Wednesday, March 04, 2009

How Do You Handle Conflict?

As I write this blog, I do not claim to be an expert at handling conflict. There have been many times in my life that I have not handled conflict correctly (my wife could confirm this). But through the conflict that I have experienced, and the successes and failures I have experienced, I have learned some good lessons.
First, I have learned that conflict is a part of life. There are going to be times when people have a difference of opinion, and this difference will cause conflict. It is also true that there will be times when people will attack you. Conflict also comes upon when we are wronged, and we have to stand up to the one who wronged us. Regardless of what we think about conflict, it will be a part of our lives.
Second, conflict can actually be an opportunity to solve the frustrations or hurt we are feeling. Because most people want to avoid conflict, when they disagree, or are wronged, or are hurt in some way, they tend to put aside and try not to think about it; they don't want to deal with it. But at some point, there comes a time when it has to be dealt with.
Third, conflict can be resolved when both parties seek to work together. Conflict doesn't have to be a bad thing. If both parties seek reconciliation, the conflict can actually cause a relationship to be strengthened. Sometimes it gives insight into how communication wasn't happening, thus improving the communication.
Fourth, if the other party doesn't want to seek resolution, you can still seek it for yourself. You can do this by following Romans 12:18, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." By seeking to live at peace with others, we can be at peace within ourselves. As we attempt to resolve the conflict, we can know that we have done everything we can possibly do to make things better. The rest is on the other person.
Fifth, getting over conflictual situations might even mean that we have to forgive them; not for the purpose of saying what they have done is okay, but because if we don't forgive, then we will have turmoil and conflict within us until we can forgive and let go. (for more on this you can go to the archives to the right, 2/13/08).
Let me know how you handle conflict so we can learn together.