How Saying Sorry Can Help with Conflict Resolution

How do we handle conflict? Unfortunately, at one time or another most of would have to admit that we have missed the mark and done or said something we have later regretted. What is worse is when we are so upset about the issue, we are ok with our actions.  Some of us have an axe to grind with someone over something that may seem petty to others, but it’s very important to you. Let’s talk about how saying sorry can help with conflict resolution and lead to forgiveness, peace and joy in your life.

Today we will be talking about:

  1. How Saying Sorry Can Help with Conflict Resolution
  2. What Causes Conflict? Why Saying Sorry Helps
  3. How do We Know that We Need to Say Sorry and Reconcile?
  4. So, How Do We Fix Conflict? 
  5. Show Love to Others by Saying Sorry
  6. Saying Sorry Can Bring Peace and Joy to Your Life
  7. Saying Sorry is Only One Side of Conflict Resolution
  8. How to Move From Conflict to Forgiveness

What Causes Conflict? Why Saying Sorry Helps

What we need to understand is that conflict not only creates strife with others, it also can hurt people closest to us.  Likewise, we can also be hurt the most by those closest to us. Conflict damages us and only supernatural power of God can fix it.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.  James 4:1-3

Conflict keeps relationships broken.  It separates marriages, ruins friendships, and relationships.  Most all of us are conflict averse, we don’t want to deal with things and insist on harboring bad vibes which serve no one and only make us more miserable.  What we need to do is reconcile and move on!  We can learn more about how saying sorry can help with conflict resolution.

How do We Know that We Need to Say Sorry and Reconcile?

  • We don’t go where the person we are in conflict is
  • When we think about them and we get bad feelings 
  • When you can feel you can say whatever you want without recourse
  • When you privately wish they were dead (extreme)

As long as you allow conflict to remain in your life, it will take an emotional, spiritual, relational and physical toll on you.  Is that what you really want? Does the person you are in conflict even know you are unhappy?  Are they even alive? 

One of the reasons we have so much conflict in our lives is that we have created disposable relationships.  It’s the way the speed of things has evolved us.  We used to write letters, we now send texts using only emoji’s.  We used to sit and talk to one another. Now something for entertainment value must be added to the equation. So how can we better apply how saying sorry can help with conflict resolution?

Deal with it!

So, How Do We Fix Conflict? 

  1. First and easiest, just work harder at getting along with one another.  Everyone has a different opinion about everything, that’s ok. 
  2. Second, we need to understand conflict is everywhere and we must come to terms in how to deal with is. 
  3. Third, we need to understand the why of conflict (jealousy, perceived wrong doing, perceived unfair advantage, etc). 
  4. Last, and the most important, conflict hurts my relationship with God.

If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 1 John 4:20, NLT

Love for others, especially fellow Christians, is a primary commandment from Christ. So, a person who is in conflict with others, but claims to know God, is lying. A liar says he knows God but does not keep His commands (1 John 2:4). A liar denies Jesus is the Christ (1 John 2:22). Here, we are told that a liar says he loves God but hates other people.

Show Love to Others by Saying Sorry

The second part of the verse adds an explanation, moving from the “seen” to the “unseen.” It is more difficult to love someone you cannot see than someone you can see. If a person cannot love those they see, they cannot reasonably claim to love those they cannot see. This verse explicitly declares that a person cannot truly love God while hating other people. The person who claims to love God must also show love for others by saying sorry. God teaches us how saying sorry can help with conflict resolution.

This also ties into the idea that, since we cannot see God in all of His divine essence, love is meant to be the way God is seen. Both in ourselves, and in the world, God’s love is meant to be the way humanity “sees” Him.

In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others.  If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.  Matthew 6:14-15

So, its obvious, conflict should not be part of our lives, how do we rid ourselves from this?  We need to make the decision to deal with it, get past it and move on.

So, if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.  Matthew 5:23-24

Saying Sorry Can Bring Peace and Joy to Your Life

The main point here is conflict needs to be dealt with immediately and directly.  If you have these thoughts now, you have been harboring them for a minute, a month or years, start dealing with them today.

If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.  But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.  Matthew 18:15-17

In these verses, we see that if you try on your own and are unsuccessful, keep trying, but let it be known that you are trying to do the right thing.  If they are believers, you may need to talk to someone at church about it.  If they are unbelievers, you have done what the Bible says to do. You are practicing how saying sorry can help with conflict resolution.

Saying Sorry is Only One Side of Conflict Resolution

The other side of the coin when it comes in dealing with conflict is understanding the other persons point of view.  You have to listen to their story and understand any hurt that they may have. We need to listen and forgive one another. Saying sorry is only one side of conflict resolution.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.  James 1:19-21

Hurt people hurt people.  Only thru the power of Christ can we be fixed, we have been told how to deal with these issues, we need to follow through.  We need to address the conflict truthfully and in love regardless of the situation.

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.  Ephesians 4:15-16

How to Move From Conflict to Forgiveness

Let’s keep in mind that we are moving from conflict to forgiveness.  What we don’t need to do is bring along a basket of “hurt feeling reports” and throw all the conflicts we have (real or perceived) against the person we are dealing with, this will derail the process.  In this case, sometimes we might be too truthful and it isn’t loving.  It will actually create more strife.  Focus on the issue at hand, if you are successful here, then you continual to drain the conflict bucket and get your relationship back with that person.  Remember, we are resolving the issue, the emotion may take a long time to recover, sometimes it never recovers.  You have forgiven said you are sorry. You have done your part toward conflict resolution. You are acting on knowing how saying sorry can help with conflict resolution.

Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”  “No one, Master.” “Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.” You’re Missing God in All This.  John 8:10-11

Jesus forgave in love but said don’t do it again.  Once we are at this point in the conflict, both parties need to accept and understand that this issue will not come up again.  There needs to be unity in spirit.

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying.  When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! 

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.  Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.  Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.  Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you but conquer evil by doing good.  Romans 12:18

In this last set of verses, we are told to be happy, loving people, feed the hungry and let the Lord deal with those who don’t want reconciliation.  If we follow this path that is laid out over several verses, we can be happy, have a clear conscience and be in unity with God!

how saying sorry can help with conflict resolution, forgiveness

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If this video connected with you in some way, and you’d like to find out more about having a relationship with God and how His forgiveness and grace applies to you, a great place to start is praying the prayer below. The words themselves aren’t magic, but if you earnestly pray them and mean them, God will hear you! He’ll help you in ways you don’t understand, and we’ll help you find support and next steps.

The Prayer

Jesus, I don't know You, and I don't know what Your plan is for me. But thank you for coming to die in my place. I'm sorry for anything I've ever done wrong in my life. I don't understand how You could ever forgive me, but if You really would, I would like to accept your free gift of grace and complete forgiveness. Please come into my life and take control, and help me trust You. In Jesus' name I pray,

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