When conflict arises, we frequently want to rush in and defend our position. Perhaps we even feel justified in blaming others. However, James 1:19 gives different advice for dealing with tension and disputes: "Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger." In other words, more can be accomplished through a calm approach to the situation. Scripture also suggests that we . . .
• Pray. First, we should ask the Lord to guard our mouth and give us the right words to say (Luke 12:12). Also, we ought to request discernment concerning the root issue, including insight as to whether we might be at fault.
• Aim to see with divine perspective. Our sovereign God works all situations for the believer's benefit (Romans 8:28). He not only uses difficulties to teach us but also allows us to demonstrate the life of Christ by the way we respond.
• Forgive. Even if someone has hurt us by causing the conflict, we should forgive. Jesus died to pardon all of our sin, and we, in turn, should forgive others. In fact, if we don't, our lives will become burdened by resentment and broken relationships.
• Respond. If we've done something wrong, we should apologize and ask forgiveness. But if we're not in the wrong, we can still express appreciation that the other person took time to share his concern. Also, we should affirm that we will carefully consider his comments.
How do you respond to conflict? Pray for the strength to stay calm and do what is right, even during difficult, emotional situations.
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