Good friends once, we’d now come to blows,
Why oh why it’s this bad, nobody really knows,
Then one of us had just enough pluck to ask,
That act of reconciliation was such a noble task.
It was only the start, mind, but it was just enough,
It proved so much that there was feeling in this stuff,
So we two agreed there was now hope for joy,
If only we both could get past the reasons that annoy.
We set out to achieve what only we could,
We stepped forth together as only we should,
Each one taking initiative; responsibility to please,
To please the other and be before God on our knees.
The reason avoidance is no answer in conflict – and indeed makes conflict worse – is nothing’s ever achieved to broker peace, besides the fact that ongoing avoidance only fuels the fire of seething anger in each mind. When we learn to confront things, speaking the truth in love, we rise on the wings of a great relational windfall. It takes but one to start the ball rolling. And this is how it’s done:
We own our portion of the fault for the conflict.
We speak only to that which we are at fault.
We take the risk that they will be reasonable and perhaps own their side of the fault. But even if they don’t, we both gain. There is a cooling of those vociferous flames, and those flames don’t lick us with fear so much.
When we avoid people we are in conflict with we exacerbate the conflict without actually doing anything – but we need to see the inaction is as bad as continuing the behaviour that started the conflict in the first place.
As we avoid someone we could otherwise be going out of our way to love, we send them a clear message that we don’t like them; that they are being avoided because we won’t forgive them. Indeed, to avoid someone without making a continuing effort to reconcile is possibly an unforgiving approach – reprehensible by Christian standards.
If we believe in reconciliation – and that is to agree that love abounds enough that we might always hope for a better rapport with this person – we will fight for the relationship in the most loving of ways. We need to keep interacting and keeping positive toward them, in the sincerest way.
Resolving conflict might be as simple as continuing to talk; to be committed to dialogue, to compromise, and to owning what we are responsible for.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.