Conflict in the church: How Christians should quarrel


Conflict is crucial in a growing body. Without it, there can be no avenue for growth, correction and seeking of the truth. The finished work of Christ in bringing peace does not promise that there will be no conflict amongst the saints, but that we can still act in peace and love in the midst of conflict.

The avoidance of conflict can actually be harmful to a community in that it only postpones and stores up that which should be released. However, there is also a tendency for there to be too many wrong ways of stirring up conflict.

While the Bible does say that fruitless and foolish quarrelling should be avoided (Proverbs 20:3), it does also teach that conflict can sometimes be necessary and beneficial. Here are some ways that we are to engage in conflict in a way that brings out the best in each of us.

Avoid quarrelling about little things

There are many things worth debating about, but there are also a lot of things that are not worth quarrelling over. 2 Timothy 2:14 says, "Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers."

It takes the wisdom of God to be able to discern both and to gently and correctly handle those themes that we should start talking about.

Fight to resolve conflict

The goal of conflict should not be to prove someone wrong and the other right. While that will be the outcome at some point, what our goal should be is the resolution of conflict for good. When quarrels become too much about one being superior to the other, we lose sight of what really matters.

Colossians 3:13 says "Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive."

Quarrel in love

If resolution and unity are the goal of Godly conflict, love is the foundation that we build conflicts on. The right way to quarrel with someone is done not because we have hatred or bitterness for them, but because out of love we want to see the best out situations. Proverbs 15:1 says, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

Seek the best for everyone

Philippians 2:4 tells us, "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." The right kind of conflict will look for a win-win situation.

I know it can be unrealistic to want everyone come out of a conflict winning the debate, but it's possible for everyone to benefit out of a quarrel by coming out of it better and stronger in relationships. What matters most is at the end of the day, we value relationships over political correctness.