Throughout our lives we are going to have to deal with conflict. There are those who love conflict so they have someone to straighten out. Others are so uncomfortable with conflict that they seek peace at all cost—which is not really peace. Then there are those who will put off dealing with conflict as long as possible. None of these approaches to conflict are healthy or Biblical.
Perry Noble gives some helpful advice on how to be deal with conflict in our lives.
#1 – Email DOES NOT WORK! (This would also apply to texting as well as any form of social media!)
When conflict use to arise with me and someone in the office I used to walk to my desk, log on to my computer and fire off an abusive email, several problems with this…
- It is the act of a coward, I would do this so that I would avoid a eye to eye conversation.
- It removes the fact that I am actually dealing with another person…if I type an email I don’t have to look them in the eye and removing that obstacle allows me to say things to them through typing that I would NEVER say to them in person.
- It often drags out the conflict way longer that it should be.
- It can easily be misinterpreted, thus causing new conflicts.
#2 – Handle Conflict Quickly – The Bible is VERY clear in Ephesians 4:25-26 that we are not to allow the sun to go down while we are angry. If we allow something to fester inside of us what usually comes out of that is NEVER pretty.
#3 – Always Assume The Best About The People You Work With – If you don’t get anything else in this article then PLEASE get this, LOVE ALWAYS ASSUMES THE BEST ABOUT SOMEONE…ALWAYS! If you hate/can’t stand the people you work with then THE BEST thing to do is to begin to ask the Lord, “what is wrong with MY OWN heart?”
#4 – Remember that Email Does Not Work!
#5 – Stop Expecting People To Read Your Mind – Often times people have said something hurtful to me that they did not perceive as hurtful. I would become angry with them and actually tell myself, “well, they should just know that hurt me!” NEWS FLASH – THEY DON’T KNOW, and they won’t know unless I am man enough to look them in the eye (because email does not work), assume the best about them (which automatically assumes they didn’t mean to hurt me) and CALMLY walk them through why what they said wounded me.
#6 – Stop Waiting For Them To Approach You – If you know there is conflict and you know there is a problem to be solved but you are “waiting on the right time” or “waiting on them to come to me” then I would encourage you to read what Jesus said in Matthew 5:23-24. Maturity is when a person is willing to seize responsibility instead of just waiting on something to happen.
#7 – Never, EVER Go Public When You Have Not Even Attempted To Talk In Private – Too often people take their conflicts online when they have never even attempted to handle them in a private matter (sort of goes against what JESUS actually said in Matthew 18:15 as the first step in dealing with conflict!) People are way too quick these days to read/hear something that someone says and automatically fire off a tweet or blog post without ever attempting to have a conversation with the person that they assume “got it wrong,” causing them to feel like they need to be the savior of the world by jumping to conclusions and making accusations about things that they actually have zero knowledge of.
#8 – And finally, do not forget that Email does not work!