I am going to throw a word out there and I want you to think about the reaction you made just hearing the word.
You cringed didn’t you? Maybe you got that nervous feeling in your stomach too? You probably thought about the last big conflict you had or the one you are currently in and became filled with anxiety. You probably can’t stand this blog because I brought it up. I understand. I hate conflict too.
Every human I know hates conflict and for the most part, we get a poor grade in dealing with it. Usually, we do one of several things:
- Bottle up a conflict
- Passively aggressively vocalize (read “subtweet”) a conflict
- Blow up over a small conflict
- Talk about the conflict to everyone but the person it directly effects
The one thing we don’t do is properly deal with a conflict. Sometimes, I think Christians and Catholics are the worst. But, if we claim to be a follower of Jesus, we have to act differently than the rest of the world. We are given clear instruction on conflict in Scripture:
“Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger, and do not leave room for the devil.”
This Bible verse is so rich. First of all, we are given permission to be angry. That is just a normal human emotion. We just need to deal with that anger properly. St. Paul tells us that the best way to do that is by addressing the anger in the same day. He goes even a step further: if you do not, the devil will have room to move in.
This brings me to a challenge. If you ever find yourself in a conflict, force yourself to do three things:
- Address it with the person before you go to bed
- Address it in person if possible
- Be lovingly honest with the person. I like to say “I feel this way” because no one can argue against how you feel.
I have started to do this one relationship at a time, and it has truly been a game changer for me. Best of all, with certain friends, we tell each other that we are going to hold our friendship to this challenge and that keeps us both accountable. Try it and experience the way God is calling us to deal with the issues, challenges, and struggles of every human relationship.