Friday, September 13, 2013


The other day I walked into the garage only to be greeted by a rather large and ugly spider. He stared at me. I stared back at him. He scurried toward me, and I ran screaming back into the house. I hate spiders.

This is also precisely how I feel about conflict.

I avoid it. I don't deal with it. I run screaming from it. (Sometimes literally.)

I'm all for healthy conflict resolution, but by the time the resolution part comes around, I'm angry and in no way interested in resolving anything. I have dealt with conflict in the past by giving the silent treatment, screaming and yelling, and holding my anger in just to appease the other person. I wouldn't describe any of those as healthy or particularly effective, but it's what I know, so it's what I do. Just so you know, I'm working on improving myself.

The other day, I was involved in an argument where a decision was made that was offensive to the others involved, and before I knew it, it seemed like somebody was mad at somebody else. What a colossal mess. So I did what I've always done when I have a problem: I called my sister and hashed the whole sordid mess out with her. As we talked, I realized a few things:

1. I have to stop pointing fingers at other people and assuming they are the ones with the problem. I need to accept my part in the conflict and stop placing blame on someone else.

An offended friend if harder to win back than a fortified city.
Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.
{proverbs 18:19}

There are 'friends' that destroy each other,
but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
{proverbs 18:24}

2. I need to choose my words carefully.

Those who control their tongue will have a long life;
opening your mouth can ruin everything.
{proverbs 13:3}

3. I need to talk about my feelings--my true feelings--instead of playing along, appeasing the other person, or giving them the silent treatment.

Laughter can conceal a heavy heart,
but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.
{proverbs 13:13}

4. I need to put myself in the other persons shoes. Where could they be coming from? How might they be feeling? Having empathy for their situation might help me understand them a little better.

Spouting off before listening to the facts
is both shameful and foolish.
{proverbs 18:13}

5. I need to quiet my tongue. I tend to let my tongue talk without letting my brain filter it first--I call it verbal vomit--and when it starts, I always have a regret. Or two or three.

The mouths of fools are their ruin;
they trap themselves with their lips.
{proverbs 18:7}

People with understanding control their anger;
a hot temper shows great foolishness.
{proverbs 14:29}
6. I can make the choice to forgive and not hold on to grudges.

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven,
but dwelling on it separates close friends.
{proverbs 17:9}

7. I need to own up to my own mistakes, gulp down my pride and say what could possibly be the two hardest words in the English language to say--"I'm. Sorry." (Or, if you happen to be like me, you say it really fast and sorta mumbled--imsorrypleaseforgiveme.)

Pride leads to conflict;
those who take advice are wise.
{proverbs 13:10}
8. I need to realize that I don't do any of this well on my own, and start praying fast. 

We may throw the dice,
but the Lord determines how they fall.
{proverbs 16:33}

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