Resolving Conflict

Have you ever been in the middle of an argument and wanted desperately to get out of it? A friend of mine had that happen to him recently and it involved an incident between his daughter and another student about things she supposedly posted on Instagram and Snapchat. The accusation wasn't true but things escalated when the accusing child's father got involved. The argument became heated and my friend ended up walking away from it.

I think about this incident and wonder what I can take away from it. Here are some thoughts I'd like to share with you.

Stay Calm

Emotions often run high when we're in a conflict, especially when it involves other people we love. It is far easier for me to not take offense when someone lies about me or says something unkind to me but when my wife or children are the target I am much less likely to ignore it. When I feel anger welling up inside me, I need to step away from the situation emotionally and take a deep breath. Proverbs 29:11 says,

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

Holding back your emotions and staying calm is wise in a conflict. It will help you focus on the problem and not the person so you can resolve the issue.

Admit Your Fault

There is almost no argument that is completely one-sided. Even when we are not intending to hurt someone's feelings, we can often say things to another person that could be misunderstood and create conflict. I know I have often said things the wrong way, hurting people close to me unintentionally. So it is important to admit your fault, even if you don't think you did anything wrong.

Move On

Romans 12:18 says,

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

The key phrase is "so far as it depends on you." Everything in life does not depend on you. Some things depend on God--such as His love, grace, and mercy--but other things depend on other people and how they act. In other words, if someone does not want to live at peace with you then you can't force them to. At that point, it is time to move on. You'll want to keep the door open to working things out with them but you are only responsible for you. Sometimes you just have to move on.

Conflict is inevitable. We are fallen people living in a world with other fallen people. But how we deal with conflict depends on us. God wants us to resolve it whenever possible, always putting the person above the problem.