Where do you see conflict happening?
No matter who you are, you deal with conflict. Conflict must be dealt with in relationships, workplaces, churches, and families. It comes up in almost every setting at some point. You can’t outsource conflict resolution. You can’t delegate conflict resolution. You have to get your hands dirty and deal with it personally.
What unresolved conflict do you need to deal with today?
When I was a teenager, my first job was cutting grass around my neighborhood. I learned that, when you don’t keep the grass cut, it gets out of control. It is the same with conflict. When you don’t deal with it, it just gets harder and harder. I had a mentor that used to say, “Keep a short list. Don’t let things build up too much.” When you don’t deal with things, they only get more and more complex. Let me encourage you to own it and deal with it. “Keep a short list.”
What did this look like for Paul?
“When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face.” Galatians 2:11
Jesus gives us the proper order of dealing with conflict. He says the first step is to confront the individual one on one. A one on one conversation should happen before we go to other people. Talking to other people without speaking to the one you are discussing will quickly become gossip. How can a person grow and learn to be more like Christ if no one ever comes to them with a spirit of love and restoration?
We often start conversations behind a person’s back without going to them first.
Talking about a situation behind someone’s back without talking to him or her first is gossip. While we are talking about the situation, often the individual has no idea what he or she did wrong. Because of this, nothing constructive happens to help that person see their fault unless we go to them. The more we talk in secret groups, the more we are at fault for gossip.
A young boy went to his pastor and said, “I have gossiped about my friend. What can I do?” The pastor said, “Take a feather and put it on every step in your neighborhood.” And so the boy put out several hundred feathers. He went back to the pastor and said, “OK. Now what?” The pastor replied, “Now go pick them up.” But when the boy went to pick them up, most of them had been blown away by the wind. To which the pastor said, “Once you gossip, it’s nearly impossible to stop it.”
Be careful with gossip.
Once gossip is out there, you can’t take it back.
You can either talk about a person or to a person. Talking about a person leads to gossip. Talking to a person leads to growth. Who are you talking about that you need to talk to this Christmas season? Too often, we brush issues under the rug or wait until a later time to avoid conversations that feel uncomfortable. There may need to be some time to “cool down” but never let a situation start to rot. If someone has wronged you or offended you, go to them with the truth but always in love.