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Friday, September 10, 2010

Conflict: Prove or Improve?

Taken from "The Good Side of Conflict", blog article by Lysa TerKeurst

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

When I was in my early twenties, there was nothing I disliked more than conflict. I was a "stuff it and smile" kind of girl. A much healthier approach to the inevitable conflicts we all must deal with is to face the isue head on with grace and humility having asked ourselves one very crucial question.

Am I trying to prove or improve?

That's the question. In other words, is my desire in this conflict to prove that I am right or to improve the relationship at hand. When I try to prove I am right, I use the circumstances of the conflict as an arsenal to attack the other person. I come armed with past hurts and offenses ready to state my case. I'm tempted to tear down the other person. I react from a place of hurt and anger and can often say things I later regret.

On the other hand, when my desire is to improve the relationship, I seek to understand where the other person is coming from and I care enough about the relationship to fight for it rather than against it. Instead of reacting out of anger, I pause and let the Holy Spirit interrupt my first impulses. I tackle the isues, not the person.

My husband and I have renamed what we used to call "fights." We now call them "growth opportunities." I won't tie this devotion up in a neat bow and end all "cheerio." So please hear my heart, I'm not saying all of this is easy. What I will say is that it's possible to let those conflicts lead us to better places in our relationships. Improved places. And that is the good side of conflict.

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