Conflict is the Gateway to Growth

Conflict is the gateway to growth? Yup! You may not want to read this as much as I don’t want to write it. I doubt it though. I so wanted to go another direction but this kept coming back. So, here goes.

I’m going to take up some space by providing some definitions so as to keep us all on the same page. Or at least make the attempt.

Definitions:

Conflict: an active disagreement between people with opposing opinions or principles: (Cambridge Dictionary).

Gateway: an entrance through a wall, fence, etc. where there is a gate (Cambridge Dictionary).

Growth: The growth of a person is its process of increasing in size; an increase in the size or the importance of something: (Cambridge Dictionary).

If you will notice, these three words are in the title and have significance to this article. I could define the other three words but will allow you to do that yourself at your own convenience.

I hate conflict! Boy, do I hate conflict. It does unimaginable things to my body and my mind. Conflict, many times, turns my world upside down. 

Some people thrive on conflict, so much so that when there is no conflict, they are conflicted and look for ways to create conflict.

Conflict will happen and growth always takes place as a result. The disagreement grows or the agreement grows. The relationship does not stay the same. 

Some think if the conflict is ignored then peace reigns and all will be well. That is so far from what really happens. Ignored conflict festers and the resulted poison flows and infects so many aspects of relationship. Inward, outward, and upward!

My advice is to not ignore conflict but don’t sabotage it either. Set a time that works for all, find a place that is comfortable, spend some time with Jesus, then proceed.

Points To Consider:
  • Be in control of your emotions.
  • Focus only on what is factual.
  • Begin with what you agree on. 
  • Consider one disagreement at a time and adjust it until all are happy with the result.
  • If breaks need to be taken, take them. 
  • Do not attack the individual. Focus on the points of the disagreement.
  • Be patient! Be kind.
  • If you don’t resolve the disagreement today, don’t give up. Set up another time to keep at it.
  • It may help to bring in a mediator. An unbiased third party.
  • Keep Jesus in the process. Remember you are all children of the King.

The majority of conflicts are not based on reality. Misunderstanding and miscommunication are major contributors to conflict. Work to understand. Listen to what is being said and repeat it in your own words to make sure you are hearing and understanding the words and the meaning.

You cannot control the other parties behavior in the conflict. You are not responsible for and cannot control how they act or react. But you are responsible for yourself. You can control how you act and react. 

Did I mention that I hate conflict? 

Is processing conflict worth the effort? It may not seem like it throughout the process. But once you get to the other side it will be. One way or the other growth happens. 

Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably will all” (ESV).

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