In this fallen world, conflict is inevitable. Husbands and wives, parents and children/teens/adult kids, roommates, co-workers, brothers and sisters in Christ, believers and non-believers – we all sin against each other at times – at times intentionally but many times unintentionally. We have misunderstandings, fail to keep promises, do things that annoy or even hurt others. Sometimes we can overlook others’ sins. At other times we must address them. Sometimes we are the ones who are confronted.
Here are 6 questions I have found helpful to ask myself when I find myself in conflict:
1. Am I trying to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to become angry? (James 1:19)
Am I really trying to hear what the other person has to say? Really trying to see their viewpoint? Or am I defending myself or thinking of my next answer before they are finished speaking? Am I feeling angry? Is there anything that I really need to see here, even if we’re talking about something the other person did?
2. Have I considered that I may have a log in my eye? (MT 7:3)
We all have blind spots – things about ourselves we can’t see. Could I be perceiving things wrongly? Am I being humble? None of us has God’s perfect wisdom and insight into every situation.
3. Am I doing this for the glory of God? (1 CO 10:31)
Do I want this person to change so they will bring God glory? Or because I’m bugged, or to prove I’m right, or get my way?
4. Am I trying to speak the truth in love? (EPH 4:15)
Do I genuinely love this person and care about their well-being? Do I want the best for them? Do I hope God blesses them?
5. Am I trusting God to convince this person?
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth. 2 Ti 2:24-25
Only God can change someone’s heart. We can’t, no matter how convincing or forceful we try to be. Have I asked God to help them see what he would have them see?
6. Is there any middle ground or alternative solution we haven’t considered?
We can get locked into thinking that our way is the only way. In the heat of conflict it’s hard to consider other possible options. Sometimes if we take a step back or give it a little time God can show us a solution we haven’t yet considered.
Remember, it’s not about winning or being right; it’s about God’s glory. Hope these are helpful.