For years I was scared of conflict
Then out of the worst things I could see
The very materials to manage
All my conflict in order to be free.
When the Spirit leads ahead of me
And my fear’s contained and addressed
My character ensures conflicted situations
Have the opportunity to be blessed.
“So, do you think that’s it as far as conflict is concerned: to rely on character virtue and to be led by the Spirit?” I said. The person I was meeting said, “I think for me there is one other factor: security. When I am safe in who I am – because I know Christ loves me and has saved me – because of what I know about myself and how I feel about myself – I feel secure, and I’m ready to walk into conflict with the best intentions, not afraid of how I or how we will go.”
We had been talking about the mystery of meeting conflict head-on from an assertive win-win mindset; how at one time it was a mystery, but now no longer.
The thesis is this. There are three components to being blessed of God with the courage to adequately meet conflict toward an acceptable solution:
1. Be Secure in Oneself:
Of all things we need most of all when it comes to handling conflict confidently, humbly and assuredly it is inner security. Nothing beats a solid sense of security in and about our person; an identity founded in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The practical outworking of such a reality is a steady sense that God is in control of every situation – notwithstanding the challenges presented.
We need steadiness when we feel we are being attacked; when we are fearful; when we don’t know what to say or how to respond; when we need to be patient. Steadiness comes from a sense of inner security.
2. Trust the Godly Character Traits Already Formed Within:
Having journeyed with God, having honed those traits of godliness, there is no point in negating our acquisition of them in our moment of need.
In conflict we need every essence of godliness to get through – on a wing and a prayer.
We trust God that he has developed in us sufficient courage, humility, wisdom, kindness, grace, forbearance, amiability and compassion. We trust God that, in applying our traits of virtue that others may follow that lead. And even when they don’t, we hold to the fact that it is right to deal with others fairly, no matter how they are treating us.
3. Be Led By the Holy Spirit:
Jesus told the disciples, when sending them out, “do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matthew 10:19-20)
We can rest in the fact that by our faith we will be given the right words to say at the appropriate time. Indeed, to do anything else than rely on the Holy Spirit would be disobedient.
Another fact; when we do manage the conflict well we won’t boast it was us if we believe it was the Holy Spirit speaking for us. God will get the glory.
Three indispensible possessions to carry into conflict are: 1) the strength of a Christ-centred inner security; 2) trust in God’s character in and through us; and, 3) the reliance of the Holy Spirit’s leading. Trusting God in conflict is crucial.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.
Acknowledgement: to the person I was working with, with thanks!