How to Deal with Conflict the Biblical Way

Conflict is a part of life.  People have different personalities, different preferences, different backgrounds and experiences.  When you put us all together on one planet, one neighborhood, or in one house, there will be conflict.   That’s true whether you are a Christian or not.  What matters most for the Christian is not that we have conflict, but rather how we choose to conduct ourselves in the midst of conflict, how we express ourselves, and how we treat those with whom we might disagree.  Listen to the May 6 sermon, “The Temper Test.”

In the Epistle of James, we are given a great prescription for dealing with conflict.  James 1:19-20 states the prescription in a simple and straightforward manner: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

  • What does it mean to be quick to listen and slow to speak?  It means we work really hard to truly listen and try to understand the viewpoint of others, especially viewpoints that we don’t share.  It has been said that we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.  It’s always a good idea when we encounter a conflict with someone, to go into discovery mode rather than attack mode.  That requires being quick to listen and slow to speak.
  • What does it mean to be slow to become angry?  It means that manage our emotions in such a way that we can remain calm and courteous in the midst of conflict.  Two disciplines to help us are deep breathing and prayer.  When our physical body begins to feel anger, deep breathing helps to relax the body and reduce the stress hormones running through our veins.  Deep breathing also sends more oxygen to our brain, so that we can think clearly rather than react foolishly.  Prayer helps us stay focused on the presence of the Holy Spirit, and our desire to demonstrate the love of Jesus even when it is difficult to do so.  I’ve experienced times when I’ve been in a difficult conversation or a difficult church meeting, where I could feel the anger and tension level rising in myself and others.  By pausing for a deep breath and offering up a prayer, I have experienced the Holy Spirit bringing peace and calm into my heart and into the situation.

There’s an old expression: “To live above with those we love, oh that will be the glory.  But to live here below with those we know, well that’s a different story.”   There’s a lot of truth to that.  But we get a little closer to heaven and we bring heaven a little closer to earth when we are quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.

Pastor Mark Miller

Becoming a Member of Virginia Beach United Methodist 

Sunday Worship

Today, after 12 years (don’t rush into anything, folks), I became a member at Virginia Beach United Methodist Church. It’s strange how quickly time can escape you. I remember my first Sunday like it was yesterday, sitting next to Jared Otto at the 9:30am service with the great Bob Johnson in front of us. Bob turned around and gave us a thumbs up on our shirt and tie ensembles (I told Jared we had to wear suits) and warmly introduced himself.

For a kid who spent his whole life in a Catholic church, it was a whole new experience. The music was warmer, the mood was more relaxed, there was a whole lot less up and down (Catholics know what I mean), and those sermons could inspire you to do anything, so I kept coming back. 

Since then, some people have left, some people have joined, some tragedy has struck, some heartbreak has happened, and some decisions have been tough, but perseverance has always stood strong and we’ve always moved forward. 

I’m thankful for all the people who’ve reached out to that random, tall, skinny, awkward, annoying, yellow toothed kid from New Jersey who showed up with Jared that day and then kept coming back by himself year after year, and for those same people that showed him God’s love and a beautiful Christian faith. 

The space inside the walls of this church was the first place I truly ever felt comfortable worshiping our God. 

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

I wish everyone could have an opportunity to reflect on their time at their church like I did today. Don’t forget to slow down and take a picture or two along your journey. Maybe we should have a 12 year waiting period for new members. 

It was nice, today, seeing so many people celebrate this journey with me, and it touched my heart that my old friend Jared could be there too. 

Philippians 4:13 “For I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.”

I’m proud of the work we’ve done in our effort together to glorify our loving God. 

Thank you all. @ Virginia Beach United Methodist

-Tim Golden, from his Sunday, May 6 Facebook post

Potter’s House Report April 2018

Thanks to your continued, generous support, Potter’s House was able to provide $25,050 worth of financial assistance, bikes, and food to the homeless and working poor in April. We served 502 lunches, conducted 199 interviews, and supplied 318 households at Fresh Food Wednesdays. Jennifer Vaughan, Director of Potter’s House Ministries, has been meeting with the leaders of the Housing Resource Center (HRC) in Virginia Beach, a facility designed to provide homeless families and individuals a place to get back on their feet. Some of the highlights are:

  • Transportation to and from the HRC is being planned
  • Move in for the offices (Human Resources, PATH, Day Support Center, Health Clinic, etc.) is planned for June
  • There will be 49 beds for single homeless and 10 rooms (40 beds) for families (Winter Shelter has an average of 65-70 each night)
  • There are 29 one bed units for Permanent housing

Reasons for needing assistance this month included:

  • Laid off from work, started new job but got behind on rent
  • Daughter and grandchildren have come to live with her and she is behind on water bill
  • Husband on disability and also taking care of her father
  • Hospitalized and unable to work
  • Elderly with disability and rent increases are more than Social Security increases