When’s the last time you had a conflict with another person? If you’re like most, you don’t have to think back very far. Conflict is an everyday occurrence that we all have to deal with. The only part of conflict that we can control is our reaction, so it makes sense to me to just focus on that. I’m currently going through the Unglued devotional book by Lysa Terkeurst and I’m learning a lot about how to make wise choices in the midst of raw emotions. She writes about being an honest peacemaker rather than pretending or proving.
When conflict arises, I tend to bottle up my feelings and pretend that everything is fine. I think the root of this action comes from wanting to avoid more conflict if at all possible. The problem with stuffing my hurt inside is that it builds up and eventually, I’ll explode. Lysa writes, “Saying ‘I’m fine’ to keep the peace, when we’re really not fine, isn’t honest.” The Lord requires us to be honest; Psalm 51:6 says, “What you’re after is truth from the inside out. Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.” (MSG)
Another wrong reaction to conflict is confrontation just to prove that you’re right and the other person is wrong. It is possible to be honest without resolving conflict, and maybe even deepening the wound . Here are some proverbs that encourage peacemaking instead of proving:
Proverbs 10:19 – The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words. (MSG)
Proverbs 15:1 – A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (NIV)
Proverbs 29:11 – Foolish people lose their tempers, but wise people control theirs. (NCV)
All of our efforts during a conflict should be towards resolution. We shouldn’t be throwing blame around or keeping score. We also shouldn’t be ignoring the problem and pretending that everything is fine.
I think it’s important to evaluate our reactions and seek the Lord’s wisdom during conflict. He commands us, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26). Micah 6:8 also reminds us to “Seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” If we quit proving and pretending, then we can find peace in our relationships and with our Father. This is why I’m called to be a peacemaker.