PART 2: The HOW
Now that we know why we practice conflict resolution, let’s talk about how.
It can be argued that in America, we just don’t know how to do it. It’s not taught in schools and there certainly isn’t a Conflict Resolution 101 course at college. And we see its detrimental effects in the staggering divorce rate, amongst our political leaders, and certainly in the workplace.
The Bible gives us an outline for approaching disagreements in Matthew 18:15-17. But before we even begin that process, it’s important to evaluate if confrontation is even necessary.
Everyone has a bad day here and there and it’s important to remember that no one is perfect. So try to honestly ask yourself if you can forgive and forget it. Most of the time, a little distance is all we need. But if the problem persists, then you can proceed with a conversation.
Step 1: Speak Quickly
We’ve all held onto anger longer than we should have but if we resolve issues quickly, it preserves the relationship and keeps every party moving forward. It’s also important to approach the other person one on one. We do this to keep from embarrassing the other party and protect their reputation as well.
What do you say when you speak? There’s only two pieces of information you have…
- What the other person said or did
- How it affected you
When you start off, simply state what the problem was and how it made you feel.
E.G. “When you say x, I feel y” rather than “You tried to hurt me, You’re a terrible person.” That second approach won’t get you very far and will 100% damage the relationship. Remember, the goal is to speak truth in love so that we will grow.
Step 2: Choose the Right Time
In addition to not waiting too long, it’s also important to choose the right time. Obviously, you wouldn’t pull them aside at a funeral or right before a big test. Ask them when a good time is and plan around both schedules.
By giving them a heads up, it allows them time to prepare to have a conversation. No one likes to be blind sided.
Step 3: Speak from Heart
Easier said than done but it’s important to set your heart posture when bringing issues up. Our goal is to preserve relationships, help others grow, and speak truth. We don’t attack someone else from a win-lose position.
Whether the other person is a Christian or not, our goal as Christ-followers is to be more like Jesus and in turn encourage others to do the same. Jesus approached each interaction with the goal of grace, not shame.
Remember, we speak truth in love so that we can grow together.
Confrontation doesn’t have to be scary. It’s not pleasant but when we learn how to engage each other elegantly, we have a better chance of winning others for Christ and growing the Kingdom together.
Let’s learn how to come to conflict in a way that’s God-honoring. And you can start today.
***If you or your family are in immediate danger, it’s best not to confront a violent party alone. Please seek help from community or local law enforcement.
If you found this article helpful, you may enjoy our other post: The WHY of Conflict Resolution. Thanks for being a supporter of Rock Springs Church!