story.  

But the western tribes also shared their concerns and interests about being judged by God  because of disobedience.  They told their story; they were not afraid to share how they were feeling. They shared the impact the eastern tribes’ actions had on them.  They acknowledged their own emotions, yet they did not allow their emotions to hijack the conversation and turn into accusations and blame.

By understanding each other’s interests, they found that in fact they were not opposed to each other at all, but had common ground in obeying the Lord and being faithful to each other (Philippians 2:4).

To be successful when having difficult conversations, like the Israelites in Joshua  22, we need to withhold blame, at least initially, and have a conversation where we share the impact  the other’s actions are having.  Learn to separate impact from intent.  Also, share your concerns and interests.  Invite them to share their concerns and interests.  From there you can discuss solutions that address each other’s interests and work toward a mutually just and satisfying outcome that preserves your relationship.  

Having difficult conversations to resolve conflict in our lives is never easy.  But as Christians, we are called to respond to conflict in a remarkably different way than the world deals with conflict.  Because of the good news of what Christ has done for us in his death  and resurrection, not only have we been reconciled to God, but we have been given a vision and practical means of approaching conflict differently.  Biblical peacemaking brings the prospect of hope for broken relationships.

If you are in the midst of a conflict or need to have a difficult conversation with someone, one of the trained conciliators on our Peacemaker Ministry team are available to assist you.  You can email us at peacemakerteam@graceinracine.com , or call the church office to set up an appointment.  

Read the first post in this series here: https://graceinracine.com/2016/10/a-war-averted-part-1/

Read the 2nd post in this series here: https://graceinracine.com/2016/10/a-war-averted-part-2/

Jim Murray and his wife Jean are members. Jim has served as an Elder and currently serves as a Life Group leader and member of Peacemaking Team.