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center112395000center-47244000-2286000Resolving Conflict

center112395000center-47244000-2286000Resolving Conflict: A Christian HR Strategy
00Resolving Conflict: A Christian HR Strategy
left616585By: Matthew Green
020000By: Matthew Green

center283845Figure: Conflict Resolution Image (Bruce, 2014)
00Figure: Conflict Resolution Image (Bruce, 2014)
right719455Conflict resolution is a vital life skill, particularly in areas where multiple people have to co-exist, like a workplace environment (Frost, 2018, p. 1). However, the way in which people address conflict varies based on individual backgrounds and the way people were raised (Frost, 2018, p. 1). While some may choose to handle issues aggressively, many people attempt to tip-toe through conflict or even sidestep the issue entirely because they lack the necessary skills to do so (Frost, 2018, p. 1). Yet, successful Christian conflict resolution requires an individual to directly address problems through the love of God. This article will attempt to explore three key steps for resolving conflict in the workplace, while utilizing biblical representation to do so.
020000Conflict resolution is a vital life skill, particularly in areas where multiple people have to co-exist, like a workplace environment (Frost, 2018, p. 1). However, the way in which people address conflict varies based on individual backgrounds and the way people were raised (Frost, 2018, p. 1). While some may choose to handle issues aggressively, many people attempt to tip-toe through conflict or even sidestep the issue entirely because they lack the necessary skills to do so (Frost, 2018, p. 1). Yet, successful Christian conflict resolution requires an individual to directly address problems through the love of God. This article will attempt to explore three key steps for resolving conflict in the workplace, while utilizing biblical representation to do so.

Introduction
As the famous quote from Benjamin Franklin goes, “nothing in one’s lifetime can be fully guaranteed except our eventual passing and the payment of taxes (Blanchard, 2014, p. 29).” However, as Blanchard states (2014), the potential for conflict in life is another item that should be added to this list of certainties, especially in the business world (p. 29). Just take one quick look at the shape of society and it is clear the amount of time, energy, and resources that goes into resolving disagreements (Blanchard, 2014, p. 30).
This is because history has consistently indicated that when altercations are left unresolved, the consequences for doing so could be devastating for the parties involved. For instance, past events have shown that the simplest of words could lead to the breakout of a violent war or even the demise of an entire nation, and if a country can fall from its unresolved conflicts, an organization in the business world surely doesn’t stand a chance without a properly executed strategy (Blanchard, 2014, p. 30).

The handling of these problems typically falls on a company’s human resources department, as they are responsible for maintaining relations throughout an organization (Mooney, 2018, p. 1). Fortunately, the bible offers distinct examples for conflict resolution that any HR department can utilize to mediate its internal disputes. It stresses the importance of handling conflict quickly, in a face-to-face fashion, and why it is always beneficial to ask for help when needed. The following sections aim to discuss these steps, in an attempt to formulate a beneficial strategy for handling workplace disputes in a Christian manner:
Address Conflicts Immediately
When discrepancies are addressed efficiently, it offers a multitude of organizational benefits, such as the ability to achieve objectives and enhance employee relations (Frost, 2018, p. 1). Yet, when left unattended, what seemingly could be a miniscule argument, can quickly turn into resentment, personal distain, and ultimately the internal breakdown of a workplace environment (Schmitz, 2017, p. 1). Even when not directly engaged in conflict, the disputes of others can seep into our lives and drastically alter our surroundings (Blanchard, 2014, p. 30).
Graciously, as believers, we understand that God and all of his teachings are the perfect examples on how to handle the situations that may come about in life. The bible shows, in Matthew 5:23-25, the magnitude of handling conflict in a timely manner, when God says–“leave your gift at the altar; first go reconcile with your brother or sister and then come back to offer your gift (NIV).” Furthermore, in Ephesians 4:26, we find that God says– “those who truly love Him must not let the sun go down on the anger around them (NIV).”
When broken down, one could argue that God is not willing to accept our praise when we harbor or encourage anger (Jackson, 2014, p. 1). Instead, God inspires his followers to handle disagreements immediately and not allow them to fester as so many people choose to do. As a leader in HR, this means that it is against God’s will to sit idly by when a conflict arises in the workplace. Alternatively, a leader following a Christian strategy for conflict resolution should jump at a chance to resolve workplace disagreements as they appear.

Calmly Handle Problems One-On-One
The second aspect of a Christian conflict resolution strategy is to handle situations in a face-to-face manner. However, with society transitioning through a digital age, the importance of this facet has been lost on many in the business world. Yet, as Blanchard and Hodges (2005) explain, there is a substantial amount of emotional value in addressing conflict one-on-one, beginning with the establishment of trust and the enhancement of business relationships (pp. 24-25).
The bible says, in Matthew 18:15, “if your brother or sister sins, then go address their fault with them, just between the two of you (NIV).” More specifically, this is God demanding that, as Christians, we confront problems directly at their source but in a way that is intimate and shows compassion for the situation at hand (Jackson, 2014, p. 1).

In HR, this refers to one’s approach with any individual that may have broken rules or been a part of an altercation within the organization. As a Christian leader, a person should not approach the situation in an aggressive style (Gill, n.d., p. 1). Instead, one should allow employees to freely and faithfully lay their problems down in a confidential and personal manner (Gill, n.d., p. 1). Only then is it okay to privately rebuke an action and firmly take a stance on the problems being addressed (Gill, n.d., p. 1).
This is a vital component, as it assists a leader in establishing a future bond with the individuals in discussion, subsequently, improving communication for the future and making problems much more comfortable to deal with (Blanchard & Hodges, 2005, p. 25).
Relinquish Pride and Ask For Help
Lastly, a Christian leader in HR must not be afraid to accept counsel from God or others, but instead, actively seek it in times of confusion (Brown, 2016, p. 1). The bible says that “where there is a lack of guidance the people fail, but victory is assured by having a number of counselors at your disposal (Proverbs 11:14, NIV).” According to Brown (2016), this is a general principle, as people without assistance in their lives typically have more problems and worse decision making than those that seek help (p. 1).

Ritenbaugh (n.d.) explains that the main barrier in this area of people’s lives is that they allow their pride to get in the way of potential help (p. 1). Unfortunately, the impact of one’s pride also negatively affects the people associated with them (Maxwell, 2007, p. 1). A prideful leader devalues the benefits of organizational structure, because they believe their own prowess is the only thing necessary to solve the problems around them (Maxwell, 2007, p. 1). This causes them to lose sight of the strengths and benefits that others can provide in resolving a difficult situation (Maxwell, 2007, p. 1).

Not only that, but according to Dr. John C. Maxwell (2007), a leader’s pride gets in the way of making the necessary changes for improvement (p. 2). Pride forces a leader to remain in the “status quo,” because they are emotionally invested in the way things currently are (Maxwell, 2007, p. 2). This deafens their mind to any potential feedback that could assist in the handling of problems.
Instead, as Dr. John C. Maxwell (2007) explains, a Christian leader must have a specific level of humility, because through humility, a leader is able to understand problems, analyze feedback, and appropriately respond to situations (p. 2).
Conclusion
As previously stated, conflict will always have a negative impact on a workplace environment, and from a biblical standpoint, it has the potential to take a person outside the will of God (Brown, 2016, p. 1). The bible says, in 1 Corinthians 14:33, that our “God is not a God of discord but that he is a God of peace (NIV).” Understanding this, it can be interpreted that God is unable to bless a business in disarray, making the resolution of conflict such a central task in business operations (Brown, 2016, p. 1). For that reason, Christian leaders have a responsibility to not only get involved in negating disagreements, but a responsibility to actively seek God’s guidance throughout the process (Brown, 2016, p. 1).
right332740Author’s Biography:
Matthew Green is a 23-year-old MBA student at Regent University, with a concentration in Marketing. He has a passion for volunteering at homeless shelters, as well as family outings with his soon to be wife and dog. Currently, he is blessed with a job in the financial aid department at Virginia Commonwealth University. However, Matthew one day aspires to effectively raise awareness about child homelessness, in an attempt to make a change with his marketing skills.
020000Author’s Biography:
Matthew Green is a 23-year-old MBA student at Regent University, with a concentration in Marketing. He has a passion for volunteering at homeless shelters, as well as family outings with his soon to be wife and dog. Currently, he is blessed with a job in the financial aid department at Virginia Commonwealth University. However, Matthew one day aspires to effectively raise awareness about child homelessness, in an attempt to make a change with his marketing skills.

References
Blanchard, K. (2014). Turning Conflict Into Creativity. Training Journal, 29-32. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.regent.edu/docview/1525368678?pq-origsite=summonBlanchard, K. H. & Hodges, P. (2005). Leading like Jesus: Lessons for everyone from the greatest leadership role model of all time. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
Brown, G. (2016). 5. How Godly Leaders Resolve Conflict. Retrieved from https://bible.org/seriespage/5-how-godly-leaders-resolve-conflictBruce, E. (2014). Bible Concepts of Conflict Resolution. Retrieved from http://clwi.org/bible-concepts-of-conflict-resolution/Frost, S. (2018). What are the Benefits of Good Conflict Resolution Skills? Retrieved from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/benefits-good-conflict-resolution-skills-37268.htmlFusion, J. (2018). Face-to-Face Communication in Business. Retrieved from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/face-to-face-communication-business-2832.htmlGill, J. (n.d.). Matthew 18:15 Exposition. Retrieved from https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/matthew-18-15.htmlJackson, J. (2014). Sermon: Jesus’ Plan for Resolving Conflict – Matthew 5, 18. Retrieved from https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/sermon-jesus-plan-resolving-conflict-matthew-5-18Maxwell, J. C. (2007). Pride – A Leader’s Greatest Problem. Retrieved from http://www.stma.org/sites/stma/files/pdfs/pride_a_leaders_greatest_problem.pdfMooney, L. (2018). Key Functions of an HR Department. Retrieved from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/key-functions-hr-department-31206.htmlRitenbaugh, J. W. (n.d.). Bible Verses About Seeking God’s Counsel. Retrieved from https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/750/Seeking-Gods-Counsel.htmSchmitz, T. (2017). Conflict Resolution: An Important Life Skill. Retrieved from https://www.conovercompany.com/conflict-resolution-an-important-life-skill/