Conflict Resolution: 6 Steps from Stress to Solution

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to one another. ~ Mother Theresa

Does it often seem like conflict, disagreement and relationship stress are major interruptions to your peace of mind?

Do unresolved anger and unforgiveness block your joy?

Isn’t it time to make changes in how you handle conflict resolution and relationship issues?

Conflict resolution is an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp. I’ve got my ideas and you’ve got yours … and rarely the twain shall meet.

Personal interaction often produces tension, stress and conflict. Given the hectic pace of today’s world, it becomes critical for your health and peace of mind to resolve conflict and relationship issues as quickly as possible. The best place to start is with yourself.


First, recognize that the other person is not ‘out to get you’. They simply have a different viewpoint. God made us all unique, and we need to value those differences. Instead of seeing the other person as an opponent, ask yourself, “What thoughts do they have that would contribute to a better situation?” A different point of view will often reveal a compromise or at least a better understanding.

Second, watch your mental dialogue. If you belittle another person’s ideas and opinions in your thinking, it will show in your attitude. Believe me, they will know from your facial expressions, body language and lack of attention that you don’t value their thoughts and feelings. Your lack of respect will create the stress you seek to avoid.

Third, remind yourself that your greatest calling in life is to ‘walk in love’ (Eph. 5:2). Selfishness is always at the forefront of conflict. Set selfishness aside (attitudes, preferences, opinions and yes, sometimes even your schedule) and give the other person the respect and attention he or she deserves.


Often, we get pulled into the position of peacemaker, a third person who can see and understand both sides of an issue. Peacemakers demonstrate unbiased love and respect. As a peacemaker, you can bring peace and reason to conflict between friends, co-workers and family members.

Learn to set aside your own personal agenda and listen to other opinions. Instead of assuming conflict is persecution, see it as an opportunity to develop your interpersonal skills. Take a class in conflict resolution, assertiveness training, or other aspects of communication.


When contention and conflict affect relationships, it becomes essential to diffuse the situation for everyone’s best interest. Use these steps as a guide toward resolving issues and restoring peace.


  1. 1.    Pray for guidance. Ask for wisdom and understanding. Pray for peace and harmony. Prayer invites God into the situation.


  1. 2.    Give the other person(s) a chance to speak. Often, they just want to know they have been heard and understood. Don’t rush them. Do restate their main points to make sure everyone involved has heard correctly.


  1. 3.    Ask questions. Make sure you understand both sides of the issue completely. Affirm your interest in resolving the situation to everyone’s satisfaction.


  1. 4.    Stick to the topic. Don’t try to address every grievance in one session. Stay focused on the immediate issue.


  1. 5.    Explain the consequences to each person involved. “If you continue to do that, this will happen …” Make sure that both parties have some penalty for wrong behavior. No conflict is one-sided. This step is particularly critical in workplace situations.


  1. 6.    Determine a course of action. Get both parties to agree to the solution, if at all possible. Reiterate the consequences for non-compliance. Compliment them on their ability to overcome the issue harmoniously.

Peacemakers recognize that neither side is completely wrong. But to try to settle the issue, you have to understand both sides. Words of encouragement and understanding can do much to defuse animosity and restore peace.

The Universal Law of sowing and reaping will return to you what you give away. The more you become a peacemaker – in your own relationships and helping others resolve their issues – the more peace you will have in your own life.



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