How can you be confident in your ability to resolve disagreements? Let’s consider some practical down-to-earth realities of how to effectively manage conflict without over-spiritualizing or denying your feelings.
How good and pleasant when brothers live together in unity. Psalm 133:1
We all have to deal with conflicts from time to time. But we often try to avoid them by pretending and putting on a good face … until we eventually blow up. After we’ve blown it, we get so preoccupied with dealing with our bad behavior that the real issue remains unresolved. This is a big deal, because once you get caught up in focusing on your bad behavior, you hinder your ability to effectively address the core issue.
Ideally, the best way to deal with conflict is to establish clear expectations, create accountability and be very open and candid. Here are three ground rules for you to start confidently dealing with conflict.
Ground Rule One—Prepare your heart.
Be transparent and authentic. Let your desire to be a light and behave as a daughter of the King guide you as you listen for your Father’s voice. You cannot fake this. You must sincerely desire the best for the situation and be willing to be wrong. Both the foolish and the wise start at the same point … zero. The difference in the end is your attitude, not your aptitude.
Ground Rule Two—Prepare what to say.
Draw close to the Shepherd and trust Him, and you’ll be amazed at what He will do. Be confident in Him. You must be really willing to listen—first to God and then to the person. Intentionally listening is crucial to resolution. Then, with all your heart, sincerely submit to God and His directing and prompting.
The standard of counsel is always the Word of God. Ask yourself if the counsel you’re getting lines up with the Word of God.
Ground Rule Three—Prepare the time and place.
Timing is everything, and approach is key. Esther took time to fast and pray before she went to see her husband, the king. So prepare your heart, and rid yourself of heated emotion. When are good times to bring it up? Purposefully choose a safe, non-toxic moment in your day so you avoid acting out of stress and escalating the situation.
Practical verbiage to use:
- I’m not communicating in a way that’s clear. Would it be possible to take a little break and regroup, because I don’t want to say anything I don’t mean, and we’re heading down a hurtful path.
- Help me understand why it’s difficult to tell me the truth.
- What else should I know?
- What would you like to see happen? (Just because you want resolution doesn’t mean the other person does.)
- I need to get something off my chest that I may have misunderstood.
- Let’s work through this. We may or may not reach the answer, but I would like to try.
- Do you see the benefit in attempting to resolve this?
- I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Please forgive me. You are valuable to me, and I didn’t show it very well.
- How did you come to that conclusion?
- I want to work with you, but when you yell or use that kind of language, I find it difficult. Can we work through this together?
When confronting, always identify your motive. Are you proving your point? Do you have to be right? Are you trying to prove that you’re clever? Ask God to help you be a humble, gracious, wise and submitted woman of God, and He will direct your path.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight. Psalm 19:14
*Article originally appeared in Studio G Magazine. Used with permission.
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