Anatomy of a Conflict – Are You in the Trajectory?
Michael McKinley over at 9Marks posted this – Anatomy of a Conflict. The trajectory that is identified here is something that I have seen many times in churches over the years. We are not insulated from this. Normal church life offers many opportunities for it. The good news is this: loving God and obeying His commands by following the biblical guidelines for handling conflict in relationships interrupts the trajectory that conflicts lead to and fosters reconciliation and love. Unfortunately, some people reach a point of no return and they spend the rest of their lives justifying their offended-ness. Here is what McKinley writes:
- An offense occurs.
- A biased view of the offense is shared with friends.
- Friends take up the offense.
- Sides begin to form.
- Suspicion on both sides develop.
- Each side looks for evidence to confirm their suspicion. You can be sure they will find it.
- Exaggerated statements are made.
- In the heat of conflict those involved hear things that were never said and say things they wish they had never said.
- Third parties, no matter how well intentioned, can never accurately transfer information from one offended party to the other.
- Past offenses unrelated to the original offense surface.
- Integrity is challenged.
- People call each other liars.
- Those who try to solve the problem (e.g., church leadership) are blamed for not following the proper procedure and become the new focus.
- Many are hurt.
- First, that is pretty much spot-on with what I’ve observed in a number of churches. I wish it weren’t so, but it’s the truth.
- Second, it seems that once you get to step #5, it’s pretty hard to pull out of the nose-dive.
- Third, conflict in the church makes me long for Jesus to come back soon.