Facing Conflict

Facing conflict in a positive manner is a skill that many of us fall short of possessing in sufficient amount.

The situation most often arises when you have teenaged children. Work situations are full of situations where conflict can fester and grow. Conflicts within groups in your church or other non-profit volunteer work are often difficult.

Some of us shy away from conflict for fear of making things worse or rupturing a relationship or out of regard for the feelings of others.

Some people, on the other hand, love creating conflict. These are abrasive, pushy, argumentative types.

Thinking about this, both of these types are self-centered approaches. Neither is healthy.

I’m reading in the Gospel of John these days. John builds his story around conflict. Almost every scene shows Jesus in some sort of conflict with the authorities (Jewish, not Roman). What can we learn from John’s description of how Jesus dealt with the constant conflict.

  • Strong resolve that the direction you’re going is right. You must have confidence that you’re doing the right thing and moving the organization ahead in a positive manner.
  • Understand the Other. Aren’t we often guilty of ascribing motives to other people that they, in fact, do not have? We assume facts not in evidence. Some of us are very good at reading people’s motives. Others of us need to ask a few more questions.
  • Understand yourself. Understand your own strengths and weaknesses. Know where you need help–and ask for it.
  • Speak softly, firmly, with confidence. I would say speak clearly, but if we follow Jesus’ example, we’d speak in riddles at times. But for us, clear communication spoken with a firm but quiet voice is most effective.
  • Don’t doubt your own authority. If you have the authority that comes with leadership, then use it. But don’t abuse it.

The world needs good leaders. Be one.

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