From almost the beginning of this world, conflict has been present. When man conflicted with God in the garden, to a couple of weeks ago when my wife and I didn’t see eye to eye, conflict has reared its ugly head in the face of peace and tranquility. Conflict affects every person. From the youngest child who is forced to share their toy with the sibling or neighbor they would rather not be with to the teenager annoyed at his parents for being “too-involved” to the husband and wife who can’t come to an agreement, conflict is the problem.
With such a widespread problem, one would think that people would have found a sure-fire way to rid humanity of this harmful cancer. However, the fact of the matter is this: until people are perfect, conflict will arise. So because it cannot be uprooted one hundred percent, how can we treat this problem? How can we deal with conflict? What are some things we need to remember?
- How we handle conflict can be helpful.
Conflict is inevitable, but how we handle conflict can make or break a situation. Handling conflict can be harmful when we refuse to be humble. Pride is often the cause of conflict in the first place; therefore, when we refuse to rid ourselves of pride, we only make it worse. Instead of extinguishing the flame, it feeds it. When we become only interested in what we want, our conflict helps no one. However, if we choose to humble ourselves, this conflict can usually be helpful. When we put away pride and approach a conflict humbly, the conflict can many times be resolved.
- Recognize that both parties are responsible for the conflict.
As mentioned in the introduction, conflict will arise until we are with our Saviour. Because all parties in a conflict are imperfect, each party is responsible to some degree. Whether the blame lays 99% on one person and 1% on the other, each person has a fault. When you approach the resolution of every conflict with the realization that it is partially your own fault, restitution can be achieved much quicker than when we place the blame solely on the other person.
- Deal with the conflict with wisdom.
As with all of life, wisdom is necessary. Often times wisdom is a vague idea thrown around without any solidarity in its meaning. So how do we deal with this conflict? First, seek to understand. While this may go hand in hand a little with humility, it needs to be said. Instead of seeking only for the other person to understand where we are coming from, we need to put the other person first and try to understand their position. The person we are in conflict with most likely grew up in an entirely different situation than yours. Because of that, there is a different outlook and different worldview than yours. While there may be similarities, there are always differences. When we use wisdom and humility to approach a situation seeking to understand the other person, we have the opportunity to grow as a person.Also, remain calm. When a conflict rises, the temptation to allow emotions to overtake us rise with it. Whether grief or anger, emotions can often get the best of us. Over running emotions can harm the relationship further and restoration slips further out of reach. If needed, take a few minutes to gain composure before approaching the other person for a solution.
- A harmed relationship with a brother or sister in Christ harms our relationship with Christ Himself.
The Book of Leviticus talks about how when a person gets leprosy, it affects the fibers of their garments- the warp and woof. The warp is the thread that runs one way, while the woof (or weft) goes the other direction. The idea is this: if one direction is corrupted, the other cannot go unaffected. Spiritually speaking, if our relationship with someone is damaged, our relationship with Christ cannot go unaffected as well. It is imperative that we do not let our relationship with Christ remained damaged.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but I hope that you take some of these principles and use them when you find yourself in the inevitable conflict.