Life is constantly flowing, whether you like it or not. Just like a river, sometimes it’s full and sometimes it is diminished but flowing just the same, and the flow is fast. If you follow a river long enough, you’re bound to run into a few rapids. This is not unusual or abnormal. It is something we expect. Yet in life, for some reason, even though we know that we are all flawed and imperfect, when we find ourselves approaching or in the middle of rapids, it catches us off-guard. It doesn’t feel normal. But it is. It sadly is too normal.
For many years, I’ve been conflict averse. If I saw a conflict coming, I’d steer clear in the other direction, or batten down the hatches and stay inside until the big storm was over and not look around to see if any damage had been done that needed fixing. I was content to stay quiet, not watch the storm, not engage and just hide. But honestly what good is that?
This week we have been challenged to think about Interpersonal relationships. At first, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to the class. I’d read Crucial Conversations and thought…..I know how to do this now, I’ve practiced a lot, I’m not afraid of conflicts or bringing up tough conversations, but there were a lot of “I’s” in this frame of mind and not a lot of openness. Well these classes sure have a way of opening you up even if you think you’ve “got it”. 😉
Being thrown into a training with four unique individuals here had the potential to be a rocky set of rapids…..throw in that we’re all anticipating big changes ahead and being out of our comfort zones already, homework and a new living location leaves all sorts of rocks to flow over. Thankfully, we all were able to be really open and honest about where we struggle in relationships and conflicts.
So as I learn in this area, and hopefully grow, here are some verses that stuck out to me:
Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish. (Proverbs 18:13) Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. (1 Peter 3:11) A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. (2 Timothy 2:24-25) The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. (Psalm 103:8-11) Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! (Micah 7:19)
Do you have any scripture or other things you keep in mind when approaching a conflict? I’d love to hear from you!