Handling Conflict

We live in a world of constant tension.  When we are around others, there is always a chance of conflict.  Here are my tips for handling conflicts.

Seek to make much of Jesus even in Conflict.

1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whether therefore ye eat, or drink or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Our whole purpose is to glorify God and lead others to a relationship with him.  It’s hard to do that in conflict, but it is possible.  You can always direct others to Christ, Bible and private teaching, upbringing, and church studies into any conflict that you mediate.  If Jesus lives in you, then he will stick out somewhere.  Let them see it in your actions and reactions.

Diffuse tension.

Proverbs 30:33  – “Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.”

There will not be any resolution until all parties involved have cooled down.  Caution should be used when diffusing because there is a fragile line between diffusing and igniting.

Remain calm regardless of the situation. Understand that how you answer can create solutions or create more conflict.

James 1:19 – “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

Proverbs 15:1  – “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”

We must have peace in ourselves, or we might be prone to rage. Before it can be seen in the situation, we must have peace within our own soul.   Some people will argue for the sake of arguing. Those with that attitude will pick any word of phrase apart, fill it with meaning, and start another argument.  It is important to consider how each word we speak can speak life into the resolution or add more fire to the tension.

Listen to the opposing side or sides if a mediator (walk in their shoes).

Proverbs 18:13 –  “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”

Having the ability to listen to the other side is a skill and art form. It is a skill to look and pick up on those things that are critical to promoting a resolution.  It is an art as to listen in a way that shows you actually do care. You cannot advise, diffuse and guide if you are not listening. Sometimes, all sides need to be separated before you may clearly hear the entire reason for the conflict.

Seek to understand why conflict is happening (my issue vs. your issue).

Proverbs 3:30 – “Strive not with a man without cause, if he has done thee no harm.”

Sometimes we argue and forget what we are fighting about.  There is always a reason for conflict, be it lack of understanding, misunderstandings, different positions, and so on.

If possible, take the time to respond to be concise and clear.

Proverbs 17:27 – “He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.”

If the conflict is taking place over e-mail and text, this is simpler to do (and even better since we can become more aggressive behind a protective screen).  You must understand the situation from both sides.  Speak calmly but candidly.

Seek to overcome any language barriers.

Proverbs 26:4-5 – “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.”

At some point, people may start talking past each other. They may use the same terms but use different definitions.   What the speaker said, may not be what the receiver hears.

If you feel yourself becoming angry, do what is necessary to calm down and recollect.

Romans 12:17 “Recompense to no man evil for evil.”

Again, if you are at your computer or texting, it is easier to take a few minutes to regain your composer (and probably should try to meet face to face if possible).  You may seek to be excused to think and to calm down.  If not, then it would be important to learn some quick breathing techniques or other ways to reflect anger positively during a time of uncontrollable anger.  You cannot think and react wisely while angered.

Transform through conflict.

Ecclesiastes 10:4 “If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place, for yielding pacifieth great offences.”

Only because a conflict has arisen does not mean that your position is not necessary. Progress requires conflict.  Transformation comes when we move past difficult areas.