Each of us is incredibly unique, with no two of us(of the 7 billion in the world) being the same. That means that God created each of us differently, intentionally and comprehensively. So not just physically, but emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Although we can generalize and categorize, we are all different…praise God.

Given the above, it shouldn’t surprise us that we have different views, perceptions, and opinions. We like and dislike different things and different people. This manifests itself in everything we do. The list is endless…

  • Profession
  • Hobbies
  • Fashion
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Other

Reasons for Conflict

Given the differences among us and the fact that we often disagree, there will be conflictbetween us. It can be positive when handled the right way and negative when not. Done poorly, it creates distress for one of two reasons:

  1. The issue isn’t addressed (buried under the rug)
  2. It is addressed with aggression (harsh attitude)

The reason for each of the above is the same. Most people believe that conflict has to be confrontational,so they either avoid it or go on the attack…neither work very well. Doing the first just avoids the problem, which allows things to fester. This can cause resentments, followed by unintended actions, including then handling the conflict the “wrong” way.

Yellingand screaming, going on the attack, accusing the other, being very aggressive….one person may back down, but regardless of the form of intimidation, none of these ever work in creating a true resolution.

Healthy Conflict is Good

To be well versed in relationship managementor organizational healthis to know that healthy conflict is a good thingand in fact, it’s the measure of health. It is when trust exits, where there is vulnerability, that conflict actually blesses a relationship.

For the longest time, I didn’t handle conflict well. My approach, probably not unlike many, was to not address the issue, thereby “sweeping it under the rug”. It would then fester and fester and fester, the measure of which would be how loudly I yelledor sharply I criticizedwhen it finally came out. Sarcasm, which in Greek means “cutting flesh”, was my sword back in the day. This approach never pleased me, nor the person I had the conflict with.

Positive Conflict Resolution

So here are some steps to healthy conflict resolution. Let’s start with mindset:

  1. Bring empathy to the situation. Understand that mistakes are common and that you’ve probably done the same or similar thing at one time.
  2. Know that most actions aren’t taken with malice. The intent was probably not to hurt you or others.
  3. Hate the sin, not the sinner…don’t attack the individual, address the issue.

When ready to address the issue, you might go into the conversation with a sequence like:

  1. Hey Mark, I have something I want to talk to you about. I’m not altogether comfortable in doing so because I’m concerned about the way you may react.
  2. I care about our relationship and about you. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I don’t agree with (something you’ve done/an opinion you’ve expressed). 
  3. I’d like to be able to share my thoughts on the issue and also understand yours’. It’s my hope that we can then discuss it and come to a resolution. 
  4. Do you want to go first or me?   

You know, God made us all differently for a reason. If we were the same, what kind of world would it be? We complement one another. Let’s celebrate our differences. The best way to do that is to be respectful and treat one another charitably, even when we have differences. Conflict does not have to be confrontational. Remember what Jesus told us as part of the Great Commandmentsin Mark 12:31, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself”.

As always, contact me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.comwith questions or comments.

May God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph