By Steve Gladen
Conflict is a necessity of life that everyone experiences. It can happen in many different ways, but the root of it tends to be centered in gossip. When dealing with conflict, people tend to lean more toward the side of either being an avoider or an appealer. As an individual, it is important for you to know how to deal with conflict in a healthy way.
Conflict can often be summarized by one word: gossip. The Bible repeats over and over how we are to avoid gossipers and the destruction that gossip brings. Gossip breaks down community. Both avoidance and appeasement lead to gossip, which causes more harm than help in a conflict.
It is always more rewarding to resolve a conflict than to dissolve a relationship. The easy way out of a relationship is often to end it, but what God wants for us is to work through conflict. This develops a deeper and stronger relationship with both God and the other person.
When you encounter conflict in ministry, here are seven steps to address it.
- Take the first step. Be bold and take the first step in communicating about the conflict. Be sure to use terms relating to how you feel rather than pointed statements as to what the other person is doing.
- Ask God for wisdom. Don’t be afraid to, even when meeting with the other person, begin your time in prayer. Bringing your worries before the Lord is of utmost importance.
- Begin with your part. Lead with humility. Whatever the situation, you have had some part in it, so take the responsibility that you deserve.
- Listen to the other person’s perspective. It always helps to hear where the other person is coming from so that you can better understand the situation.
- Speak the truth tactfully. People can always hear the emotion behind words.
- Work on the problem. Don’t figure out the blame. Determining who’s to blame won’t help resolve the problem; it will only cause more grief. Focus on working out the problem rather than figuring out who’s to blame.
- Focus on reconciliation. When you focus on the relationship and place value there, the issue will work itself out. Never sacrifice your relationship for the problem at hand.
You can walk hand-in-hand without seeing eye-to-eye. You might never see things the same way someone else does, but that doesn’t have to disrupt the unity within your ministry. Handling conflict God’s way allows God to work in incredible ways.