Friday, 22 March 2013

The Gospel-centered Approach to Conflict - Part II

This posting will mean much more if you have read Part I, so I would encourage you to do so.  For those who read Part I, I’m surprised you are coming back for more.  Again the basis for these postings comes from The Gospel-Centered Life publication.

The Dreaded Chart

The chart that appeared in Part I is only dreaded because it calls me out, it identifies my unChristlike responses to life’s challenges. I must continually remind myself that God can always use conflict in my life as an opportunity for me to grow.  It is my response to conflict that will determine the outcome.   In this posting I will attempt to give you a brief description of the words contained in the chart in Part I, under column one entitled “Aspect”.

Heart Foundation – the best response to conflict is to be repentant for my contribution to the conflict and to seek forgiveness.  Running from conflict or being self-righteous will never bring about a satisfactory resolution.

Power Source – Whenever the flesh is in control my response will be less than God honoring.  It matters not whether my response is driven by my pride or my fear the end result will be less than desirable.  It is only through the Spirit that I can respond well.

Commitment – The only beneficial approach to addressing a conflict is to seek a resolution that will glorify God.  If my agenda is anything else, i.e. to win or to avoid, everyone loses.

Direction - We can choose to appease the other person with whom we are in conflict.  By just giving in I can avoid unpleasantness.  We can attempt to subdue the other person, to exert control and dominate.  This approach is never effective in the long run.  You should respectfully and honestly talk about your thoughts and feelings and invite the other person to do the same.

Feeling and Goal – “Begin with the end in mind” was the sage advice of a business book written several years ago. If there is a conflict there is a cost to resolution.  Ideally you can arrive at a win-win but that is not always possible.  The end in mind should always be one that brings glory to God.  Understand what each person has at stake and specify what steps need to be taken.

Result – If I’m on the attack I hurt the other person.  If I withdraw I become bitter and resentful.  Neither position allows the parties to walk away feeling reconciled.

As a keen observer of the obvious I hope you realize that what the chart describes are the behaviors that many husbands and wives bring to conflict in their marriage.  Stay tuned for Part III.

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