This is the second of a two-part discussion of the Christian basis for and approach to mediation. The first part focused on the city clerk in Ephesus defusing a mob by understanding the facts of their grievance and using the facts to lead them to realize that the gathering was unnecessary and could violate the anti-riot ordinance. We learned from the event that a key aspect of mediation is to assess the facts and use them to guide the disputants to a peaceful understanding. Also, a mediation should identify the available options for ending the dispute and potential consequences of continuing with it.
In this final installment of the discussion, we examine two cases that highlight potential difficulties with assessing the facts and presenting them to the disputants. In a case mediated by Solomon, there was no independent witness to verify conflicting accounts of the facts by the disputants. In contrast, the facts were clearly identified at the outset for the second case; however, the mediator needed special communication strategy to present the facts to the disputant in a way that defined a path to resolution. The cases help illustrate special skills that a mediator may need in searching for an acceptable resolution of a conflict.
You may have at times needed to mediate in a dispute between two parties, calm down a crowd, or help an individual resolve an internal conflict. The bible provides guidance on conducting mediation, through several successful examples. We discuss a few of the examples to understand what they did and from them learn how to prepare for, and the approach to conducting, a mediation.
The first example comes from a city clerk defusing a mob in Ephesus during Paul’s mission with Silas. A large crowd had gathered in the city theater and threatened to riot. The city clerk calmed and dispersed the crowd by explaining the facts in a way to convince them the riot was not necessary. We will also look at King Solomon’s mediation of a dispute between two ladies over a baby and commander Joab helping King David resolve an internal dispute between David the father and David the king. We use these examples to learn the Christian basis for, and approach to, mediation. The study is presented in two sessions. This session focuses on using the Scriptures (e.g., Christ’s teaching on seeking peace and Paul’s letters to the Romans and Galatians) to understand the city clerk’s successful mediation in Ephesus.
We discuss an approach to settling family dispute through unrelenting commitment to peace. The discussion focuses on interactions between Jacob and Esau while Jacob was on his way back to Canaan from Paddan Aram. He sent emissaries to Esau, conveying to him a message of humility, desire for peace, and description of progress that occurred in his life during the previous twenty years.
The bible provides practical guidance on settling family disputes. In this first of a two-part study, we learn about family dispute settlement, roles of the Council of Relatives, and the importance of sharing food, based on interactions between Jacob and Laban during Jacob’s departure from Paddan Aram. When Laban was informed that Jacob left with his household and belongings without telling him, he gathered his relatives and pursued Jacob, caught up with him at Gilead, and confronted him the next day in the presence of their relatives. The interaction that followed illustrates that the best approach to settling a family dispute is to make peace without necessarily digging for the truth, setup mechanisms for preventing future disputes, and invite God to witness and honor the settlement.
In this bible study we learn about business partnership agreements, leadership responsibilities, and re-alignment of relationships at marriage. The study focuses on interactions between Jacob and Laban during Jacob’s final six years in Paddan Aram and between Jacob and his wives in deciding to leave Paddan Aram to return to his Cradle in Canaan.