Confronting conflict isn’t easy for everybody. Many feel as though if they bring up an issue or concern with a friend or other that it will only make the situation worst. God doesn’t won’t us to avoid conflict out of fear with sweeping justified offensives under the rug. God asks that when confronting conflict in the most difficult of scenarios that we handle them guided in love with his word.
The Power In Our Words
Toni hadn’t heard from Michelle is a few months. The two connected immediately with Michelle’s downhome southern charm, and Toni’s easying going spirit. The two friends in time became distant. Toni begin to feel left out seeing Michelle move on to other ventures meeting new friends. Toni begin to feel a bit upset that a friend once so close could forget about her. Sure, Michelle called to check on Toni and the kids. Michelle and Toni occasionally went out, but it wasn’t the same. Toni a bit down from various other personal issues glanced through Facebook seeing Michelle on a vacation to California with some new friends. Toni in a heated moment of jealousy and doubt pluged a long post meant to be directed at Michelle purposefully of how ” True friendships stand the test of time while fake friends leave you high and dry”. Michelle called a few weeks later to check on Toni, but she never answered. The two saw one another at a local community event, and Toni barely spoke. Michelle begin to feel alienated from Toni, and begin to see many of her social media posts about “fake friends”. Michelle tried not to take it personal, but seeing Toni’s actions she got the hint. Michelle stopped calling Toni with the sad intention of pulling away. Toni missed her friend knowing her actions were immature, but didn’t know where to begin to reconnect the friendship.
Ebony found that she was a bit restless following a recent conversation with Suzan. Ebony trusted Suzan sharing many ongoing transparent things that happened in her life. Suzan seemed to be biblically sound, concerned, and caring towards Ebony. The two had many conversation at park playdates with their children. Ebony noticed that Suzan started to grow colder and judgmental in their conversations. Suzan often took a jab at Eboni’s mentioning her battle with OCD. Eboni begin to pull away vowing to never confide in Suzan again with the intention of leaving the friendship indefinitely.
Both of these scenarios show the power of our words either directly or via our social media platforms. Both Michelle and Ebony have vaild reasons to call their pain a true offense. Depending on their desire to maintain or dissolve the ties of the friendship will be on their actions through God’s grace with handling things with spiritual maturity. If you truly care for a friend you should make an effort to share your concerns before immediately acting from assumption or cutting them off.
A Promise Broken
Amanda was known to be late. In fact, her lateness to gatherings and events started to become a joke that she joined in. Amanda begin to become comfortable in her “fashionably late” tardiness as it being away to describe her. Amanda showed up over an hour late for her lunch meeting with a close high school girlfriend Nikki. Nikki was a mom of two who’s husband was away on military duty. She paid for a sitter to meet with Amanda hoping she would keep her promise of arriving on time for their meeting since she had a lot on her mind to discuss. Amanda swayed in unapologetic as if nothing happened. Nikki hurt from the stress of making it there and her husband being away begin to cry leaving the table.
Mona made a promise to pay her friend Rita back after she helped her in writing a grant proposal for her non-profit. Rita’s bread and butter was being a grant writer. She gave Mona a discount due to their friendship along with believing in Mona’s dream of helping underprivileged kids in the inter-city. Rita saw how the months went by from the date that Rita was suppose to pay her back, yet she saw how Mona bragged on social media of her shopping exploits. Rita and Mona had been great friends for over a decade. She didn’t want to lose Mona as a friend, but she knew she had to confront the issue of her not paying her for her work.
We are to be true to our word as God is true to his promises. We are not to take advantage of others especially our friends. When a friend or loved one breaks our trust it is not for us to ignore out of fear of losing our connection to them. We are to walk boldly in love in confronting them with the issue with the intention of moving forward. If we discover that a friend or loved one has a habitual way of continuing their behavior never taking ownership we can walk way. We must first give grace confronting the issue before making our decision. Please read Matthew 18 : 15-17 for a clearer picture in handling conflicts.
We live, we learn, and we grow better in handling conflicts, concerns, and when dealing at times with difficult personalities. Here are some words of advice in confronting conflicts in love as a believer:
- Go to God first in prayer about your concern.
- Be sure that you have a vaild offense or concern, and not that of selfish motive of intention. Take your time to think, but don’t let issues fester.
- Lead by prayer go to the person who offended you first before others.
- Speak in a calm and direct voice of your concerns.
- Even if you disagree hear the other person out without interruption or interference.
- Take full ownership for your part if any. No one is perfect!
- Don’t attempt to bring others in the midst of the concern or build ground by alienating the person who offended you, especially if you haven’t gone to them first.
- Keep your issues and conflicts off of social media. Period!
- If the concern or issue is tense enough to add in a third party be sure this is someone who is neutral with all parties involved with sound mind. Don’t attempt to gang up on someone. Do the right thing in letting them know what you are doing if adding another party.
- Open your heart to forgiveness. God can work with the most stubbon of personalities, so don’t count reconciliation out. Try to avoid at all cost as many casualties in relationships.