9 Steps for Resolving Conflict
Conflict is never easy and most always instill grief, fear, anger, and worry.
King Hezekiah understood a few things about conflict, especially regarding an issue with the king of Assyria. After several exchanges of hurtful words, the king of Assyria sent Hezekiah this message:
“Don’t let your God, on whom you so naively lean, deceive you, promising that Jerusalem won’t fall to the king of Assyria. Use your head! Look around at what the kings of Assyria have done all over the world—one country after another devastated! And do you think you’re going to get off? Have any of the gods of any of these countries ever stepped in and saved them, even one of these nations my predecessors destroyed - ” (Isaiah 37:9-13)
I can’t imagine the burden he carried for his people and country. What I love about Hezekiah’s leadership is the way he responded. Before rising up in anger, becoming bitter, or rallying the troops, he did something I wish all leaders would do regarding their country - - Go to God.
“Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.“It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God.” (Isaiah 37:14-20 NIV)
8 Steps to Resolving Conflict:
1. Come before the Lord
“Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord:”
Hezekiah took his dilemma before the Lord. I can see him spreading the letter out on the altar. How many times do we try to handle things on our own before first going to the Lord? The first place in resolving conflict is on our knees before God.
2. Humble Yourself
“Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim”
Hezekiah humbled himself before God, addressing the Lord as Almighty. He did not come with an attitude, bitterness, or anger.
3. Praise, Worship, and Affirm.
“ . . .you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.”
Hezekiah spent time praising God, affirming, and letting God know he recognized His authority, strength, and power. He did all of this before sharing any concerns or making it all about him.
4. Ask God to Receive
“Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.”
Hezekiah asked God to open his eyes and ears, not only to his burden but to the issues regarding the other person. He readied himself before the Lord.
5. Seek the Truth
“It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands.”
When we are in conflict with one another, we need to ask questions and allow God to give us wisdom concerning all things and all parties involved. We cannot see what God sees – we see through the flesh and human eyes. Allow God to reveal the truth regarding what is in your heart. Ask him to give you insight regarding the issue.
6. Reveal your Burden.
“They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands.”
When we go to the Lord in prayer, sometimes we just need to vent. We need our emotions to overflow onto the altar and nowhere else. God is big enough to handle it – other people are not. We often find ourselves in more trouble due to “sharing” or “venting” to our “friends.” Unfortunately, rumors start, gossip is inevitable, and the issue escalates. Hezekiah vented before the Lord. It was true that the Assyrians threw their enemy's gods in the fire, but Hezekiah's God was the one true God.
7. Pray for Resolution and Deliverance.
“Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand,…”
Hezekiah didn’t rise up and prepare his men for war; he went to the Lord and asked God to handle the situation. He asked God for deliverance. Sometimes we take matters into our own hands. We try to fix it or resolve the conflict before ever finding out what God wants us to do. If God is working in this person’s life, he may want us to wait patiently before trying to move forward. In all things, God does want us to get our hearts right and in due time, he will give us the steps we need to resolve any situation – if both parties are willing.
8. Glorify God
“ . . . so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God.”
Hezekiah brought everything back to God. It wasn’t about Hezekiah. He didn’t ask for deliverance for his own sake or his country’s. He asked so that others would come to know the one true God; so that through that conflict, God’s glory would be revealed. Make sure your reasoning for deliverance lines up with God’s.
9. Wait for God to Work
Back in the day prophets heard from God and delivered messages. In today's world, we can hear from God ourselves. Find God's answers in His Word, through others, through prayer, and through how the Holy Spirit guides us. If our actions align with God's character then we're probably on the right track, however, if our behavior does not align with God's then we need to get back on our knees and seek His face. In the end, God punished the Assyrians and blessed Judah.