conflict is a part of life and certainly a part of ministry. been dealing with some lately and it’s wearying, draining, and down-right exhausting. to be honest there have been moments this week where i’ve wanted to pop someone (i didn’t, mind you…but i wanted to). and i know you’re not that different than me. you probably have some conflict lurking around too. if not, duck! because there’s probably some coming your way!
here’s 4 things i’ve been reminded of lately with the conflict i’ve had to deal with:
1. deal with it quickly
dragging it out and avoiding the tough conversation only makes the issue harder. it’s like raw chicken in the garbage can… take out the trash now or wake up to something funky in the morning!
bill hybels at the leadership summit last year said that they give employees with a bad attitude at Willow 30 days to get it right, or they’re out on the curb, regardless of how valuable the employee is to the team. i think there’s wisdom in that.
2. how we deal with it is usually more important than the issue itself
let’s be honest, as christians we’re not always great at handling conflict. in fact some of the ugliest approaches to conflict that i’ve ever seen have happened in a church!
meet face to face, don’t write a letter. email works great for transferring information, not emotion. start with a compliment, insert the challenge, and then end with another compliment. be humble.
3. there’s always a lesson to be learned
with every criticism there’s usually at least a little bit of truth to consider. and there’s always things we can learn for next time to either avoid or soften the hurt.
4. count yourself worthy to suffer like Jesus
1 Peter 4:13 was a big encouragement to me this morning. Jesus had quite a few conflicts in his day, and when we slow down enough to consider this truth, our pain rubs shoulders with joy. “wow… i get to experience some of the same stuff that the creator of the universe and savior of my soul did because i’ve been living and leading like him!”