The enemy will do all he can to interrupt the mission of the church, usually in the form of conflict. I have on many occasions brought people together who were involved in petty, or major conflict, and said, “Folks, this is getting in the way of what Jesus is wanting to do in and through us. And that scares me. Because what he has called us to is so HUGE and amazing and adventurous. Let’s not get in the way of that. Let’s jump on board again and not get distracted. Come on, come together and let’s pray, and if you need to ask forgivenesss, or confess any sin toward someone, this is the time to do so. Too much is at stake.”
What I have done is resolved conflict around the mission and message of the Gospel. When Paul admonished people who were in conflict he always appealed to the Gospel. The Gospel was his motivation for unity. I think you will see that in the following passages.
The command: If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
The Motivation is the gospel: To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
The Command: May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,
The Motivation is the Gospel: that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
The Command: Strive for peace with everyone,
The Motivation is the Gospel: and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
When we address conflict just so two people can get along, the motivation is not that great. They might not want to. Some prefer to hold grudges and stay mad. But when you bring in the Gospel, suddenly it takes on new light. It is frightening to me that when two people in the body of Christ refuse to reconcile, they are standing in the way of what God is doing. I don’t ever want to be found unreconciled when Jesus returns.