Integrating faith with everyday life is one of the joys of teaching at a university with a faith-based purpose and mission. For those who teach at a Christian business college, it means integrating faith into the business life. God has designed and provided principles that can help us address conflicts within our organizations, businesses and relationships in a manner that leads to healthy and more fruitful endeavors.
See Conflict as an Opportunity
Conflict is not necessarily bad or destructive. Even when conflict is caused by sin and causes a great deal of stress, God can use it for good (Romans 8:28-29). Conflict in a business can be a good thing. It can help you find where the issues lie within your business. It can help you and your colleagues to grow as a team.
Conflicts are overlooked in most situations because people naturally focus on escaping from the situation or overcoming their opponent. Where there is disagreement there is an inherent potential for growth and development. Therefore, it is wise to periodically step back from a conflict and ask yourself whether you are doing all that you can to learn from this conflict or take advantage of it.
Addressing Legal Conflicts in Business
One of the major aspects a businessperson must be prepared to address is legal conflict. The business may be sued. The business may have been damaged and need to pursue a legal claim to be made whole. This can be an intense, aggressive, time-consuming and negative process and experience.
At the same time, we are compelled to live out the multiple verses that call for peace in the life of the believer and all that we do, such as: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9) and, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).
What a challenge, especially as we recognize that the heart of the gospel is peace and reconciliation.
-For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.- (Colossians 1:20)
Some professors do embrace and talk to the students about utilizing Peacemaking Principles in Christian conflict resolution. The following principles, and others, are all principles you may learn in conciliator training through Peacemaker Ministries. This includes:
- The Four G’s of Peacemaking
- Glorify God
- Get the log out of your eye
- Gently restore
- Go and be reconciled
- The PAUSE Principle of Negotiating (Philippians 2:3-4; Matthew 7:12)
- Affirm relationships
- Understand interests
- Search for creative solutions
- Evaluate options objectively and reasonably
- The Four Promises of Forgiveness (Matthew 6:12; 1 Corinthians 13:5; Ephesians 4:32)
- I will not dwell on this incident.
- I will not bring this incident up and use it against you.
- I will not talk to others about this incident.
- I will not allow this incident to stand between us or hinder our relationship.
The students are encouraged to have the businesses they create, build and serve in, embrace the alternative dispute resolution process of the Institute for Christian Conciliation (part of Peacemaker Ministries). These principles have been effective in resolving conflict and restoring relationships among individuals and organizations.
Create an Agreement
Students are taught about using contract provisions that waive the right to bring suit in court and commit to using an alternative dispute resolution process controlled by the Rules of Procedure for Christian Conciliation. This can be put in contracts with employees, vendors, partners and multiple other business relationships. Just having a definition for what constitutes acceptable behavior is a positive step in avoiding conflict. The goal of the process outlined by the rules is both a meaningful and binding resolution of the dispute and peace (preservation or restoration of the relationship).
Let us embrace a full life, including business life that “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).
The Colangelo College of Business follows the guiding principles of servant leadership, ethics and entrepreneurism. For more information about our college, click the Request More Information button at the top of the page.
More about Jon:
Jon began his legal career as an attorney with the Washington, D.C. area law firm Gammon & Grange, P.C. He has been representing tax-exempt organizations and businesses for 20+ years through Gammon & Grange and his own law firm. Jon is a graduate of Grace University (BA), Dallas Theological Seminary (ThM) and the University of Minnesota Law School (JD). He has built and sold several businesses, helped entrepreneurs start others and served in leadership with Starbucks Coffee Company and BandPage. He is currently with Google. He is also general counsel for Christian Camp and Conference Association, Association of Gospel Rescue Missions and Outreach, Inc. Jon and his wife, Leslie, enjoy living in downtown Phoenix.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.