Today’s Blog: Resolving a Dispute?
TODAY’S PROVERB: It is honor for one to resolve a dispute, yet every fool quarrels. Proverbs 20:3, TLV
Our proverb today can be seen two ways: resolving a dispute we’re in, or helping others resolve a dispute. In the case of helping others resolve a dispute, it may seem to conflict with Proverbs 26:17 — “Like one who takes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own.”
But actually the latter passage gives us more insights into how we could resolve a dispute. The key word is “meddles.”
Involving ourselves, uninvited into a conflict or quarrel is generally asking for trouble. We may think we see what the issues are, and perhaps a way to resolve the dispute, but we run the risk of the divided parties uniting and turning on us.
From a legal standpoint, there are two types of resolutions, one requires a legal representative (judge, jury, or arbitrator) who makes the final decision. The second is more consensual and may have an agreed upon mediator who helps the parties come to an amicable decision.
Are you the mediator?
If we are elected to mediate, we hold an awesome responsbility and need to be fair and impartial.
Someone could be right, but their behavior is out of line. Those behaviors can mask the real issues. Helping both parties separate facts from emotions, truth from reactions is an honorable thing.
Providing a safe environment for people to be heard without disrespecting others is an art.
Helping them evaluate and come to their own solutions goes a long way in developing stable families, congregations, communities, and staff.
To be that type of mediator, one must be wise. They must be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Being able to operate well in discernment and understanding is also imperative. It’s important that the mediator does not jump to conclusions, especially when strong emotions and bad behaviors are involved.
What an honor it would be to see a dispute resolved amicably. To know we helped to facilitate a discussion where the parties involved could see each other’s side and find the best way to walk away in respect.
What if we are the ones in dispute with another? Applying these principles to our discourse will work as well. Being wise. Seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Not jumping to conclusions. Listening to what is being said — even if it is said in anger. Finding the resolution with integrity and patience. Yes, that would be an honor.