Weekly Topic Saturday #29: Resolving Old Conflicts
Welcome to Weekly Topic Saturdays!
Hello all, I pray that your week was filled with joy and love. Welcome back to those who have been with me here at A Golden Dream. For my first-timers, a great big hello there, if you haven't already please check out my previous posts when you get a chance.
Please don't hesitate to join the conversation, there are no right or wrong answers or questions. I'm not proclaiming to know everything, I am simply just discussing and picking topics on things that I personally have gone through and that I know would help someone.
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
As we get older we all will have old conflicts with other people that we have acquired over time that we have yet to resolve. This can be because people move, people pass away, the conflict is complex, and so on. When I was thinking about this post it made me think about when detectives in shows like Criminal Minds, or Law and Order start to solve cold cases. Cold cases are unsolved criminal investigations that remain open waiting for the discovery of new evidence or information. Some cold cases stay open for years. In our case, we have a cold conflict that is waiting to be resolved waiting for the people involved to step up and put the work in to fix the issue.
When cold cases go unsolved the people involved will begin to feel resentment toward the judicial system because they feel like their cases don't matter. It's the same when old conflicts go unresolved. We hold resentment and bitterness against the other person or people involved and that resentment and bitterness begins to taint the other areas of our lives. When we are resentful it turns into bitterness and anger that leads to us falling into sin. The negative thoughts that resentment leaves can linger around for long periods of time like months, years, or decades. The longer it stays around the harder it is to overcome leaving us with feelings of disappointment, rage, and sometimes remorse.
Ways to Resolve Old Conflict
Talk With God First
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.
One thing that we should all remember is that God is never taken by surprise, upset, or shocked when we are angry or frustrated, it is to be expected that we would feel these emotions. We should be open and honest and simply tell God about what is going on. He tells us on more than one occasion in the bible to call out to him and he will answer. When we communicate with God first before confronting the person we will see God step in and handle the situation for us. Through our conversation with God, he will give us a change of heart and a new perspective over the situation. It is all about getting out of ourselves. We must remember that God does not need any of our help to change things because he is all-powerful. We just have to learn to pray and leave it in God’s hands and his timing. Many times, whether we realize it or not, most conflicts begin because there are things that we need that no one else can provide for us except God. We get irritated and bitter because we are looking for people to meet our needs and they cannot only God can. God cannot meet our needs because we don’t pray. We have not because we ask not. Go to God first and pray.
Take The Initiative
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
When we are resolving conflicts it does not matter whose fault it is, or if they were the ones who started it, God expects for us to be the bigger person and fix the situation. We have to get out of the mindset of waiting for the other person, making excuses, and holding grudges. When we let issues fester in our mind it causes damage to our spiritual life because unresolved issues hinder and gets in the way of our connection with God. It keeps our prayers from being answered. God forgave us and all that we do, so we need to be able to forgive each other.
Resentment kills a fool and envy slays the simple.
You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger,
Holding grudges against people is foolish, time-consuming, and harmful to the body. Many people make themselves sick holding on to the resentment, bitterness, anger, and rage over conflicts. Most conflicts are so very trivial that three days from now they won’t even matter. The bible tells us that resentment kills, which is so very true. When we hold on to those emotions waiting on the other person it causes us stress, anxiety, and so much more. All of these emotions attack the body, mind, and heart. Be the bigger person if you have an issue or conflict with someone, reach out to them, meet up face to face if you can at a time where neither one of you are tired, or will be interrupted. Do not try and resolve a conflict through text. It is impersonal and can be misconstrued leaving more damage than there was, to begin with. Stop procrastination you are only hurting yourself.
Sympathize With Their Feelings
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.
When expressing sympathy towards someone, it is very easy to get it confused with empathy and compassion. Sympathy is the perception, understanding, and reaction to the distress or need of another. While empathy is the capacity to understand and compassion is the motivation to help. Like we talked about in Facing Confrontation, it is imperative that we take the time to actively listen to the other person. It’s no coincidence that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason! This is so true it means that he wants us to listen twice as much as we speak. Listen to the other person and seek to understand where they are coming from because it may give you insight on the real reason behind why they are doing things. Listen without getting defensive, most of the time the problem is not against you personally.
Even if we believe that it makes no difference to the Lord whether we do these things, still we cannot just go ahead and do them to please ourselves; for we must bear the “burden” of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others—of those who feel these things are wrong. Let’s please the other fellow, not ourselves, and do what is for his good and thus build him up in the Lord.
Remember that when we are upset we say and do things that we do not mean. Hurt people hurt people because they do not know how to outlet properly. We must remain patient and hear out the perspective of the other person by valuing their opinion, validating their emotions/feelings, and letting them know that they matter and your relationship matters to you. It can be difficult to have to hear out and take in the anger that someone gives especially if it's groundless and unsupported but Jesus did it for us. Jesus went through unspeakable pain due to someone else's groundless and unjustifiable anger to save us because he and God both knew that we were worth it.
Confess Your Part of the Conflict
Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
Conflicts don’t just happen spontaneously it takes two or more people for them to be created and it takes those same people for them to be resolved. Each person involved had a hand in creating the issue. It is important to admit your part first before attempting to call out someone else. Before we jump to accusing others we first need to look at ourselves and ask if we are the problem. More times than not we are but cannot realize it because we never self-reflect. When resolving old conflicts admitting what your role in the issue is is a big part of fixing the problem. It lets the other person know that you are taking responsibility. It reduces their anger and takes away their fire because they were not expecting you to confess. When you confess or apologize do it genuinely. Do NOT go to that person and say things like “I’m sorry that you feel...,” or “I’m sorry you don’t....” That is not an apology, you aren’t taking ownership instead all you are doing is deflecting, which will make matters worse. Chances are the person will become even angrier.
Attack the Problem Not the Person
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare
A wise, mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
It is very easy when angry to attack the person because they are present and they are tangible but that is not the way to handle conflict. The tone of your voice, and how you say things is just as important as what you are saying. The person may receive what you are saying and be more willing if you speak kindly with them. A friend of mine says “a conversation will go nowhere if both parties are screaming.” When you are confronting someone and the conversation gets heated, because sometimes it will, don’t stoop down to belittling, condemning, comparing, labeling, condescending, being sarcastic, or criticizing them. What you say cannot be taken back once it is spoken.
Cooperate As Much As Possible
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
Remember that we are not in the business of trying to please people, that is not our purpose. Our purpose is to please God, follow his commandment, spread the good news of the word to others, and live according to him. God wants for us to live peacefully with others. He tells us in the bible to love our neighbors, he didn’t say anything about excluding the lady that lives down the street, or the man above you. We should love everyone despite their faults because God does. Hold no grudges and no ill will against anyone. If there is an altercation, solve it right then don’t put it off. It’ll cost you nothing to be kind, you never know who you are interacting with, or what kind of day they are having.
Focus on Reconciliation
Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
1 Peter 3:11
There will be times where we will all have to agree to disagree and that is okay. It is at this time where it’s important to focus on reconciling the relationship because the relationship is more important even if the conflict cannot be solved. In some cases by working on the relationship it can cause the conflict to lose its significance and the people involved can move forward with re-establishing a relationship built on a stronger foundation. It is important to remember here that God expects for us to be a united front working with each other not against each other. A house divided cannot stand. You do not have to see eye-to-eye or agree about everything. Place the problem in God’s hands, forgive each other genuinely, and move on. It is not worth the pain and aggravation of holding on to old conflicts.
Questions To Consider:
Do you have any conflicts that need to be resolved?
Have you reached out to try to resolve it or is it still a cold conflict? What is stopping you from working on it?
What power does the cold conflict have over you?
What emotions are you feeling about the conflict?
What do you think will happen once you let the conflict go?
With Love, remember that God does not want us to be fighting with our peers. God wants us to all get along peacefully. He knows that we will be angry at times and we are allowed to feel that but don't allow yourself to fall into sin being angry. We aren't supposed to hold grudges against each other. Remember that if God can forgive us for the things that we do, we should be able to forgive others for the things that they do.
~Just Breathe...A Golden Dream~