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Dealing with Conflict

Have you ever found yourself to be spiraling downward in a cycle of discontentment? Did it seem as though absolutely nothing in your life went the way that you desired? No matter the approach that you took, the situation only became worse?

Think about your recent conflicts and difficult trials. Do you have a painful tribulation that comes to mind? We all deal with various difficulties throughout our lives. None of these so called "trials" or episodes of conflict are ever easy to navigate. In fact, most are riddled with tears, frustration, and anger. We often lose control of our emotions and cause unnecessary hurt to those around us.

However, if we take some time to carefully examine the scriptures, we will find that the Lord is very clear on His expectations for believers, concerning their attitude and behavior towards conflict. Take a look at what the book of James says about anger,

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you." James 1:19-21

What a humbling word from the Lord! We are called to be slow to frustration and slow to anger, even amidst times of difficulty and conflict. The book of Ephesians gives us further insight into a proper attitude towards anger,

"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:31-32

Is it not clear that we are called to set aside all fits of rage and anger towards others, including the anger that we harbor towards our current situations? How simple a solution, yet how difficult a task! How few us of manage to act upon these words of warning and wisdom? We are all incredibly prone to act before we think. In times of difficulty, we allow our tongues to cause damage that can be all but deadly to the ears of others. We choose to pursue our rash and fleshly desires, rather than seek the wisdom of the Lord.

As we reflect on these verses from scripture, we must remember the Lord's expectations from us for holy and righteous behavior. It takes hard work to resolve any conflict, whether big or small. We must remind ourselves, continually, to be slow to anger, gracious in our listening, and ready to forgive.

We should constantly be praying for strength to follow the path that the Lord has laid out for us. This does not mean that our conflicts will disappear. No, by no means! It simply means that our obedience to God’s Word and our biblical attitude will assist us in bearing the burdens of our conflicts. Regardless of the circumstance or situation, our discontent can turn to joy, knowing that our heavenly Father cares about us and is willing to help us through the conflicts we face each and every day.

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