Facebook Twitter

How to resolve disputes without litigation

SHARE How to resolve disputes without litigation

Taking the itme to prevent problems will nip many disputes in the bud

Maintain good relations with other people, but be cautious in your business affairs. Before matters become disputed, take the time to anticipate and carefully prevent their occurence. But if a dispute occurs, here are some suggestions:*Keep calm, avoid anger, never be rude, keep the channels of communication open and don't gossip.

*Maintain spirituality through prayer, fasting, scripture study and meditaion.

*Seek help form the Lord and obtain trusted cousel and even a priesthood blessing. then carefully and clearly explain your position and reasons to the other person. Treat the other person with courtesy and respect.

*Appeal to the other person's sense of high ideals of fairness, honesty and integrity, and maintain your high ideals of fairness, honesty and integrity.

*Work to resolve the porblems quickly. Never allow wounds to linger.

*Empathize: Listen to and understand the other person's point of view.

*Understand the healing effect of the priciple of forgiveness.

*Make the relolution of the dispute "win-win." (And remember that a law suit may often be "lose-lose" situation.) Seriously consider a settlement, mediation or arbitration.

*Follow the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." - D. Gary BEck, Gales Ferry, Conn.

How we did it:

Acted as arbitrator

Several times when I was a bishop, men brought business conflicts to me to help resolve, rather than go to court. both parties had to agree in advance to accept the solution, and each had to be open, honest and fair.

We held "hearings" and never a trial, and heard "positions," never evidence. I acted as an "arbitrator," not as a judge. The system worked well. Several times I resolved neighborhood disputes the same way. It was a confidential, private way of resolving what were often bitter conflicts. people have told me a decade later how well a solution worked out. - William M. Timmins, Holladay, Utah

Seek Lord's direction

Recall first the warning form the Savior - ". . . whosoever is angry with his brohter shall be in danger of his judgment." (3 Ne. 12:22.)

Seek direction from the Lord. Be selfless, and look at the dispute with an eye toward love for your brother. Then do the following:

*Identify the issues of the dispute and write them down.

*Determine the importance of each issue to the person and you.

*Be honest and be open to compromise.

*Look at the desired end result form the perspective of the other person as well as for your own.

Keep in mind the words of teh Savior when He said, "And if any man will sue thee at the law ans take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also." (3 Ne. 12:40.) - Rick Lifto, Alliance, Neb.

Always been mediator

From the beginning of the world, a mediator has existed between God and man. This true principle is evident in the church today.

There are thousands of honest, ordained judges of Israel whom we call bishops. Before I was called to be bishop, I asked my bishop to mediate a dispute between myself and a brother on the high council. With honor and respect for my bishop, I knew I could abide by his decision.

Since I have been called as a bishop, I have sat in on council with two or more parties with disagreements. I have learned that when certain ingredients are involved, truth will prevail, honesty and integrity will triumph, testimonies will grow and souls will be preserved. No matter what the differences are, the following ingredients lead to a success:

*A prayerful heart.

*A submissive spirit to priesthood leaders' counsel.

*A desire to feel and have spiritual confirmation. - Wm. B. Mannewitz, McKinney, Texas

Joseph Smith's advice

Often when I see people get upset to the point of wanting to take legal means to get satisfaction for their hurt fellings, I think of an unpleasant scandal a woman complained of to the Prophet Joseph Smith.

This woman could have exploded the malicious gossip she had heard about herself into an unpleasant legal dispute. But she went to the Prophet Joseph.

Joseph asked her if the report was "utterly untrue." The woman said she was quite sure it was untrue. He then told her to think no more about it for it could not harm her. If untrue, it could not live and the truth would survive. However, she was not satisfied with this cousel.

Joseph then gave to her his method of dealing with such cases. He would think in his mind of the time and place that the bad story had originated. Then he would seek to remember if any act or deed of his might have given rise to a building block by which the story could have been started. If he found any slight act, he then thanked his enemy for warning him of the weakness and went on his way without resentment.

The woman, at the prophet's request, searched her memory deeply for a few moments and finally admitted that perhaps she had caused part of the problem. Joseph told her that in her heart she could forgive that person who had risked his own good name and her friendship to give her a clearer view of herself. "The sister thanked her adviser and went away in peace." (From the journal of Jesse W. Crosby.) - Paul E. Damron, Windham, Main

'Agree with adversayr'

Arbitration, mediation, couseling, negotiation, talking to one another, use of government and industry agencies, offices and councils are ways of settling disputes without resorting to the courts. The legal profession and the medical profession are often compared to each other. A trial is like major surgery. Sometimes it is necessary, and that is why we have courts, but sometimes a different course of action can resolve a problem without the trauma and expense that the big solution carries with it.

Better Business Bureaus and the American Arbitration Association often provide arbitration services. Some states provide for arbitration as an alternative to court. Debt problems are often resolved by open communication between the creditor and the debtor or through a financial couselor or Comsumer Credit Counseling Service.

Consider the Savior's counsel, that we agree with our adversary quickly, "whiles thou art in the way with him." (Matt. 5:25.) It is difficult to argue with someone who agrees with you. In any confrontation, something exists that you can agree with, such as your adversary's right to state his position.

After the hostility is diffused, seek to define and agree on the areas of disagreement. Next determine what solutions are available to settle the problem. Be willing to listen. Be willing to see the problem from the position of your adversary. - R. Kent Gardner, Lacey, Wash.

How to checklist:

1. Identify issues and their importance to each party.

2. Try to solve problem yourself before arbitration.

3. Be willing to lsiten, compromise, see other's position.

4. Seek Lord's direction, and try to learn from teh experience.

Write to us:

Oct. 15 "How to capture the attention and interest of youth in teaching."

Oct. 22 "How to maintain close ties with elderly family and friends living in nursing homes."

Oct. 29 "How to put together a useful, appropriate package that a missionary would appreciate."

Nov. 5 "How to plan and prepare nutritious and economical meals."

Nov. 12 "How to better apply Bible teachings in your life as well as in your family's."

Nov. 19 "how to gain the spirit of thanksgiving on Thanksgiving."

Nov. 26 "How to motivate and inspire your children to excel."

Dec. 3 "How to help enrich the lives of those with emotional or mental problems."

Dec. 10 "How to plan a stimulating sunday gospel study period for yourself or your family."

Have you had good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.