As Christ followers, God never promised we wouldn't have conflict. He just said that the way we resolved it would be different!
When we don't resolve it His way, guess what we get? Drama. Drama at home. Drama at work. Drama at school. Drama in the neighborhood. Drama at the ball field. Drama in our nation & world! What kind of drama? Anger, Rage, Hurt, Separation, Despair, Guilt.
Conflict is inevitable. Drama is a choice! What is our best choice? Peace. We can have conflict that results, not in drama, but in peace.
Here are the first ten ways to have drama-free conflict:
1. Don’t procrastinate.
We can't stick our head in the sand and hope things will just magically get better. They won't. They will almost always get worse! Be proactive! Jesus tells us (see Matthew 18) that as soon as we recognize a problem between us and another person, we are to drop what we're doing and immediately go to the person and talk to them about it!
2. Don’t be easily offended.
Don’t take everything so personal! Don’t assume everything is personal. Don't assume the worst about everyone and every action. In the grand scheme of things, is this all that important? Why do I feel so offended? Our response is just as important as the offense.
3. Keep short accounts.
When we are offended, we can't just hang on to our hurts and agitations. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that "love keeps no record of wrongs." We can't allow months or even years of hurt to pile up and then explode on someone. Keeping short accounts means we deal with issues as they pop up, one issue at a time!
4. Be a peacemaker not a peacekeeper.
The opposite of conflict is not peace. It's artificial harmony. We can't just sweep wrongs under the rug. Sooner or later the dirt will be exposed! We must be committed to consistently TALK about the tensions that present themselves in our relationships. Often times, peace and harmony is found on the other side of conflict.
Matthew 5:9 (NIV) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
5. Remember that venting is not biblical or profitable.
I have often heard someone say: "Well, i just had to vent to someone." I can't find one verse in the Bible that advocates talking to one person about another person's offenses. As a leader, I have always told my teams: "Venting is not Biblical." We shouldn't say anything ABOUT someone we're not willing to say TO someone.
6. Take the first step.
"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault..." (Matthew 18:15a NLT). When we recognize that someone has sinned against us, it is our responsibility to go to that person and talk to them about it. Jesus didn't say: "When someone sins against you, they should come to you." He says we should take the first step!
7. Always always begin one on one.
"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you..." (Matthew 18:15a NLT). Never confront by committee. This should always be done one-on-one. The person we're approaching will almost always be more receptive and less defensive if we approach them privately first. If we can't get this worked out just between the two of us, there is allowance made for involving others, but not before we have tried to work it out one-on-one!
8. Balance grace and truth.
The Gospels tell us that when Jesus came to earth, He was full of GRACE and TRUTH (see John 1:14). Both are so important! Some of us are more naturally TRUTH'ers. We love conflict! We aren't afraid to call people out and say what's on our mind! However, we need to know how to approach people with more GRACE. Others of us are more naturally GRACE'ers. We are afraid to say how we really feel and what really needs to be said and what's really on our minds. To be like more like Jesus, we must learn to balance grace and truth!
9. Be humble upon approach.
Avoid accusation. Don't blame. Use phrases like:
"It could just be me but..."
"You probably didn't mean it this way but..."
"i know you didn't mean it this way but..."
We can be transparent about our hurts without pointing fingers.
10. Speak the Truth in Love.
We can be right and not be righteous about it. We need to do the right thing the right way. We must commit to respond but nor react. We need to choose our words carefully. We need to pay attention to Timing, Tone, and Temperature. We might want to run what we are going to say by a trusted friend. In everything, we need to express our love for the person., despite the disagreement or hurt. Do everything out of love. Do the right thing the right way!
Check out the next ten ways to have drama-free conflict in Part Two of this post!
Which of these ten were most helpful to you? Drop us a comment to let us know!