Peaceful home in the woods.

How to resolve conflict and address strife in relationships

The Bible describes Abraham and Lot as two righteous men. However, even righteous people can encounter disagreements, as demonstrated by the conflict between their herders. This article aims to use the biblical story of Abraham and Lot to offer key insights on how to resolve conflict and address strife in relationships.

Beyond being friends, Abraham and Lot were also family, adding a layer of nuance to their relational challenges. Their decision to peacefully separate teaches us that conflict doesn’t define character but offers an opportunity for personal and relational growth if handled properly.

Abraham’s approach serves as a model: instead of tolerating negativity or conflict, he actively addressed it to reach an amicable resolution. This teaches us that, while inevitable, conflict doesn’t have to destroy our spiritual development or relationships.

Sometimes, even among the righteous, differing perspectives and needs can lead to a healthy separation, a choice for peace rather than strife, as exemplified by the story of Abraham and Lot.Sometimes, even among the righteous, differing perspectives and needs can lead to a healthy separation, a choice for peace rather than strife, as exemplified by the story of Abraham and Lot.

Conflict doesn’t have to be destructive and can offer an opportunity for growth if addressed constructively.

Navigating conflict constructively

Mature individuals understand that navigating conflict constructively allows both parties to learn and strengthen the bond. Like Abraham and Lot, we can learn to embrace conflict as a catalyst for growth while preserving valuable relationships. Remember, strife isn’t inevitable. We can pave a path towards peace and understanding by choosing respectful and honoring communication.

Carefronting: A different approach to conflict resolution

two people conversing

Business coach Mark Miller uses the term “carefronting” to describe a specific approach to addressing conflict. Unlike traditional confrontation, which often emphasizes assigning blame and prioritizing the confrontation itself over maintaining relationships, carefronting prioritizes addressing the issue at hand while also aiming to preserve the connection between the individuals involved.

Instead of simply “confronting someone,” carefronting involves approaching all parties transparently, respectfully, and with honor. The goal is to discuss the issue openly and honestly to find a solution that benefits everyone and strengthens the relationship.

This approach acknowledges that conflict is unavoidable but emphasizes that it can be an opportunity for growth and understanding. Leaders can constructively navigate challenges while fostering positive and productive relationships by carefronting the situation’s reality.

When carefronting might not work, recognizing limitations

However, it’s important to note that this approach may not be successful with some, particularly individuals who exhibit patterns such as lack of empathy, grandiosity, entitlement, gaslighting, and manipulation. They may use tactics like twisting words, denying accountability, or deflecting blame, making it challenging to have a clear and constructive dialogue.

If this is the case do not engage with the person or persons to establish peace without a third party skilled in working with people who demonstrate manipulative and controlling behavior.If dealing with individuals exhibiting manipulative or controlling behavior, consider disengaging and seeking the support of a third-party professional trained in navigating such complex dynamics.

Abraham’s four insights on how to resolve conflict and address strife

A person is looking through a hole.

The story of Abraham and Lot serves as a potent reminder that there may be no need to hold onto hurt and anger after conflicts. Here are some points we can learn from their story:

  1. Righteous people can have conflict: Even virtuous individuals experience disagreements. These conflicts don’t define their character or faith but reflect differing perspectives and needs.

  2. Healthy separation is an option: Sometimes, separation is the best choice for everyone’s well-being and growth. It doesn’t imply hatred but rather acknowledges diverse paths leading to fulfillment.

  3. Forgiveness and understanding are crucial: Holding onto negativity harms personal and spiritual growth. Practicing forgiveness and understanding, even without reconciliation, is essential for inner peace.

  4. Conflict is an opportunity: While negativity can be detrimental, navigating conflict constructively can lead to personal and spiritual growth.

Cultivating growth and understanding through conflict
By applying these lessons, including the principles of “carefronting,” we can navigate conflict with grace and promote personal and spiritual growth while fostering more robust and meaningful relationships.

OlaDele Okuwobi

Dele Okuwobi, founder of Wonder Association, envisions co-laboring with Jesus build the most compelling movements that drive the church’s transition to Jesus’ message about the Kingdom of God by the end of the 21st Century. This vision unfolds through 21st Century Church, a church plant launched in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2020, and the Love & Unity Project, a consulting and coaching agency that equips churches and organizations to combat personal and systematic bias through righteousness and justice. Their combined efforts aim to inspire lasting change and transformation, both within individuals and within the broader church community. serves as a global platform to amplify this vision, where they craft and mold a collection of messages to share the good news of the Kingdom of God and shift culture.