Arguments. Perhaps the holidays bring more opportunities for these than any of us care for. God knows. Mark points us to the good news about how we can handle conflict in a God (and kinfolk) honoring way.
“…go and be reconciled to them…” Matt. 5:24b
Got any hurt feelings and miscommunication with your spouse? Disrespectful or disobedient behavior from your child? Or is your home full of endless bickering and fights between siblings? …Calgon take me away (now that dates me for sure)!
My question to you is not “Do you have any conflict in your life right now”, rather “how are you going to respond to it”?
We live in a culture where each one of us believes we are (or at least wants to be) the center of the world, and when we don’t get our way we’re ready to battle. Verbal sticks and stones are not the solution. Instead, try some biblical anti-bacterial ointment below for your relational cuts.
1. Determine your goal/outcome. Win the argument, right!? I’m embarrassed to admit, but most of the time I find myself stewing on how I’m right… what my list of points are that back up my prosecution of the guilty. I wish someone would have clued me in sooner that trying to win during an interpersonal conflict 99% of the time only prolongs and intensifies it So, before starting the resolution process – make your goal to resolve not to win. Go in with a humble ear to listen and hear rather than a loaded mouth full of self-defense. “Search me oh God and know my heart… and see if there be any hurtful way in me”. Psalm 139:23, 24
2. Determine your timing. Not too soon or too delayed. Have the disputers take some time to cool off, to reflect on attitude/actions and to pray for God’s help. On the flip side, Eph. 4:26 instructs us to “not let the sun go down on your anger”. Make it standard practice to deal with it the same day. Don’t prolong the inevitable need to work through the issue – it typically will just lead to prolonged strife, increased dysfunction and sleepless nights.
3. Determine your source for solutions. Our world or God? In these times, our culture, at best, suggests that we express the phrase “I’m sorry” to make up for our error. The Lord’s Prayer however models us the appropriate phrase “forgive me” which rightly asks a question and puts the ball in the court of the offended. Uncomfortable and humbling position, yes, but remember our goal is resolution not protecting our pride.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Eph. 4:31, 32.
What kinds of emotions do you have when you are in a fight? Do you enjoy arguing with your friends or family? In order to solve problems faster, which one of the suggestions above do you think would be helpful? PlayItOut by being a doer of the Word!