Anatomy of Conflict

June 12, 2012

  • 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.

Three observations:

  • 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.

From Mike Minter and Mike McKinley

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