Skip to main content

Conflict - the antidote

Conflict comes from a bunch of differing sources, right?  Some are external, while others are from within - our own minds and bodies presenting us with challenges beyond number.  Learning how to deal with conflict is not that easy, though.  In fact, most of us feel a little challenged by the continuation of some of these conflicts - either in relationships, in terms of what we desire, or just in what it is we are surrounded with every day.  Today, I'd like us consider the things which lead to conflict and their "antidote".  Maybe it will just give us enough food for thought to helps out in even one of these areas where we struggle a little.

Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.  (James 4:1-2 MSG)

In order to make this a little more "organized" and understandable, I am going to follow the outline of using CONFLICT as our starting spot.

C = Usually we have some sort of conflict whenever we sense we are losing an element of control we'd rather not give up.  Face it, control is a big deal to most of us.  All the way to the grave we will struggle with wanting some little thing we can control!  Whenever anyone asks for us to relinquish our control, it usually gets our juices flowing!  The opposite of control is helplessness or powerlessness.  No one wants to feel either of these emotions.  In fact, we do everything we can to not find ourselves in these circumstances.  What is the antidote?  Cooperation.  Whenever we find ourselves taking the thing we believe we must control and then entering into a cooperative relationship with the one we believe is taking away our control, we often find we aren't really being asked to give up something which we cannot live without!  Another word we often find in scripture is "submission" - we willingly let go of some things in order to embrace something better.  We place ourselves under the authority of another - Jesus.  There we find it less concerning to always be in control, for his plan usually is a whole lot better than ours.

O = Another area of conflict is opened up whenever we become too obsessive about any one thing and neglect something else in return.  Obsession actually puts "blinders" on us - causing us to have tunnel vision - only seeing one solution, one opinion which matters, one opportunity worth taking, etc.  The issue comes when our obsession begins to affect others in our lives.  We may think our obsession is only affecting us, but trust me, nothing you obsess about will ever affect only you - others will always be affected by your obsession.  We become preoccupied with anything we obsess over.  What is the antidote to this "tunnel vision" obsession?  Occupation.  We have to determine what will occupy the space in our minds, the attention of our hearts, and the energies of our bodies.  God calls for us to be occupied with him - when this occurs, the attitude of our thoughts changes.  The way our thoughts go determines the actions of both our bodies and emotions!

N = Neediness is a definite source of conflict.  If you have ever encountered an individual who seems to always be "needy", you know what I mean on this one.  They seem to suck the very life from you, much like a leach!  Needy people actually drive people away.  Sure, they draw near for a while, but after a period of time, the neediness of another will wear the other down.  Now, don't get me wrong - we all have moments of neediness.  It is the lifestyle of neediness I am speaking of here.  When an individual determines to have the world rotate around them and their needs, others will eventually find some source of irrigation and conflict with this.  The antidote?  Noticing others.  A needy person doesn't really take notice of those outside of their own little world.  Their focus is internal - not external.  Learning to notice others - their needs, hopes, and feelings - will go a long way in diminishing your focus on your own need.  

T = Trust is probably one of the biggest sources of conflict we struggle with, because it is something given by us, but broken by another.  We don't have control over what another does with our trust - we just give it and hope they won't trample all over it.  Whenever trust is broken, it takes a long time to get back to the place of building trust in relationship again.  This is true in our spiritual lives, physical relationships, and just about every relationship we have.  The antidote?  Truth.  We have to learn to live truthfully - truth begets trust.  We aren't always perfect - but when truth becomes the "norm" in our relationships, we don't always lose the trust we have in another.  

R = Responsibility is probably the next source of conflict we can associate with.  Conflict comes when someone doesn't take responsibility or they act "irresponsibly" with something you have entrusted to them.  Responsibility and trust really go hand-in-hand.  When another refuses to "own up to" and take responsibility for their actions, we get a little irritated, don't we?  The antidote?  Respect.  When we respect God, we will "own up" to our failures. When we respect others, we will be more inclined to take responsibility for "our part" in a particular action.  When we respect ourselves, we will be less likely to act irresponsibly with what God has provided in our lives.

O = Missed opportunities are another source of conflict in relationship.  In life, some opportunities come once in a lifetime, others come back to us at a later point.  We never really know when one missed opportunity will open the door for conflict.  More importantly, we never really know when the missed opportunity will be the last.  In relationship, opportunities to do good in the life of another, to speak truth into the relationship, and to encounter the tough things which almost lurk like the elephant in the room all present themselves.  What we choose to do with those opportunities often makes the difference between the building up of relationships or the entry of conflict into them.  The antidote?  Openness.  We have to be focused on the opportunities and remain open to the "work" it takes to sometimes see these opportunities come to a place of fullness in our relationships.

L = Limits is the last conflict source I will consider today.  We all have limits. Cross them and conflict is inevitable.  I have a limit on how much "noise" and "hubbub" I can handle in a day.  Cross that limit and I become what others label as "moody" and pull inward.  It is my way of dealing with the source of what could easily become conflict if I allowed it to.  Instead of entering into conflict when my limits are met, I retreat!  Others just let it all out!  The antidote?  Listening.  Most of the time, others give us a clear cut clue we are encroaching upon their limits.  If we will just learn to listen, we can often avoid "crossing the line" into what others have declared to be the "outer limits" of their patience, efforts, etc.

So, not rocket science here, but just a few thoughts to consider our sources of conflict and what it is we might be able to do a little differently when faced with the inevitability of conflict.  We can all learn to be better at avoiding conflict.  Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean