One major reason why Christ came to the earth at Christmas was to be like us in human flesh, understand our situation and our sinful nature, and finally, make peace by dying on our behalf to resolve the existing conflict between mankind and God Almighty whom we have offended with your wrongdoings.
At this Christmas season, please let us seriously make the time and effort to resolve all the varieties of conflicts related to our courtships, homes, families, in-laws, institutions, workplaces, businesses, customer relations, communities, churches, fellowships, ministries, leadership activities, organizations, and nations.
The majority of sour, toxic, deflated, weakened, broken, and shattered relationships are the results of varieties of conflicts that the people involved neglected or refused to resolve properly.
Sometimes we become foolishly callous and greedy, focus only on our pleasure and profits, and ignore the tension and dissatisfaction that brew hotly within the people we work with or relate to until the stinging effects of our negligence and I-don’t-care-ism come back to bite us severely and mercilessly.
At least 90% of all broken relationships are the results of unresolved conflicts, wrong impressions, and prolonged bitter disagreements and hurts.
Most steps taken to restore broken relationships must, therefore, focus a lot on resolving conflicts, healing wounds and hurts, and dealing with misconceptions and disappointments.
If we learn to quickly and thoroughly resolve all of our small as well as big conflicts among us, we shall have very few broken and deteriorated relationships to struggle within our communities.
Conflicts are part of normal life because our natural minds can easily misinterpret and misunderstand each other, and we often misrepresent each other as well.
As weak and frail mortals, we can never relate and interact with each other without several minor irritations and offences that are bound to occur day by day. We must train ourselves to ignore several flimsy and lightweight offences, but we need to be very careful about our view and analysis of major and heavyweight offences that can produce devastating and destructive effects to break or crash our sweet and productive relationships.
A joyful attitude is the result of an understanding mind.
Until I truly understand you, I can never relate to you joyfully --- unless I fake it to please you, or pretend to enjoy your company due to the special benefits I selfishly derive from you.
Jesus even cautioned us in Luke 17:1 that offences will always come, and are unavoidable, but we must ensure that we are not the source of any particular offence, because they are contrary to the plans and purposes of God. They destroy human lives, block blessings, and can even bring curses if you become a serious stumbling block to someone.
Offences are great avenues for the devil and forces of darkness to operate through anger, un-forgiveness, vengeance, and bitterness of heart.
Conflicts and the accompanying hurts, breed revenge, frustration, and discouragement. These become baggage that hinders our progress, hinder answers to prayers, obstruct God’s power, destroys our peace, make us lose focus, cause us to lose our first love, and make us lose many blessings.
It is very difficult to live and relate to anyone who is quarrelsome and contentious (Proverbs 21:9; Proverbs 25:24). No matter what happens, we must do our best to resolve every negative matter that crops up. We should then firmly decide never to pursue the path of vengeance, but rather leave everything in God’s Hands for Him to be the ultimate Judge (Romans 12:14-21).
The following facts and principles are important:
Don’t ignore any obvious conflict, thinking it will go away. Make time and effort to resolve it peacefully, wisely, and amicably.
Unresolved conflicts produce:
I feel guilty for offending you, and the negative feeling intensifies if I do not receive any assurance from you that you have totally forgiven me.
My offence creates thoughts and feelings of shame, especially when I do not know how you think and feel about me since it happened. I feel bad for betraying the trust you placed in me.
I do not feel safe and secure in your presence or in your hands because I doubt if you have the same care for me as you used to. I feel insecure in any interactions with you until I receive the assurance from you that you can still trust me, or will not do me any harm in revenge for my offence.
4) Fear and suspicion
I am afraid that our good relationship might finally be broken after offending you. I am inclined to suspect that any slight move you make, especially a deviation from your regular actions and behaviour or attitude, is a sign to signal to me that something unpleasant is going to come from you against me. I am tempted to look out for (and can be obsessed with scrutinizing) any signs to confirm your hidden (or continual expression of) your anger and disappointment in relating to me.
5) Lack of trust
It becomes difficult for us to believe in the authenticity and sincerity of each other, for our thoughts, statements, actions, attitude, promises, offers, and gifts. We cannot trust each other with private matters and safekeeping of each other’s treasures and important things.
6) Inferiority complex and discouragement
My offence makes me feel inadequate, sinful, unskilled, inexpensive, downtrodden, and lack of faith in myself to succeed or be able to satisfy you.
7) Break in communication and fellowship
Our lack of trust and enthusiasm for each other after the offence was committed, dampens any desire to interact, speak to each other, or engage in open-hearted conversation with each other. The oxygen in the relationship is sucked out.
8) Erosion of love and respect
Love and respect go together; therefore any disrespect to me after I have lost respect in your eyes because of my wrongdoing, will not stimulate you to have or show me any real love. The lack of acceptance, forgiveness, and kindness towards each other, hinder all efforts to have compassion for each other and be able to look out for the welfare, interests, and needs of each other.
9) Destruction of unity, cooperation, and sharing
After the offence, we cannot be united anymore because we distance ourselves from each other, and allow our negative thoughts and feelings to make us become more independent of each other. We cannot freely share any ideas, suggestions, money, time, and resources together anymore. We even find it difficult to read the Bible, pray together, go to church, and attend functions together as we ought to.
For effective conflict resolution, observe the following as well,
1) You must be wise and self-controlled. Otherwise, you can create more problems.
2) You must be loving and kind, willing to give of yourself to people and be a kind person who has cultivated the desire to share the resources you have.
3) You should not be a difficult person who is unapproachable, very insistent, intolerant, uncompromising, self-willed, over-assertive, unyielding, and unable to listen and understand.
4) You must be spiritual and godly. God says it is the spiritual person who is God-fearing, who is the one that is equipped to restore someone (Galatians 6:1).
5) You must be a gentle peacemaker and a peaceful person who is not contentious. (Mathews 5:9).
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