07.28.2019 | “12 WORDS | Wk 9: Conflict”
Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.
What was your favorite board game growing up OR what is your favorite board game currently? Why?
Before you begin – take time to discuss what comes to mind when you hear the word “reconciliation.”
Read Matthew 18:15-20 – Jesus’ famous teaching on reconciliation & resolving conflict within the Church.
First – think about the connection of forgiveness (the internal, heart work of giving grace) & reconciliation (the external action of reconciling a relationship/conflict).
What are the major differences between forgiveness & reconciliation? How are these related & connected?
Next – walk through the process of reconciliation that Jesus proposes.
Jesus first instructs his disciples to seek out & address conflict/hurt quickly. Do you often address conflict quickly when it occurs in your life?
Have you ever had someone approach you with a conversation like this (i.e., seeking to reconcile because of a wound you caused)?
The goal of this first conversation with the person is for both parties to feel heard & for resolution/reconciliation to occur. However, when this does not happen, Jesus instructs the wounded party to get other people in their relational world involved. If resolution still does not occur, he instructs his disciples to involve the community more & more.
Why do you think Jesus instructs his followers to bring new, trusted perspectives into an ongoing conflict? Do you often seek out perspectives different than your own when trying to resolve conflict?
Next – notice that Jesus expects his disciples to get the wounded party safe & to set boundaries, without leaving or ignoring the conflict at hand.
What role do safe & healthy boundaries play in reconciliation at this point in the conflict?
What sorts of boundaries do you think would allow someone to work to resolve a conflict, while remaining safe?
Finally – Jesus instructs his followers to treat unrepentant parties in the conflict as tax-collectors or pagans/Gentiles (people outside of the Kingdom in his time). Remember though – Jesus came precisely to call, invite, & disciple these exact people. In other words, the community (no longer the wounded party) is challenged to seek to disciple the offending party & call them back to following Jesus.
What does it mean that the final step is to change the conversation towards discipleship of the offending party? What sorts of conversations do you think would take place in this final step?
How does this change how you understand working with broken people who cause conflict?
Close by taking time to consider someone in your life that you might need to seek reconciliation with. What would the first step be in terms of reaching out to resolve that conflict?
Getting Out of the Hole
Continue reflecting on what you are working to change & grow in during this season (see: Going Deeper for Control for context). This week, take time to reflect on reconciliation.
More than almost any other week – it is important to remember that this word cannot be done alone. Reconciliation requires help, safety, & outside perspectives.
With that in mind, take time this week to begin reflecting on this part of Matthew 18 in terms of a conflict in your life. Assess how to go about reconciling that conflict:
- What does the first conversation with this person look like?
- Who do I need to include in my reconciliation process moving forward?
- What do healthy boundaries look like?
- What (if any) was my role in the conflict? How can I own my side of the street?
Share this process with your group members this week.
Forgiving As We’ve Been Forgiven: Community Practices for Making Peace by L. Gregory Jones & Celestin Musekura
Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott
Coming Up This Week:*
Sunday, August 4: Join us for the next week of our series 12 Words as we explore the essentials of faith & spirituality. We will be discussing Ignorance & Examine.
* Please see mye3.org for details.