We are wired differently in how we respond to conflict. Some of us avoid the pain involved in open conflict by peace faking. While others provoke it to escape feelings of failure through blaming others.
The quality of our relationships depend on how we deal with conflict. Unresolved conflicts are the termites of relationships, undermining them until they explode. Piles of resentment grow until the dam breaks, often over something petty.
But with grace, conflict is an opportunity to demonstrate the love of God.
Here are four ways to approach resolving conflict:
1. Seek to glorify God by trusting God through dropping our own agenda. Focus on what we contributed to the conflict.
2. Ask God for the gift of mercy. Mercy frees us from the need to fix others. Mercy helps us recognize that we are both unholy and need grace. We give up the right to be right. Four words that can heal if said sincerely, “You may be right.”
3. The best way to resolve conflict is to listen. Listening is not just waiting for our turn to talk. It is giving our time and full attention. It involves hearing the other’s feelings along with their reasoning.
4. If they give you the opportunity, very gently help the other take responsibility for their part in a conflict. Hurt is not the same as harm.
These are notes from the sixth part of a series on How We Sabotage Relationships. They can be found on the Crosspoint Church in Nashville, Tennessee’s website under the section: Messages.