Conflict Resolution


Last Sunday, I heard some pretty sound advice on how to deal with a recalcitrant colleague. First, pull the person aside and in private, talk about your issues. Don’t lambast, criticize or embarrass the person in front of others. Don’t default to gossiping or bad mouthing either. If she listens and you are able to hash out your differences, great! You might even win her respect and future cooperation. If not, then bring in your immediate supervisor and have the three of you discuss the situation. If that still does not work, then go straight to HR or the boss.

Come to think of it, this methodology works as well with families, among friends and neighbors, possibly even co-op boards. Good stuff.

This nugget did not come from a $150 an hour consultant or life coach, but from a former bureaucrat named Levi, who lived a couple millennia ago. He is better known as Saint Matthew or Matthew the Evangelist, credited as author of the eponymous Gospel. The book is believed to have been written sometime between the first and second centuries C.E.

It had been some time since Jesus of Nazareth died and the Christian community had expanded to include non-Jews. Moreover, Jesus had made it very clear that all were welcome including the poor, prostitutes, tax collectors, lepers, outcasts – all manner of riff raff and flotsam. What had began as a loyal band of women and men grew into an established church, a large organization. As with any burgeoning group or system, conflicts arose and Matthew, through his gospel, had Jesus saying:

If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you a Gentile and tax collector.

Living in community always presents challenges. Knowing how to treat each other fairly and respectfully helps.

Photo source: Montage.

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