“Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.” –Max Lucade
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” –James 1:19 (NLT)
I’m like many others out there—I do not enjoy conflict. However, I’ve learned over the years that conflict does happen. Conflict is inevitable. The problem we have is that we get very defensive and come across combative in our dialogue during conflict, which can often times escalate the situation.
Next time you’re going through conflict, decide in your heart whether you want to make it a “combative” situation. Even when someone comes at you ready for a fight, I’ve found that my calm response—even though I want to pummel the guy—diffuses the situation. I get to choose how I respond—not the other person. Before I enter “those” types of meetings or scenarios I decide ahead of time what my attitude is going to be—I chose to listen, swallow my big ego and take it.
This doesn’t mean I allow people to run over me. This allows me to take the high road and really when the other person comes to their senses they’re usually the ones to show up apologizing for how they came across. If there’s a situation that I just can’t back down from because of my belief system or I truly believe “this” should happen then with humility and confidence I take a stand. I truly listen and respond with love, but that doesn’t mean I give in. In those instances you can’t dictate how the other party responds. As long as you feel like you abided by James 1:19 and treated the other person with respect you should feel good about your decision.
Again, conflict isn’t always bad even though it may FEEL bad. It FEELS bad because I don’t think we ever want to intentionally hurt people. I believe we want people to be happy and when we can’t deliver the responses they’re expecting—it can FEEL tough. That FEELING is just that—a feeling.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on conflict.