In many situations, the best way to resolve a conflict is simply to overlook the personal offenses of others. This approach is highly commended throughout Scripture:
“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense” (Prov. 19:11; cf. 12:16; 15:18; 20:3).
“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out” (Prov. 17:14; cf. 26:17).
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8; cf. Prov. 10:12; 17:9)
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2).
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col. 3:13; cf. Eph. 4:32).Adapted from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 82.
Food for Thought
Large, raging conflicts don’t always start as large, raging conflicts. They sometimes start as tiny annoyances that spring from small misunderstandings that come from tired mouths that speak under stressful circumstances (like holidays!). Get a great start on solving your 2013 conflicts: Don’t start any more in 2012! Re-read the verses above. Do any of them speak to you in a special way? Why not memorize that verse as a “head start” on overlooking the personal offenses that will inevitably come your way as you gather together with family, friends, and church in the days ahead?