Wisdom in Conflict


Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

- Galatians 6:1

I’m an otter with a mix of golden retriever.

At least, that’s how Gary Smalley’s personality test described me. According to the results, I am an outgoing, fun-loving, creative, and loyal individual, but I struggle with confrontation.

His results were correct.

I hate confrontation—letting people know that they hurt me, asking someone to obey the rules set in place, telling someone that they will have consequences for their actions—I HATE it. Yet, God allowed me to be placed in positions that would involve confrontation.

I wanted to avoid confrontation at first; I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings; and I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble. However, through my leadership positions, I have learned three things about confrontation.

1. Your Attitude Changes Everything

Whenever you have to confront someone, it is important that you go with a humble spirit.

Ephesians 4:2 states, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” It is easy to go into these situations with preconceived emotions—fear, judgement, anxiety. But, instead, we need to go into these situations humbly; we need to understand that our attitude can completely change a situation. When I have had to speak with someone on an “unpleasant” topic, I have noticed that when I go in there, as their friend, and I speak to them humbly and kindly, the situation doesn’t (always) have a bad outcome. They are understanding because they know that I only want what is best for them. Attitude truly changes everything.

2. Evaluate Yourself First

Before I ever go into a situation, I evaluate myself within the situation. Even if I had nothing to do with what occurred, I try to find something I can learn from the situation. Is there anything that I can do to improve myself? How can I learn to communicate better when things like this happen? Is there anything the people I am helping can teach me? Galatians 6:4-5 states, “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” There is always something we can learn from confrontation—we can never assume we are right in any situation; there is always something we can learn.

Whenever I go in to speak with someone, I take a moment to look at my reactions and emotions. If I find myself being biased, I try to find the reason why, and I begin to pray that God will help me change my perspective. If I ever have to speak with someone who hurt me, I try to evaluate the situation to see if there is anything that I did wrong. So, when I do speak to them, I can let them know that I didn’t handle things well either—no one is ever perfectly right or perfectly wrong.

3. Pray for God’s Wisdom

No matter how much we learn, we will never have the wisdom that our Heavenly Father does. James 1:5-6 states, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.” Our personal experiences can help us, but nothing we have learned or experienced can ever help us the way God’s wisdom can.

As I’ve stated before, I hate confrontation. A lot of times, I spend most of the day anxious about my meeting with the person. Because of my fear, I find myself praying constantly throughout the day for God to help me. I beg Him for the words to say, and the composure to handle the situation correctly. When it comes time for the meeting to begin, I find the fear has disappeared. I listen, and I speak, the entire time, continuously praying for wisdom. I know that, in my own power, I could not have handled the situation on my own—I needed God’s wisdom to help me.

Confrontation is never easy, but if we have the proper attitude, evaluate ourselves, and pray for wisdom, we will find ourselves learning from the situation and growing in our spiritual walk with God.

Reflection

How can you use these three steps to help you when you have to confront others?

What can you learn from the past experiences with confrontation?

Prayer

Abba, Confrontation is difficult for me; I’d prefer to always get along with everyone, but I know that is not a realistic way to live. Whenever confrontation comes into my life, I pray that you will give me wisdom on how to handle the situation. Help me to use these experiences to learn more about myself and about you. Thank you for being there for me at all times. I love you. Amen.

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