Healthy patterns in conflict

Conflict is a natural and inevitable part of life. It arises in various relationships, be it with spouses, family members, co-workers, friends, or even within ourselves. Understanding this, it becomes essential to cultivate healthy patterns in managing conflicts.

Developing these patterns, rooted in Godly principles, is no easy task. It requires time, mistakes are often made, and our emotions, insecurities, and past hurts can easily lead us astray, exacerbating conflicts instead of resolving them. Recognizing and admitting our unhealthy conflict patterns is a crucial first step. This self-awareness paves the way for intentional and humble efforts to change and improve.

Common unhealthy patterns in conflicts include insisting on being right, interrupting, not listening, stubbornness, denying wrongdoing, disregarding others’ perspectives, dishonesty, discussing issues with third parties instead of directly addressing the person involved, using sarcasm or harsh words, refusing to adapt, and seeking revenge.

When we acknowledge our unhealthy patterns, we open the door for God to guide us in transforming how we handle conflict. God cares about our conflicts because He delights in every aspect of our lives and designed us for communal living, as illustrated in Psalms 37:23 and Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.

To foster healthy conflict patterns, consider these three key strategies:

  1. Build a Bridge: This approach focuses on seeking resolution and trust-building in relationships. It emphasizes unity, forgiveness, understanding, active listening, and openness. Bridge-building is about prioritizing the relationship and its long-term health over winning an argument. Conversely, prioritizing being right often leads to destructive outcomes, damaging relationships.
  2. Tell the Truth: Honesty is crucial, even when it’s challenging. Lies and exaggerations can destroy trust and hurt all parties involved. Proverbs 15:4 highlights how deceit harms the spirit. Truth-telling, in contrast, brings freedom and clarity. It’s important to be truthful both with those we’re in conflict with and with others who may be involved or affected.
  3. Be Bigger, Not Better: Embracing conflict resolution in the way of Jesus makes us ‘bigger’ – more forgiving, understanding, and gracious. It’s about taking the high road, forgiving, avoiding vengeance, and not harboring grudges. This approach promotes healthy boundaries and focuses on the well-being of everyone involved. It’s about letting God work through and in us, fostering personal growth and healthier relationships.

Conflict is an opportunity for growth and strengthening relationships when approached with the right mindset and tools. Reflect on these strategies and plan how you can implement them in your life. Embrace conflict positively and let God’s guidance lead you to healthier, more fulfilling interactions.

Wishing you a week filled with growth and positive resolutions. Remember, the best is yet to come!

PD

City Church Bloomington, Indiana

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