Who likes conflict? I mean who really just enjoys it? Actually, believe it or not some people do. Personally, I do not enjoy conflict and we all deal with it in different ways. Unfortunately, in life we will all face conflict in one way or another. If you are human and have human relationships there is bound to be a conflict at some point. If you have a hard time communicating how you feel, expressing your needs or wants and you never learned how to resolve conflict in a healthy way then more than likely there’s something you can learn within the conflicts you are facing.
What does Jesus say about conflict? Mathew 7:5 “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
What does this mean? Conflict is a way for us to recognize our own issues. The internal things that cause our hearts to be angry, our minds to think negatively and then our behaviors to respond from that place. We too often make conflict about the other person. We rarely in most cases look at ourselves. It’s easy to blame conflict on the other person and even easier to ignore it and walk away. We don’t take time to listen or understand because then it would require me to be responsible for my part.
Phil. 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
So, how do we respond? I can say in my own life the way I learned to deal with conflict was to walk away from you. That is an easier solution, to protect myself from any further wounding; “You hurt me now I’m going to hurt you by withholding myself from you, by ignoring you or by closing out my heart towards you!” How many have ever experienced this or done this themselves? It’s an unhealthy way to deal with conflict, it leaves you alone, it only further damages relationships and allows us to stay stuck and leaves internal unresolved conflict that will show up in other areas of your life. In every conflict there should always be an opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings, we must be willing to listen. We must be willing to lay down our own pride and allow our hearts to be open enough to hear truth about our conflicts, even when it hurts. Fear often keeps us from resolving conflict; fear of rejection, fear of loosing, fear of the other person seeing our insecurities, vulnerabilities or weaknesses, uncovering and revealing a deeper part of our hidden selves. When we walk away instead of dealing with things head on, we could end up missing something great, losing time, live with regret, we can never get the times of being silent back.
Ephesians 4: 15-16 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
In some cases depending on the situation walking away may be the only solution at the time. However, if we are going to deal with conflict the way Jesus desires us to deal with it, the end result should always be healing and restoration. It should never be about who is right and who is wrong! When there is honor, love and respect in a relationship this is when we put our guards and our weapons down so that we can hear and gain a greater revelation of what my part is doing to your heart. When it comes from a place of honor we should be willing to forgive. Then do our best to become aware, recognize the problem and then work together to rebuild trust, love and respect by allowing God to be the center. It allows me to come to the throne room of Grace and dwell there, showing grace to the person I am in conflict, remembering that I am imperfect too. It allows me to respond humbly not in fear but in reverence to the person I love. It communicates; “I care about you, how you feel, I care about our relationship. I care about Jesus strengthening our walk together, but most of all it communicates love. ” This type of approach works in all relationships. It’s always a “working together”, you can’t resolve conflict alone.
James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working!.”
Healthy conflict resolved in a healthy way is healing and growth for us as individuals and for our relationships. Conflict is never really about the issue, it’s about you! It’s about self-awareness. Perhaps seeing areas in our heart that still need to be transformed, to see opportunities within yourself about how we respond to those we love and care about. It’s to help us grow into the man/woman God desires us to be, so that in the end we can have Healthy and Whole relationships. Conflict, is about maturing us spiritually because now you have to rely on God’s wisdom to teach you how to resolve things His way. It’s about building the Character of Christ within us because now I need to respond in love. I have to be willing to humble myself and submit myself to the person I am in conflict with. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:20.
James 1:19 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;”
Ephesians 4:2-3 “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Next time you are in a conflict with someone you love or care about ask yourself these questions? Will avoiding it heal my relationship? Can I grow from this? What do I need to see in me? How can I resolve this in a way that is honoring and respecting to the person I love and to God? If I walk away what will I lose? What can I learn from this conflict?