5 Questions to Help Pick Your Battles

I received an from someone about a conflict they are having with someone else. For context:

It is not a clearly defined Biblical issue. Both parties feel they are right. Neither is willing to budge on their position due to personal experience and conviction. Both parties are believers, but not related by blood or by marriage. They have no mandated relationship, such as work or marriage.

They are at an impasse.

They’ve been advised by well-meaning believers that they must address this conflict with the person. They are certain it will be received wrong, but they were told it’s the “Biblical” thing to do.

I may be wrong, which wouldn’t be that unusual, but I don’t think that’s always true. I think what they have to be able to do is forgive in their heart, reconcile the disagreement in their own mind and move forward with their life without the conflict continuing to haunt them. If they can’t do that then I would agree they must confront the conflict.

Not every conflict, however, is necessary to be resolved. Sometimes two people may have to agree to disagree and, if necessary, be willing to go separate ways to avoid future conflict. (Read the conflict between Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15.)

Based on the disclaimers listed, here are 5 questions to help pick your battles:

Can I move forward without holding a grudge or being resentful in my heart? – If not, do you need to confront simply to clear your heart to be whole again?

Will I be able to change their opinion if I confront them? – If not, then is there any value in the confrontation?

Is it impacting other people? – If your conflict is simply between two people then what’s the urgency of the conflict. If others are affected by your disagreement, then some sense of resolution may become necessary.

Does my heart lead me to confront? – We can’t dismiss the Spirit of God working in our life. If the issue won’t leave your mind, you need to do something.

Am I at peace with things as they are? – If you are at complete peace and the thought of confrontation only makes you miserable, then are you sure you are supposed to confront? Again, a conviction to confront should not be avoided, regardless of the fear involved, but if you are already at peace, why disrupt the calm?

Have you had a relationship you simply couldn’t reconcile? What questions would you ask?

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13 thoughts on “5 Questions to Help Pick Your Battles

  1. When you have forgiven 70 times 7 and you have done everything you can do on your part to make peace, how long do you chase a person that does not want to be caught?
    Twitter: kmac4him

  2. Great article! I do have a question for your input… What if a person disagrees with a rule from leadership due to personal conviction…like disagreeing with the dictation of how we respond to God’s presence (was told not to close eyes, hands lifted, words of encouragement). After disagreeing incorrectly, I apologized for the action, but I still disagree. As a result, I’ve been black listed so to speak…not scheduled to minister…gossiped about…and it seems like retaliation of some sort. Is this healthy in leadership? After the grudge that is being displayed towards me, and the retaliation…I’ll still disagree and may disagree on other things down the line…is this something that I should continue to subject myself to? Because I recognize it & forgive, am I free to depart?
    Twitter: LaSundrassong

  3. When I am not able to reconcile with particular relationship, I try to move out of the equation.

    As Hebrew 12:14 puts it, "Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy;" So, I try to make peace through reconciliation. When it fails, I feel it is good to move away from that specific relationship.

    • I am an analytcal person, and even though I know you are right, I also know I have to have some sort of "working conclusion" before I can even sleep, much less move on. This has been an on going battle for me! I am learning, but still very much a work in progress.
      Twitter: bryankr

      • I completely understand. It's much like criticism though, which I often can do nothing about, especially from people who don't even attend my church. I have to gain a “working conclusion” in my mind and move forward, many times never verbalizing the confrontation to the people criticizing. It's tough.
        Twitter: Ronedmondson

  4. Nice simple quick post.

    I’ve also learned to resolve your differences before the end of day. I think there’s a verse that references this. Speaks volumes for family.

    Also, I’d like to say we can debate the secondary issues but not divide over primary issues. That helps me as well.

  5. This was timely… I literally just got this email and I'm considering how to respond:

    "By changing Sunday School around to accommodate possible new members, let's not forget that the mature Christians need a place to still grow in the Lord… I think it would be a bad idea to be teaching elementary Christian principles to Christians who need to feed on meat. I know our church is big on outreach, but it's also about the Members. "

  6. I can’t say I have found myself in that position often, but often enough to say I agree. I did’t like the idea of leaving things the way they were, but it turned out for the best. I had the opportunity to view things after everything had calmed down, and it would have been so much worse had I done and said what was on my heart. Calmer,and quiter, heads prevailed!
    Twitter: bryankr