Think a minute…”If you win all your arguments, you’ll probably lose all your friends.” Just imagine if we cut off our relationship with every person who disagreed with us, we would have almost no friends or family left! If we are around someone long enough, we will eventually disagree with them about something.
So we are much better when we resolve our conflicts than dissolve our relationships. We will have a much richer, happier life full of close friends and family—if we develop our character and skill to become a true peacemaker. Today and tomorrow we will discuss some helpful guidelines as we build a life of successful, satisfying relationships.
To begin with, it helps to understand the three main stages of resolving a conflict. The first stage is recognition. You must recognize and admit you have a problem. Sadly, some people do not even get this far. They live in denial pretending there is no problem, so there is no real peace or progress in their relationships, since they are not honest with themselves that they need to improve and change.
The second stage is reaction. You think: “Wow, it’s worse than I thought!” So a lot of negative emotion and hurtful words may start pouring out, causing more pain, resentment, even breakups. Sadly, many families and friends are stuck in this second phase. They recognize they have a relationship problem, but they do not do what it takes to repair and heal it.
The final stage of conflict is resolution. It takes true humility and courage to stay in the fight for peace and not give up until you have resolved the problem. “You have to pick the places you won’t walk away from.” So swallow your pride and learn to work together with the other person—until you find a solution that you both feel good about.
But after understanding these phases, you must think about what you yourself have done to help cause the problem. Before you blame or accuse the other person, ask yourself honestly: “How much of the problem is my fault?” It’s almost never a one-person problem. Remember: “Pride cares about who is right, but humility cares about what is right.” So try to understand what is wrong, and what you can do to help change it and bring honorable peace back into your relationship.
Today, won’t you ask the Prince of Peace to start changing your heart and relationships into the loving, peaceful ones He created you to enjoy? Just think a minute…