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Posts tagged ‘resolving problems’

How to Cope with Conflict

SOURCE:  Pastor Jared Pingleton/Focus on the Family

In this world, conflict happens. Jesus put it this way: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

What’s the best way to respond, then, from a biblical perspective? Here are some of the most powerful relational tools I’ve ever discovered. But first, I want to issue some precautions.

Just as both knives and scalpels are sharp metal objects capable of promoting either healing or destruction, these biblical relationship tools are very “sharp” and can be used for good or evil. It all depends on our motives. Though eminently practical, they are also theoretically idealistic. Only one person in history was capable of getting them right consistently. So give yourself grace as you learn to use them.

1. If possible, prepare the setting and plan for constructive confrontation. Avoid distractions, interruptions, or non-private discussions. Make sure you aren’t overly tired, stressed or emotionally reactive (Proverbs 16:1-3).

2. Take responsibility and initiative to directly address the issue. Avoid running from the problem. Don’t use the “silent treatment” or wait around for the other person to make the first move. Don’t allow problems to accumulate (Matthew 5:23-24).

3. Attack the problem—not the person—and propose viable options or solutions. Avoid judging or criticizing the other person. Don’t cast slurs on his or her personality, appearance, family of origin and the like. Name-calling, power messages or manipulative actions are strictly out of bounds. And there’s no need to try to change or “fix” anyone but you (Proverbs 15:1-2)

4. Stay on the subject: focus specifically and concretely on the facts, actions, feelings and events. Avoid sweeping generalizations and “kitchen-sink” attacks. Don’t bring up the past or make comparisons with others. Steer clear of irrelevant issues (Proverbs 17:14).

5. Take responsibility for your part of the conflict and be willing to admit humbly when you’re wrong. Avoid being proud, stubborn and arrogant. Don’t immaturely blame the other person for your feelings or actions. Embrace your own humanness and be aware of your blind spots (Philippians 2:3-5).

6. Learn and practice effective communication and active listening skills including usage of self-disclosing “I” language. Avoid accusatory “you” statements, exaggerations, and extreme language (e.g., “never,” “always,” “all,” “everyone”). Resist the temptation to interrupt (Ephesians 4:29).

7. State your needs, wants, hurts, disappointments and feelings clearly. Avoid pouting, nagging and complaining. Don’t put words in the other person’s mouth or expect others to read your mind (Matthew 12:34-37).

8. Be honest, respectful, honoring, and courteous. Avoid lying to protect yourself or someone else. Put all of the following on your “forbidden” list: name-calling and sarcasm, belittling or degrading the other person, and abusive, intimidating, forceful or violent behavior of any kind (Proverbs 15:4).

9. Learn to respect, appreciate and understand each other’s needs, feelings, interests and differences. Avoid the idea that you need to think or feel the same way as the other person. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you have to deny differences in taste, upbringing, viewpoint, customs or coping mechanisms in order to resolve your conflict (Romans 14:19-15:4).

10. Be willing to forgive (functionally defined as “giving up our right to hurt back”) an offense in order to cultivate the other’s growth, healing and well being. Avoid becoming resentful, bitter, punitive, alienated and controlled by vengeful fantasies and actions (Ephesians 4:31-5:2).

11. Strive for mutual understanding and a “win-win” outcome: Develop an “us-we-ours” view of the situation. Avoid trying to change the other person. Let go of the need to get your own way or to “win” the argument. Stay away from a self-centered “me-my-mine” attitude (Romans 15:7).

12. Agree to disagree. If there are unresolved issues, arrange to discuss them later. If necessary, get outside help from an unbiased, neutral, objective mediator or arbitrator. Avoid the temptation to withdraw from the situation and let the conflict go unresolved, in so much as it is up to you. At the same time, don’t pull in biased family members or friends to support you. When arguments escalate or become too intense, suggest calling a brief time-out to allow flaring tempers to cool (Proverbs 15:22).

If applied wisely and appropriately, these God-given relationship tools will equip you to construct and maintain healthy relationships for the Kingdom!

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Unresolved Anger Has Poisonous Roots!

SOURCE:  Adapted from  Lighthouse Network

When you feel angry with someone or something, do you express your feelings … or do you hold the anger inside?

People who bury their anger usually believe they are doing the right thing by appearing calm on the outside and not blowing up. The reality, however, is that unresolved anger will fester and develop into resentment, bitterness, or even depression.

Some people respond to anger by immediately holding it in, and then releasing it or letting it go a short time later without hurting themselves or others. We can do this by playing ball or scrubbing the dishes while calming down, and then having an honest conversation with the person who upset us. When we handle our feelings like this, the results are often beneficial. But if you tend to hold your anger inside and grow resentful, ask God to help you share your angry feelings with people as they occur. We don’t want to share in a rage or with unkind words. We just want an honest but controlled expression of our feelings.

The Bible teaches that we shouldn’t carry anger overnight. Get it settled before going to bed. Otherwise, it’s likely that resentment will grow. We see various Bible passages in which God and Jesus expressed their anger or displeasure, but did so with a heart, motivation, and method that were healthy and purposeful.

Anger is just a God-given warning system … letting us know when a real or potential problem exists. Thankfully, until you actually do something about the underlying problem, your brain will continue to warn you. Not addressing the problem is what allows anger to grow, fester, and come out in harmful ways. Or it can be directed inward and lead to negative self-talk, low self-image, depression, isolation, or self-loathing. The negativity against ourselves may include cutting, excessive piercing and tattooing, addictions, or promiscuity.

Perhaps you are already experiencing bitterness because of unexpressed grievances from the past. The answer: when anger starts to warn you, acknowledge the hurt … forgive or ask for forgiveness … address and solve the original problem. You won’t have to work hard at letting go of the anger … because, when the problem is resolved, that original anger will quickly melt away.

Holding on to bitterness can damage your relationship with God, relationships with others, and your peace of mind. It even harms your health, especially your heart, blood pressure, digestive system, and brain chemistry. Being a problem solver, and forgiving and being forgiven can change all that. Ask God … He will guide and help you.

Today, if you notice that someone is angry, ask them, “You seem angry or upset. That anger is warning you about some problem. Can I help you work on or solve that problem?” Ask yourself the same question as well.  What you do with your emotions is your decision, so choose well.

Prayer

Dear Father God, forgive me and help me deal with the resentment and bitterness I have been carrying. Give me the strength and wisdom to move forward by acknowledging the hurt, controlling my anger, identifying the problem, solving the underlying issue, and forgiving. Thank You for the wonderful way You designed me. Help me understand that design better so I can be a great steward of my mind and free will. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the best mirror for my eye exam, Jesus Christ;  – AMEN!

The Truth

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many

Hebrews 12:15

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