Reading: Communicate that you are both on the same side

STEP ONE: Relationship - Build it.

Philemon 1:2 ... and fellow worker-- also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier--and to the church that meets in your home:

2.Communicate that you are both on the same side.

If you have a relationship issue (an issue that puts you on opposite sides) with someone, it is usually with someone close to you. I mean, who cares if someone you hardly know has an issue with you?

The relationship issues we tend to lose sleep over are the ones we have with people that we know well, the people we do things with on a consistent basis, the people that are on our team, the people that are, supposedly, on our side.

Like who?

Your spouse. Your son. Your daughter. The people at work. Your neighbors and friends. The people at church. The guy with whom you do business. Your father or mother. Your brother or sister. Anyone that you know.

Like what issues?

Betrayal. Your spouse cuts you down consistently, not so much to your face or even behind your back, but in front of your friends. Your friends become the judge and jury before which your marriage trial takes place. Youhave communicated your disapproval of this behavior to your spouse, but that just starts a complaining match.

What would happen if you did not retaliate in kind to your spouse's public insults, but instead, began to consistently, in a winning, courteous, enthusiastic manner, communicate the positives of being on the same team? I often use the words, "Team Steve and Marie” when talking about my marriage and the things we are doing.


Matthew 18:15-20.

Following the outline of Matthew 18 is a great way to avoid gossiping about others.

You know there is something wrong when the people in your life start avoiding you. Someone has been saying things, negative things, about you. When you find out what is being said and by whom, what will you do?

When I find out that someone has been gossiping about me, my instinct is to pick up the phone or drive over to the perpetrator's house and ask him or her what in the world is going on. That usually does not go well.

We sometimes say negative things about people behind their back because we are too insecure to say it to their face.

Competition. I completed my seminary training, and a church wanted me to be their pastor. I was ready. I was confident. I was eager to get on with ministry. Some of the church people helped my wife and I move our one van load of stuff into the parsonage (The church house).

My books went into the pastor's study at church.

One of my new parishioners stopped by to meet the new pastor. After introducing himself to me, he paused to look at my books. After giving them the once over, he looked at me and said, "I have more books than you.”

Turns out his family was one of the most influential families in the history of that area. He had thought about going to seminary as a young man but instead became a wealthy farmer.

For the next four years, it was game on. Both he and I competed as if we were on opposing teams. When I preached, he would not look at me. In fact, he would sit sideways facing the wall.

It was a great church, but that one relationship was a constant drag on my enthusiasm for ministry.

What could I have done differently?

I could have, in one way or another, communicated that both he and I, despite our differences, despite our likes and dislikes, notwithstanding the number of books either of us had, regardless of talent or lack thereof, are on the same side.

Let's expand this. What would happen if you routinely and consistently communicated to your problem teenager, to the lazy guy at work, to your nagging spouse, to that person at work who is always taking sides against you that ...

"We are on the same side!”

By the way, the guy that was a thorn in my side in my first church wrote me a letter many years later. He apologized.

Disagreements. It had been another late board meeting at the church. A proposal to add a morning service that was more contemporary and "seeker-sensitive” was put before the congregation and it passed. That was 1986, and I had never heard of churches doing this before.

But now those that disagreed with the change that the proposal entailed came out in force to protect their interests.

The issue was not just the addition of another service, but a change of time for the current morning service - a half an hour change. If you want to hear church people whine and cry, try changing the service time.

The board was meeting, and folks had arrived to voice their objections - even though everyone already had a chance to speak up when the vote was taken. Some were just not going to accept "yes” for an answer.

Woman: Why are we doing this?

Pastor: Our church is full; we need to do something.

Woman: We could squeeze a few more people in the front next to the pulpit.

Pastor: New people come late; they will not sit up front in front of everyone.

Woman: Well, why don't they come on time like we do?

Pastor: I don't know. That's just the way it is. I'm just glad they are coming at all.

Woman: Well, if they want our benefits, they will have to sacrifice for them.

Pastor: They, the newcomers, should do the sacrificing?

Woman: That's the question, isn't it? Who should do the sacrificing, us or them? After all, we built the church; we paid for it.

This is where I wanted to scream and say, "If God had that kind of attitude, where would you and I be? He sacrificed His only Son for us. We are the ones who are called to pick up our cross daily and follow Him.”

John 3:16 (NIV) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Was I wrong? No, my logic was sound. My answers were Biblical. But what did this woman hear? She heard that this disagreement put us on opposite sides.

There are two steps in an argument.

Step one is - I disagree with you.

Step two is - I tell you that I do not agree with you.

It takes a lot of energy to go from step one to step two. Usually, it is negative energy.

People, when they feel the need to confront or oppose something, are not ready for a logical defense. They need to unload a shotgun full of negative emotion. They want you to listen. You or somebody stepped on their feelings. They are full of righteous indignation. They have rehearsed their response to the situation over and over in their minds. They have burdened close friends with their concern. They have lost sleep. And in the end, they see you as one who is on the "other side.”

When people do this to me, I want to correct their thinking and, despite my experience to the contrary, I often think that I can clear things up in a sentence or two. But tankers do not turn on a dime. Neither do people in a disagreement.

Most people start from the perception that the other guy is wrong and they are right.

Since disagreements put people on opposite sides, the first thing you need to do to resolve the conflict is establish that you and the one you have a disagreement with, though you may disagree with each other, are not on opposite sides.

So how in the world do you communicate, in the middle of a dispute or disagreement, that you are both, in fact, on the same side?

Talk about past eventsi.e. I might say to my wife, "Remember when we got lost and we had to ....” - occasions where you were literally on the same side of some issue that was a threat to the both of you.

Talk about current issues that you know that you both agree on.

Communicate in some way: "We are both followers of Christ. We both want to walk with God in our personal lives and marriages and families, and we want to share that walk with others. We are members of the one body of Christ, and we belong to each other.”

Romans 12:5 (NLT) We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.


1.Why do teammates, co-workers, partners, and even fellow church members sometimes fight amongst each other?1 Corinthians 11:18In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you ...

2.Why does conflict with friends, family, co-workers, and even church members often cause hard feelings?

3.Why do you think people areoften threatened by individuals on their team?

Last modified: Monday, August 13, 2018, 9:06 AM