By Steve Gladen
Conflict is one of the necessities of life that we all go through. You may try to avoid it, but you have to deal with it. In Genesis 3, we learn that there tend to be two traits in conflict – avoiders and appeasers. Adam and Eve both tried to avoid God and appease God. In modern day terms, we try to make nice.
It’s important for you to understand conflict and deal with it. Here are three reasons why.
- Conflict blocks your fellowship with God (1 John 4:20).
- Conflict blocks your prayers (1 Peter 3:7).
- Conflict blocks your happiness (Job 18:4).
All through Scripture these three traits happen if you don’t deal with conflict.
What does conflict look like?
Conflict is frequently rooted in gossip. God spends time in Proverbs and throughout Scripture discussing how gossip breaks down community. Jesus gave us the cure in Matthew 18:15-17 where he discusses the appropriate way to deal with conflict. In this passage we are instructed to discuss the issue with a person one-on-one, if they refuse to listen bring along one or two other people, if they still refuse to listen take it to the church. Don’t handle conflict any other way. When we have conflict we tend to want to avoid or appease the person, but we tend to gossip about it with other people, which is wrong. It is always more rewarding to resolve the conflict than to dissolve the relationship. God wants you to work through conflict.
Steps to Wrestle Down Conflict
- Take the first step. Be bold and willing to talk with someone about the conflict between you. Share how you feel, not what they did wrong.
- Ask God for wisdom. When you talk to the person, ask if you can pray together for God’s wisdom over the situation.
- Begin with your part. Lead with humility. In any situation, you own some part of the conflict.
- Listen to their hurt and their perspective. Sometimes when you hear their perspective you will learn something new about the situation.
- Speak the truth tactfully. Understand your emotional side and choose your words wisely.
- Work on the problem, don’t figure out the blame. You both have some role to play in the problem, focus more on fixing the problem.
- Focus on reconciliation. The resolution is the issue. Put the focus on the relationship and the issue will work itself out.
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