On the previous post I spoke about communication as one of the main keys to successful friendships. And this goes to all relationships actually, effective communication will help foster relationships in school, at work, with business associates as well as family. In order to be successful in whatever you’re doing, you will need people who you can connect with and that connection is built by communication.
Unfortunately, communicating is not as easy as it seems to be – especially when you’re trying to resolve conflict. I’m pretty sure that at some point in your life you’ve been in a situation that warranted a conversation you’d rather not have had. It may be simple things like cancelling plans with a friend in the last minute or as difficult as confessing to an act of betrayal! If you’re anything like me, in the sense that you’d rather sulk than have an actual confrontation, I know that you understand the struggle!
Either way, I know that there are some tough conversations that we just can’t avoid. The great thing is that as always, God has never left us to fend for ourselves. There Bible gives some excellent advice on communicating that I believe are worth sharing.
1. Don’t speak from a place of anger or a high temper
If you’re yelling and the person you’re speaking to is yelling then there will definitely not be any understanding. It is wisdom to wait until you cool off before speaking. When we are angry we tend to say hurtful words that we sometimes don’t mean. We forget that there is life after the anger is gone – you’ll think about what you said and have plenty of regrets. Trust me; you don’t want to lose a great friend because you couldn’t control your anger.
2. Have a mediator
This is important especially if the conflict is too intense and it doesn’t seem like you’re coming to any mutual understanding on your own. In my opinion, a mediator should be someone older, more spiritually mature and someone that you both will respect. Matthew 18:15 – 17 gives us a blueprint on how to deal with confrontations.
3. Be willing to forgive
This is tough but very necessary. I read somewhere that forgiveness is not actually a feeling; I believe that you have to make a conscious decision to forgive. Personally when I say I’ve forgiven someone then I start feeling some type of way towards them I usually submit my feelings to God. Yup, I ask for help because I definitely cannot do it on my own.
Unforgiveness is among the quickest way to withhold your blessing. The Bible says that if you go to the altar with your sacrifice then remember that someone has something against you, you should go back and be reconciled to that person before you continue with your worship (Matthew 5:23). Even the Lord’s Prayer says that He should forgive us as we forgive others who sin against us, so technically if you don’t forgive you block yourself from being forgiven.
Holding on to unforgiveness is locking yourself in a cell. It leads to malice, bitterness and even hatred. It even ruins your relationship with God. Basically unforgiveness is not worth it.
4. Listen before you speak
This helps to understand the other person’s perspective. Try being in their shoes and genuinely understand why they reacted the way they did. You may be surprised that the entire conflict was based off of a simple misunderstanding of each other’s points of view. Proverbs 18:13 says it nicely, “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish”. And also, don’t listen to respond (which is my automatic reaction, help me Lord!), listen to understand so that your response may be wise.
5. Speak in love
I know I sound like a broken record with this love thing but it is honestly the solution to all your problems (largely exaggerated)! But really, you can avoid a lot of trouble if you just speak in love. Whether you’re correcting, advising, venting or just saying hello, love has a way of making everything sound good. The problem is that when we are hurt, we tend to want to hurt the person who hurt us. Proverbs 15:1 says that A soft and gentle and thoughtful answer turns away wrath, but harsh and painful and careless words stir up anger. Be careful at the choice of your words; remember you are unable to take them back after they are uttered.
Generally, I believe that what you say doesn’t matter as much as how you say it. There is a quote by Maya Angelou (may her soul rest in peace) that says: people won’t always remember what you said but they’ll remember how you made them feel. That’s why it is very imperative for us to learn how to properly communicate when we are dealing with our issues.
What are some of the ways you deal with conflict and/or confrontations? Has this been helpful? Would love to hear from you, let me know in the comment section below and/or feel free to shoot me an email. Let’s learn and grow together!
I honour you.