Is it really possible to turn conflict into an opportunity for growth? Absolutely! A fight doesn’t need to end with a new enemy. We can grow closer through these clashes of personality, will and opinion. And since we all have them, we can choose to make the most out of our fights.
I grew up in a family that talked. A lot. We’re opinionated, passionate and we never shy away from tackling tough topics. My dad would often say, “I’m not angry, I’m just intense.” But even when we engaged in intense conversation, he always reminded us that we’re family and “we’re on the same team.” Ultimately, our goal is transformation for our relationships and our own hearts.
God’s word encourages us saying…
Conflict is a normal part of all relationships and it has the potential to be a catalyst for intimacy and understanding. We know that conflict is inevitable, but it’s how we handle it that really counts. How we respond to conflict determines whether we build up or tear down our relationships.
How do you respond to conflict?
Run from it.
Chase after it.
There’s a better way!
Grow from it.
Turning conflict into an opportunity for growth is a nice idea in theory, but how can we practically make the most of our fights?
Making the Most of Your Fights
Start with prayer
When we’re willing to prayerfully examine our own hearts, the chance for a restored relationship is much greater. Ask God to reveal your motives and give you a genuine desire to lay aside judgment and criticism.
Be slow to speak
I recently read a story of a professor who had given a lecture and then opened the floor for a question and answer session. The first person to the microphone proceeded to criticize everything he had just said. The professor paused and then graciously thanked the questioner. When asked about it later he said, “I’m practicing the Spiritual Discipline of not having the last word.”
Humility is a position of the heart. It’s a willingness to reflect on the value of others and acknowledge that we are all made in the image of God.Humility is a position of the heart. - Angela Howard Click To Tweet
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
Prayer for Conflicts:
Father, you are the God of peace. I look to you for wisdom. Show me what it means to be a person of peace, seeking your ways above my own. Cleanse my heart from harsh judgement and unkindness. Forgive me for what I’ve contributed to this conflict and empower me, by your Holy Spirit, as I choose forgiveness. Put a guard over my mouth, so that I would speak words of life. Help me to see others the way that you see them—with love, compassion and grace. Amen.
Next Monday: Making the Most of Your Fights Part 2—7 Steps to Conflict Resolution.
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