I think we’ve all been in relationships where conflict occurred. I heard it said that a lot of relationships are like two porcupines trying to survive an Arctic winter. Think about that?
So, how do we learn to fight fairly? How do we stay the course without simply throwing in the towel? I get it, sometimes separation is inevitable, but I don’t think it should be as common as it is.
Let me first say, conflict is normal, so don’t allow yourself to think it is not.
Secondly, conflict is unavoidable. Jesus said that we would face it. Finally, and most importantly, conflict is an opportunity for growth – if handled rightly.
Listen, no conflict is surface-level. All conflict is merely an expression of something deeper.
Conflict arises when we feel our rights have been infringed upon, right? We engage in conflict when we feel like our needs are not being met. But let us be careful here, healthy relationships are not about you? Conflict arises when we feel afraid. Fear is a monster and can create more conflict than we may ever realize. Think about it. Have you ever had someone jump out and scare you? Did you want ‘beat the pooh’ out of them (sorry Winnie)?
So, let me offer some thoughts about dealing with these porcupine moments.
Attack the problem, not the person. The apostle Paul writes, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with everyone” (Romans 12:17-19).
Fix the problem, not the blame. Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3). So many problems could be easily dealt with if we started with our own heart rather than someone else’s life.
Take your responsibility. This is where you decide that you’d rather be rich in love than right in conflict.
Keep it private, never go public. The fewer that know, the faster it will heal – as well as, grow trust.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Listen, when it comes to the community of believers, we’d do better if we just focused on Who brings us together, rather than anything that could tear us apart.