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Handling Grievances the Gospel Way

9 years ago

548 words

A Sample Grievance Process

From time to time, in every community, issues arise between individuals and and others in organisations. This is normal. In anticipation, this document is designed to assist individuals find a godly and appropriate pathway to see their issues and concerns addressed.

The core Biblical values that support this process are truth-telling (Eph 4:15,25), justice-seeking (Micah 6:8), grace-giving (Col 3:13) and peace-making (Matt 5:9, Eph 4:2-3). The overall process is outlined in Matt 18:15-20.

Once initiate this process should be followed with care.  It is important to deal with the relationship quickly so that it does not become complicated.

Step One Personal ReflectionTake some time before God to pray and reflect on the offence or injury you have received. In some situations it is appropriate to overlook the offence, in other situations important principles may be at stake and the situation needs to be taken further.

(Possible Step)

Wisdom and Accountability

If you are unsure about the right response and feel the need to seek wise counsel for yourself before taking the situation further it is appropriate to do so. Seek a godly counsellor, pastor, leader or mentor to share with. The focus of this is to gain clarity on the right path to take and to be accountable in the situation to act with integrity, wisdom and towards making peace.

This consultation must be distinguished from gossip or sharing the incident with others in order to gain sympathy and support. These are inappropriate.

Step Two

Informal Discussion

A key step in resolution is to go to the other person informally and in private and share your concern. Seek to understand the perspective and viewpoint of the other. Be willing to receive an apology or respond to a process of restoration if it is offered. If the matter is resolved, no further action is needed.

Step Three

Formal Discussions

If step two fails to reach a resolution ask that it move to a formal process. Here others may be invited to be involved as either support people or informal facilitators. At this level it is appropriate that some record be kept of what occurs. If resolved, no further action is required. Normally the church leadership would be notified that this has happened.

Step Four

Formal Mediation

If step three fails, then the church should appoint a trained and agreed mediator who will meet with both parties and then facilitate a discussion together. Points of agreement and disagreement are usually documented along with the outcome, usually a solution which is acceptable to both. If agreement is reached, no further action. The confidential report is given to the church leadership as well as to the individuals. Keeping the agreement is a matter of trust on both sides.

Step Five Arbitration

If step four fails, the church and both parties may agree to abide by the ruling of an appointed and agreed arbiter or arbitration panel. In this scenario the arbiter interviews both parties and may ask for further witnesses. The case is examined and principles of justice applied. A judgement will be given and the parties by their own agreement should abide by it.

If this step fails, the situation has moved beyond the ability of the community to handle it internally and it must be referred to the civil courts.

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