Written by Pamela K. Orgeron, M.A., Ed.S., BCCC, ACLC, Author
What is conflict resolution? “Any of the methods used by disputing parties to settle their differences. Common methods include accommodating each other’s needs, compromising, or working together toward shared goals; or avoiding, competing with, or attempting to defeat the opponent.” (Conflict Resolution, 2009) In this article, I will explore healthy ways to resolve conflict. I will look at conflict in workplaces, in marriages, and on school campuses. Lastly, I will discuss what the Bible says about conflict and offer biblical solutions to resolving conflict.
Psalm 133:1 (NKJV): “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!”
In a perfect world, I would expect unity should be the goal of conflict resolution. However, we must accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world where conflict resolution methods do not always end up with a happy ending. Before getting too deep in the discussion of conflict resolution, I would like to identify the types of conflict I found in my research. Evans identified four types. (2013). They include
- Interpersonal Conflict—to keep things simple, an example of this type of conflict would be when a husband and his wife disagree about where to go on a date.
- Intrapersonal Conflict—this occurs internally in a person involving thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. An example would be when I am offered a comfort food when I do not feel stomach hunger. Will I give in to the temptation or just say, “no”? That’s an intrapersonal conflict. In some instances, if these types of conflict are not resolved they can result in a person having depression or anxiety.
- Intragroup Conflict—these conflicts occur among members of the same group, for example, in a family or in a specific church.
- Intergroup Conflict—these types of conflict occur between different groups. One obvious example from today’s world that comes to my mind is the conflict between conservative Christians and the supporters of the LGBT community who disagree on whether homosexuality is a sin.
In literature, there are seven commonly known types of narrative conflict (Nichol, n.d.; 7 Types of…, n.d.), which I think also apply to today’s world. These include:
- person versus person
- person versus self
- person versus God
- person versus nature
- person versus society
- person versus the unknown or the supernatural
- person versus technology or machinery
In this article I will focus on conflict between members of mankind and between individual men and society. Person versus self, or intrapersonal conflict can be complicated, and I believe merits a separate article. The issue of person versus nature also would be another lengthy article if one considers the different ways to prepare for natural disasters, such as tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, etc.
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