Resolving Conflict Creatively, Part IV
"Don't sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil."1
A ninth step in resolving anger is to give up the right to always be right. People who have a compulsion to always be right are very insecure and immature. Be willing to say, "I was wrong. I apologize." As the Apostle Paul points out, we are not only to speak the truth in love but also to grow up in all areas of our Christian lifeóboth are essential for effective communications and creative conflict management.
Tenth, as the Bible also teaches, "Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil." In other words, resolve conflict and anger as quickly as possible. And, by the way, my anger is not a demon as some want to blame. The anger is all mine but when I fail to resolve it (like all negative emotions), I give "a mighty foothold to the Devil." When I resolve my anger, the devil loses his foothold and is defeated.
Eleventh, speak softly. Probably most of us tend to raise our voices when we are ticked off. However, keep in mind that research has shown that one effective way to handle yellers is to speak softly. This tends to make them lean forward and speak softer so they can hear what you are saying. Remember that yelling begets yelling! Also, as Michel de Montaigne said, "He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak."
Twelfth, pray. First pray about yourself. One of the most powerful prayers I ever learned to pray was when I was at witís end in a seemingly hopeless conflict. In utter frustration I begged God to face me with the truth of what I was still contributing to the mess I was in. What years of counseling failed to achieve, prayer did in two weeks. I saw my hopeless co-dependency (even though I hadn't even heard of the word at the time). Only when I saw the reality of what I was contributing was I able to resolve my part in the conflict. I wish I would have learned to pray this prayer years beforeóeven in Sunday school. Had I done so, I could have saved myself years of needless pain and frustration.
Then pray together. When two people genuinely want to grow through and resolve their conflicts and are willing and want to face the truth about themselves and pray accordingly, I don't think there are too many arguments and conflicts that can't be resolved.
Remember always, "The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth."2
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for the wonderful principles in your Word that give instructions needed, not only to resolve conflict creatively, but to guide and direct in every aspect of life. Help me to always strive to live by these principles in everything I am and do. Gratefully, in Jesus' name. Amen."
RECAP: Here are the twelve steps for resolving conflict creatively: 1. Speak the truth in love. 2. Listen with the heart. 3. Be honest with your true feelings. 4. Use "I" messages. 5. Avoid the blame game. 6. Accept responsibility. 7. Stick to the subject at hand. 8. Confess nobody's sin but your own. 9. Give up the right to always be right. 10. Resolve anger quickly. 11. Speak softly. 12. Pray.
1. Ephesians 4:26Ė27 (NLT).
2. Psalm 145:18 (NIV).