Conflict seems to come as a surprise. One thing I know, not just as a workplace chaplain, but as a human is; conflict happens. We shouldn’t be surprised when it does. Things don’t always go our way. We don’t always know what to do with it. Often we don’t know why it happens, but it does. Also, a mature person knows, “the first person to state their case always seems right (Proverbs 18:17). So if you only hear from one party, chances are high that you don’t fully understand the entire story.
- We must understand that conflict will happen. There is no doubt that it will happen. Your sinfulness brushes up against someone else’s sinfulness and stuff happens. There will always be conflict, especially in the workplace and in business interactions. So, it is a matter of, how do I handle it?
- We must have a plan for when it happens. That plan includes prayer, anticipating it, listening to the other party’s grievance, and calmly talking it out. You may need to say some challenging words to someone else. You also may need to listen and/or apologize. Chances are there is blame to be given to both sides, because most conflict is not one sided.
- We must apply Matthew 18. First go to the person one on one. You must not be talking to everyone else about them and gossiping. You must also try to approach it in a way that is loving and for their benefit. This is very hard to do. It is not natural to be concerned with someone else over and above your own hurt feelings. Then when the proper time comes you involve someone else who is fair and balanced into the conversation.
- We must forgive. This is easier said than done. We must ask God to reveal our unforgiveness, and ask Him to take the unforgiveness out of our heart. Our test is when we are able to actually pray for the other person and truly want good for them. If this idea sounds unrealistic then very simply you haven’t forgiven them yet. Forgiveness sets us free. Often times the other person doesn’t know how bad they hurt you. Or worse yet, they don’t care. Forgiveness is for you. Give God room to work. We should all consider, no one really gets away with anything. God sees it all. Yes, He is all about grace, but He disciplines those whom He loves too. We don’t have the right to do His job.
- We must move on. After we have confronted, repented and forgave, we must pray that we can leave it there and for the other party to do the same and move on. In the workplace this is vital. Stuff happens all the time. But, we are called to have an influential witness and a peaceful spirit. It may not be easy and it may take the power of God Almighty Himself, but we must represent God well when conflict happens.
There are 260 chapters in the New Testament. You go to work 5 days a week. There are 52 weeks in a year. 52 X 5 = 260. This year, Take the Challenge! Change your life!
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