You’re tossing and turning at night – can’t sleep. You see someone coming down the hallway and you turn to avoid interacting with them. You know there is a meeting coming later in the week and you are not looking forward to it at all. The thought of tonight’s conversation with your spouse is making you sick to your stomach. These are all signs that you’re in a conflict. And for most of us it’s not a fun place to be.
As a Godly Leader, how are you to best deal with conflict? We’ve all made conflict-related mistakes – saying things we wish we wouldn’t have and made decisions that didn’t honor God just to name a couple of our mistakes.
I have learned through a lot of trial and error, 4 ways to best deal with conflict as a Godly Leader.
#1 – Own Your Part
It’s been said that if you point your finger at someone else, there are 3 fingers pointing back at you. It’s really easy to point our finger and our accusations at someone other than ourselves. It’s easy to see their part of the problem. As a Godly Leader, we know that there is a thing called sin that affects us all and that the chances are very great that our personal sin in some way is contributing to this conflict. Our personal stuff may be playing a majority role or it may be playing a minor role. But, as a Godly Leader, it is Essential that we own our part to both ourselves and to the other people in the conflict.
1 John 1:8-10 is pretty clear about this concept – If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and His word is not in us.
Not only will God forgive us, but most of the time the other person in the conflict will as well and your step of ownership will build a bridge to getting to the answer that will ultimately resolve the conflict.
#2 – Talk To The Person Not About The Person
One of the years that I was a Little League coach, I told the parents in a pre-season meeting that if they had problems with me to come to me and talk to me and don’t talk to other parents. One of the dads came up to me after my pre-season speech and said, “wow – that was really good. Where did you get that?” He was surprised when I told him that the concept was from Matthew 18 in the Bible. In Matthew 18, we are told that if someone sins against you, you should go directly to that person. (Of course if there is any possibility of harm, you should go directly to the authorities). I call that the Matthew 18 directive.
But the concept of Matthew 18 is a good principle to employ all of the time. If you have something against someone, go to that person. More and more in our culture we talk about people in our small group, at work, on social media, in texts, etc. Friend, be a Godly Leader and go directly to that person and follow God’s principle laid out in Matthew 18. If you take this Essential step, it will help you and the other person deal with the conflict at hand in a Godly manner.
#3 – Realize There Are 3 Sides to Every Conflict Situation
It could be that you are 3rd party brought into a conflict situation. It could be that you don’t have all of the facts and need to do some homework on both sides. Realize that each person has their own viewpoint of the conflict and that usually the actual reality is somewhere in the middle – a 3rd side of the conflict. Take time to understand, listen and to be heard. Seek outside counsel if needed to provide a 3rd perspective. Godly Leaders don’t rush to judgment because they know that there is more to be learned.
#4 – Take a Default Position of Trust Versus Suspicion
If your spouse, child or co-worker messes up, do you automatically rush to suspicion of motive or trust that it was a mistake? I had 2 people in my office recently that were in a conflict. It would have been easy to rush to judgment on the 1 person for having deceitful motives based on the circumstances. However, as more information was gathered, it was easy to assess that it was a poor decision that led to the conflict, but it wasn’t deceitful. The other person is a Godly Leader and, while frustrated, took a default position of trust that made the whole situation turn out to be very God-honoring. If you desire to be a Godly Leader in a conflict situation, learning the discipline of defaulting to trust versus jumping to suspicion is Essential.
We could talk a lot more on this topic, but we’ll leave it there for now. What are your thoughts or questions? Leave them in the comments. If you found this blog helpful or thought-provoking, please Subscribe Below to receive a new weekly blog in your email on Tuesday morning. Also, if you think this blog would be helpful for others, please Share it on Social Media or tell a few friends about it!
Love being on this Essential Godly Leadership journey with you!
Essential Godly Leadership: “Leading your life, your family, your work, your relationships, and your world in a way that is seeking wisdom from, and pleasing to, the Lord Jesus.”