At some point in our lives we are all faced with conflict amongst family, amongst friends or work colleagues etc. We are all human and we deal with conflict in our own different ways. The big challenge as a Christian though is, are we dealing with it in such a manner that it reflects God’s love to the people we are dealing with? I think we have a lot to learn about ourselves when we face conflict.
The big question to ask ourselves is: does the way we handled it reflect the fruits of the Spirit? Did you respond in love, were you gentle, were you kind? Were you patient in listening to the side of the party involved? Did you have self control over your emotions? Was your aim in your response to bring back the peace in the situation?
The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
In conflict I battle with this. I am not the most patient person and when I am upset I lack self control. I tend to run away with the emotions, hurt, anger etc. After the conflict is over I have to ask myself if I dealt with it the right way and I find there are many areas I could of done better. Having a lack of patience and self control in a conflicting situation is never a good thing, as it sends all the other fruits of the Spirit right out of the window too. Suddenly you find you were not kind, you were not gentle, you disturbed peace, and you did not act in love. That leaves me having to deal with the disappointment in myself for handling things the wrong way. It’s such a vicious circle.
It’s important that we as humans take time to step back and think about the fruits of the Spirit before we react. It’s not always easy to do this during or before you react, but it’s a good thing in resolving conflict by asking yourself if the way you reacted displayed the fruits of the Spirit. The next step would be acknowledgement and asking for forgiveness.
We are human, and this comes out most when we are facing conflicting situations. We are not perfect. God knows this too. The question is, are we humble enough to acknowledge our faults and ask for forgiveness? While it’s OK to express how we feel, we still need to be Godly about it, and where we fail, repent. After all, we are called to love one another and live in peace and harmony with each other.
This will be a journey for me as it is for many of us I’m sure. Let’s pray for each other in this area.