Conflict, tension, and an atmosphere so thick a fruitcake is easier to cut. All have been in situations like this. Parents with their children, supervisors at jobs, and personal relationships aren’t immune from the the occurrence of disagreements, and the tricky bits of communication.
What makes these events so tricky for us is facing the raw nature of the beast beneath the problem. Sure, Rick spilled the milk. Not a problem in and of itself. Rick always spills the milk. Okay… now that’s annoying. Someone never tells him to stop spilling the milk. SHARON! Boom! There is where the conflict lays with the parents. The perceived lack of correction — not the issue at hand.
The sub-reasons of a current problem is where most conflict REALLY lights up in smoke. Very few arguments in life are black and white, plain and simple. For as long as one can have a different opinion than another, and as long as there can be misunderstandings — we will have disagreements. We don’t have to be disagreeable in these normal events of life however… at least not so much.
A lot of small squabbles grow into massive dragons when the unpleasantness one would have to face with dealing with them is avoided, or put off time and time again. We know better. We know we should deal with it, but either we try to make ourselves feel right or we tell ourselves that the other person is crazy, and we let it be — far more often than we should. It never ends if we don’t begin the journey to achieve an understanding with the person in a disagreement with us.
Sometimes we can’t extend a hand of reconciliation with someone no matter how hard we try. They may be fickle. They may not want to talk. They may be egotistical fools who think they never do wrong, or you never meant much to them in the first place. It’s okay to cut your losses, let go, and start walking on towards better things again. As long as you have done your part with being the decent one… be free.
Proverbs 13:10, NIV — Emphasis added
Where there is strife, there is PRIDE, but wisdom is found in those who take ADVICE.
Some things I have learned over time are: it is better to say your place, and then be silent so people can think about how they will answer; give people space to think about what was said to them, and it is MUCH better to say a tough thing with gentleness and hope than to lie about something in order not to hurt someone’s feelings. That never goes over well.
Yes, sometimes it is a fiery ordeal to speak about a difficult thing with someone, but if it is done right — it can be a purifying fire where whatever bond you had with the person before is much stronger after.
“Their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.”
1 Corinthians 3:13, NIV
Even Jesus said he came not to bring peace but a sword. As the Surgeon of the Soul, whatever sharp words or thoughts he needs to use to remove a tumor in our characters he will use. If we ask him for wisdom in dealing with someone — he will direct us in how to do it. He never holds back wisdom from they who seek his face. He gives it freely and plentifully. For he wants us to be at peace with our brothers and sisters as much as possible.
If we speak the truth in loving fire — even if we fail somewhat and it comes out harshly — we can still find meaning and understanding with one another, and we can find a better relationship after it than before — if we talk through the fire.