Yesterday, The Gospel Coalition published my article about “7 Steps to Conflict Resolution.” In the article, I walk through Philippians 4:2-9 to show that – far from being a random assortment of unrelated memory verses – this section provides concrete steps for navigating excruciating conflict.
Two prominent women—Euodia and Syntyche—had a disagreement so severe and public the entire church knew about it, and word reached the Apostle Paul (Phil 4:2). These women had once been ministry partners, but now they sat on opposite sides of the table. They couldn’t resolve their concerns on their own, so Paul employed a third party—his “true companion”—to lend aid (Phil 4:3).
Far from changing the subject, Paul coached his true companion over the next few verses on the process of mediation and reconciliation, providing steps to resolution.
Paul’s 7 steps are:
- Rejoice in the Lord always
- Let your reasonableness be known to everyone
- Remember the Lord is at hand
- Don’t be anxious about the conflict, but ask God to resolve it
- Guard your heart and mind with the peace of God, even when it does not make sense to do so
- Find something – anything – praiseworthy to focus on in your antagonists
- Find good role models and continue practicing these things
Doug Smith also recently preached a sermon on this text examining these principles further.
If you’d like to see my full article, check it out!