Why Refusing to Resolve Conflict Hinders Prayer

According to Paul Tautges of Counseling One Another, resisting or neglecting the “resolution of conflict, especially between yourself and another Christian, is a small but real rejection of the gospel itself and hinders our prayers.” He offers his advice as to what we should do about it. He writes:

Some sins are more passive than active. We may call these sins of omission rather than sins of commission because they are all about what we don’t do. These sins involve neglecting (and sometimes refusing) to do what is right rather than willfully doing what is plainly forbidden. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave pointed warnings against areas of neglect that are especially pertinent to this matter of unanswered prayer. Mishandling these warnings severely damages not only our horizontal relationships with others, but also our familial relationship with the Father and consequently the effectiveness of our prayers. One such area is the delay of conflict resolution.

As long as we live this side of heaven, we will continue to experience conflicts with others, and we will continue to hear God’s call to repentance and greater growth in the midst of conflict. Relational conflict, like everything else God puts in our path, is used by him for our good. When responded to with humility, long-suffering, grace, and forgiveness, such conflict leads to stronger, more Christ-honoring relationships. The transformative grace of God converts that which would weaken human relationships into something that substantially strengthens them—evil is turned into good, and cursing into blessing. This makes us more like Jesus and equips us to be better testimonies to the redemptive power of God in a world that is desperate for grace and peace.

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