- Forgiveness isn’t optional – it’s part of the package no matter how the conflict turns out. Forgiveness keeps your heart healthy & functional
- Motives – if you come to a conflict with hurtful motives (I’m going to pay them back, I’m going to teach them a lesson, . . . . ), then you’re not really serious about resolving the conflict. Instead you’re merely perpetuating your intransigence
- Accusations & words like “always” & “never” contribute to escalating rather than diffusing the conflict
- Disrespect doesn’t help but rather hinders any resolution
- Seek to understand before being understood – thanks Stephen Covey for this helpful wisdom!
- Emotions are important but they cannot be allowed to control the conversation if the conflict is going to be resolved
- Be responsible for your garbage – thinking that conflict is entirely the other person’s fault is foolish
- Define the real issue & work on that before going off on tangents or tirades
- Finish the conflict with assessment, “Are you comfortable with the outcome of this discussion? Do you feel like I understand your concerns? Could I have talked through this better & how?”
- Seasons & Reasons – Joyce Meyer says that God puts relationships into our lives for a season, a reason or a lifetime (these are rare); consider that relationships go through seasons & purposes so stay flexible to allow God to redefine a relationship (deeper, less close, more shallow, etc).
Last week my husband & I did kind of a joint sermon at our church on Marital Martial Arts (MMA) – How to Have a Good Fight with your spouse. It was a fun sermon to do & as we prepared for it, we had some good laughs at the conflicts we’ve had over 18 years of marriage. In relation to conflicts, I was listening to my kids the other day & they were fighting about something super stupid. I think they were arguing about who could sit in the front seat of the car. They’ve also fought about water balloons, legos, pancakes, etc. Now don’t get me wrong, our family isn’t always in a perpetual fight. But as I was listening to the various topics of conflict, it struck me about how stupid are some of the things my kids fight about. Then it hit me – maybe God thinks that many of the things we fight about as adults are equally as stupid.
- We fight about control & power, when the reality is that God is all powerful & in complete control.
- We fight about money & finances, when He is our ultimate Provision.
- We fight about relationships & love, when He is the ultimate source for our need for love.
- We fight to feel important & significant, when the only real path to self worth is through Jesus.
Let’s put our energy into growing in our relationship with Jesus rather than fighting about things that often don’t have what we really want & need 🙂