Faith and Family — 9 tips for working through conflict

Faith and Family — 9 tips for working through conflict

1) Pray for God’s wisdom, God’s will to be done (even if it’s not your way) and for Him to be honored in the process (1 Thess. 5:17).

2) Choose a time to discuss the differences of opinion. Avoiding conflict or denying a problem exists will not make it go away. Trying to resolve differences in a hurry usually leads to saying something you later regret.

3) Avoid the mentality: “I’m going to win this argument.” You might eventually win the argument and get your way, but this mentality undermines and hurts the relationship with the other person involved (Phil. 2:3–4).

4) Avoid beginning a sentence with “Why did you … ?” This immediately puts the other person on the defensive. Instead, take responsibility for yourself by saying, “I feel ____ when ______ happens,” or “I think … .”

5) Do your very best to listen to the other party’s perspective (James 1:19), instead of thinking of your next point or comeback. Ask yourself, “What do I hear them saying?” or “What is different about their approach to this conflict?”

6) Keep the amount of people involved in the conflict as few as possible. We sometimes pull people in to support “our side.” The more people involved, the higher the chance of a greater rift. If a third party is required to make a decision, seek a neutral, unbiased source.

7) Be willing to compromise. Often the approach and outcome of a situation isn’t as important as the person with whom we have the disagreement (Rom. 12:18). Our unity reflects Jesus’ lordship (John 17:21), and the love we have for the other person is intended to reflect who we are as disciples of Christ (John 13:35).

8) Keep the important things important. Does the resolution of this situation have eternal significance?

9) If a solution or an agreement cannot be reached, or if the matter is resolved contrary to your opinion, do not speak ill of the other person (James 3:5–10; 5:11). Words are like toothpaste — once they are out they cannot be put back in or be “unsaid.”

Source: Stephanie Harrison, LPC Pathways Professional Counseling


Other helpful resources

“Conflict Resolution: Solving Your People Problems” by June Hunt

“The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict” by Ken Sande

“Everybody Wins: The Chapman Guide to Solving Conflicts Without Arguing” by Gary Chapman

“Character: The Pulse of a Disciple’s Heart” by Norman C. Blackaby and Gene Wilkes

“Confronting Without Offending: Positive and Practical Steps to Resolving Conflict” by Deborah Smith Pegues