Jeff Bartell

A "bottom line" kind of guy

Talk it out …

We all hate conflict.

We would much rather live in a world where everyone can really get along.  That is called “Heaven” – and although many of us have a place reserved, we are most definitely NOT there yet!  In the real world, people say and do hurtful things.  They mess up our plans. They create emotional stress and we get uncomfortable.

What do we do then? Well, there are several options:

  1. Fight back.
  2. Whine, cry, feel sorry for ourselves.
  3. Tell everyone that will listen about our plight.  (It’s called gossip)
  4. Hide – “gut it out.”  (Often leads to ulcers)
  5. Go to the person and talk it out.

In 1Sam24, David is still running from Saul.  Saul is trying to kill David.  Did David actually DO anything to hurt Saul?  No.  But Saul listened to the gossip that David was planning to kill Saul.  It wasn’t true.  David and his men are hiding in a cave and Saul comes in the cave – alone – to “cover his feet.”  (That’s KJV.  The “modern equivalent” would be to “take a dump.”  Another good reason to read a KJV!) David can get “revenge” – but doesn’t.  He lets him go.

Once Saul is out of the cave, David comes out and talks to Saul about the whole situation – pointing out that he (David) is not trying to hurt Saul – as evidenced by not killing him in the cave when he had the chance.  He explains his situation.  Interestingly enough, Saul listens!  He repents!

Why can’t we do that more often?  Why don’t people just go to one another and TALK about their problems – rather than always running from conflict?  How bad can it get, really?  Will you suffer MORE from the conversation than you already suffer from the stress of unresolved conflict?  Not likely.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

The context is “conflict.”  Among the qualities required in a “servant of God” is “apt to teach.”  I realize that usually we apply that to accurate Bible teaching, in order to better instruct the heretics, but could we not make the application to general conflict resolution?  Shouldn’t a “servant of God” be able to create a reasonable discussion with another person with a differing opinion?  Wouldn’t we see more results if we did that?  How can a person consider themselves mature if they constantly run from conflict and don’t work through it reasonably?  I think the fear of conflict is directly related to the strength of a man’s flesh.  If you live as one “crucified with Christ” then you have no feelings to get hurt.  If you live as an “ambassador of Christ” then you love people enough to tell them the truth – CALMLY.  Whether or not they respond is entirely up to them, but you will have done your part.  This is the “godly” response.

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

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I was with you 100% until I read “If you live as one “crucified with Christ” then you have no feelings to get hurt”. I believe that we do need to have open, honest dialog to resolve conflict. I agree that not dealing with conflict comes from fear which is irrational because if God is with me who can be against me? But, I respectfully disagree with the Baptist mentality that if we are crucified with Christ we won’t have our feelings hurt. We are still human and vulnerable to hurt. If we weren’t, God wouldn’t promise to dry all of our tears. Yes, how we respond to those emotions- needs to be godly but to say that we shouldn’t have hurt feelings is crazy to me. That just reminds me of another Baptist theory that we shouldn’t cry at funerals for the saved. I attended and was a memeber of FBC for almost 10 years when Pastor Mark left and strong divisions entered our church. I left as a result of those divisions and have recently returned to give it a second chance after LOTS of prayer. My family has enjoyed our return but these types of undertones tend to rub me the wrong way. Which you may say is a fleshly reaction but I see it as a conviction that God wants me to be honest with him about how I feel because He “looks on the heart”. I’m not suggesting that we indulge constant complainers and highly sensitive individuals, instead, recognize that we were created as emotional yet forgiven beings. Christ himself wept. I think our goal needs to be an emotionally healthy church walking in the Spirit to reach those in our communities by having a sense of community.
Like I said before, I am in total agreeance with the rest of the post but i believe God wants us to be real and sometimes real isn’t always neat and tidy. If feelings were never hurt there would be no conflict to resolve. Anger is also fleshly but God tells us to “be angry and sin not”. We’re given freedom to have our emotions, our responses are what need to be dictated by our crucifixion with Christ.
With Respect,


Thank you for your comment. I don’t think that we really disagree too much – if at all. The point that I was trying to make is simply that if we view our lives as the Bible declares us to be (crucified with Christ), then we can more easily divorce our feelings from any conflict and just simply deal with the issue at hand. It is a healthier, mature way of dealing with conflict when we don’t take it personally. I agree that we, as human beings (saved or not), still are emotional beings. I agree with you. That is a point well taken. I don’t know why you refer to this as a “Baptist” mentality. The issue has to do with our feelings not controlling us – more than not actually having feelings. I’m glad that you are coming back to church but I hope that you are not going to “read into” what is being said with a predisposed anti-Baptist view. We strive to be biblical and welcome any discussion about areas that are perceived to be unbiblical. For the record, before reading your comment, I have never heard anyone say that you shouldn’t cry at a funeral of a saved person. I have no idea where that comes from.
If you would like to meet me to discuss further any concerns you have about what we believe and teach, I would be happy to do so. Like the post says: TALK IT OUT! I think that we have come a long way to heal many hurts in the last year and a half. I pray that you will not be too quick to judge and that you would be willing to help us grow through this transition.
Have a great day!


Sunday’s message was phenomenal! I have to admit that there were some residual hurt feelings that I hadn’t dealt with completely, leading to some presumptious judgements. However, on Sunday, God really used your message to reveal my unwillingness to forgive. When you spoke about forgiving someone as a source of freedom and that forgiveness doesn’t mean that you weren’t wronged… there was an undeniable stirring in me. It really hit me all at once, when Stu added “you may need to forgive someone in this room”, that God was speaking to me. I thought that God and I had worked through a lot of the healing my heart needed or I wouldn’t have come back to FBC..I wouldn’t intentionally return, only to judge. Yet, I had. Giving forgiveness for disappointments and receiving forgiveness for my bitterness, truly is freeing. I’m sure at some point my hubby and I will want to meet with you if it becomes clear that God wants us to stay/return to FBC as our home church. Thank you~


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