Thursday, July 28, 2016

How to Respond to Conflict (Part 3)

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.  3 John 1:11

I.         Focus on the positive
As human beings we are pretty much negative by nature.  A lot of times instead of seeing the good we only see the bad. It is always hard to focus on the positive when you are in the middle of a conflict with another person.  We get defensive and selfish.  We have our point of view and we want others to see it our way.  We can become prideful; much like Diotrephes was in our devotional yesterday.
Being positive when you have a conflict means not using terms like “you never” or “you always.”  It means instead of being mean, be kind.  Instead of getting angry, be loving.  Instead of using harsh words, use gentle ones. Much easier said than done, but God knows how hard this is for us and he provides plenty of guidelines for us such as Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (NIV)
As Christians we are most like God when we are reconciling relationships.  Romans 12:21, tells us “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (NIV)  How do you reconcile a relationship?  Here are some action steps you can take:
  • Schedule a peace conference with someone you are having a conflict with.
  • Resolve to put Jesus first in your relationships.
  • The next time you have a conflict with someone, write the problem down on a piece of paper so you won’t forget what it is and get side tracked.
  • Say a positive word to and think a positive thought for a person you have a conflict with.
The Bad Outweighs the Good!
With all of the problems that we encounter in life it is sometimes difficult not to expect the worst and hope for the best.  Life should be like a photograph; we should be turning NEGATIVES into POSITIVES.  Very often we allow bad circumstances to control our life.  Circumstances are like a feather mattress.  If you get underneath them, you will suffocate.  But, if you stay on top of them, you can rest easy.  An unknown author wrote a humorous poem that gives pretty good advice along these lines:
As you travel down life’s pathway,
Whatever be your goal,
Keep your eye upon the doughnut,
And not upon the hole.
Don’t lose it!
Even though we have good intentions, sometimes when we get in a conflict, we lose our resolve.   We may get caught up in what the other person is saying about us or accusing us of and we may begin to act just like they are.  That is what Paul is warning us about in this verse.  …do not imitate what is evil, but what is good.  Be imitators of good, keep your head about you, respond like Jesus would.
Satan likes to tempt us and put us in situations that might cause us to stumble.  He wants us to fail and be imitators of evil.  God will sustain us.  He knows our weaknesses.  He created us. He died for us because He knows our weaknesses and in our weakness, His strength is perfect.  Call on Him to get you through a difficult time dealing with conflict.  He will carry you through to the other side. 

Scripture to Claim:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.   2 Corinthians 12:9

Devotional Archive