Have you ever had problems with other people in the kitchen? I know I have, and if you've been in a kitchen for any period of time, I'm sure you have as well. But how does a person Biblically deal with these conflicts?
In many secular kitchens I've worked in, I've seen the chef yelling and screaming all day long at people. Is that the best way?
I've seen chefs throw things; once even knives. Is that the best way?
Many Christians, having seen such outrageous outbursts, are afraid of confrontation altogether, and instead of saying anything, end up hiding anger deep inside -- which allows nothing to be resolved. Is that the best way?
Having seen and experienced all the above methods mentioned, I truly believe the answer to all of these are a definite "No!" Although conflict is never fun or easy, it is often necessary -- whether you're the chef or an intern -- and there is a way through it. God clearly gives us a way to confront people, and although in the following passage He is mainly speaking about other Christians, I believe it's the best method for all confrontation...
"Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector."
Matthew 18:15-18 (NKJV)
First, and most importantly, notice the statement "if your brother sins against you". Personally, oftentimes when I have a problem with someone, after I've seriously thought and prayed through the situation, God brings me to realize the other person never did sin against me, and in all actuality, I'm the one who needs to do the apologizing.
Secondly, we're called to confront a person one-on-one. Demeaning a person with others around is never going to have positive results. You'll just make the person dislike you and disrespect you more and things will get worse -- MUCH worse. I find the best thing to do is to first pray about it -- ask God to set your heart to want to resolve the issue rather than just to rebuke the person. Then ask the person if he would sit down with you in a private place to talk. He probably will, and there you can politely ask him why he's been doing what he has, and you can share with him how you're struggling with it. During that time, remember that you still may be the one in the wrong. I've confronted people before and after hearing their response understood that they were completely justified in what they did and I merely misunderstood them.
Generally, if you come to a person VERY humbly, talking through the problem in a loving way will make things come out much better than when they started, but there is also always the possibility that he might not take it well. And if that does happen, go to the next step God has called us to: If there's another worker there who has witnessed what that person is doing, take him with you (not to gang up, but rather to prove the point to the person that there really is something wrong).
If, after that step, it's still not resolved, take the next step outlined in scripture and go to the boss for help, telling him all that's going on and what steps you've taken to try and correct the situation. If nothing happens then, you may want to reconsider how major the issue is and whether you can continue living with the unresolved situation or if you should start looking for employment elsewhere.
If, instead, you are the boss, and the person is obviously in rebellion against your authority, you may want to reconsider whether this person should be allowed to continue working there.
Although it may not be easy, that is what God has called us to do. And since that's what He's called us to do, it does work. And throughout the whole process, be in prayer about the situation so you can better allow God to work both in yourself and in the other person.
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