"99% of conflict is misunderstanding"
What a deep truth! I was at a woman's ministry at Mountain Lake Church this morning called "Girlfriends", where we talked all about the ways God has called us to influence those in our closest circles, all the way out to those who we don't get along with (maybe people in your lives fall into the same category?) It's pretty simple to come up with ways to influence our children, our families, etc, but what about those who are difficult to love? What about the neighbor who let's their dog poop in your yard everyday without cleaning up? What about the person who glares at you and never says hello and you have no idea why? What about the person who has to disagree with everything you say?
What misunderstandings are happening with your family or friends right now?
It is so easy to believe the worst in others who we do not fully understand. It is easy to believe, when we feel that we haven't been heard, to assume that the other person doesn't care about us. There may be times when the offense seems so obvious to you that it seems impossible the other person can't realize their actions are hurtful, but you continually sweep it under the rug while your view of that persons character dwindles.
Did you ever think that your friend or relative may truly not know they are hurting you? Have you asked them and told them in a loving way that you were hurt? If you gently tell them your feelings, you may be surprised to hear them apologize immediately, developing a stronger relationship than you had before. But this can't happen if you give in to the desire to get back at them, speak maliciously about them, or want to see them pay for their actions by showing them a slideshow of their crimes. I find that I have had to dig deep to say to myself, "What could I have done differently? What could I do now to make the relationship better? Maybe they were having a hard day and it translated to me- I know I have done that to people in my life." All of the sudden your hazy thoughts of how to handle the conflict will become clear.
There is an even greater purpose to handling conflict with those around you in a loving way. It allows us to show Christ to others; to model the way. Leveraging your influence for Jesus is such a powerful thing because Jesus gave us that charge in Matthew 28: 18-20....
"Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
When God gives us a challenge, we know it's important! God cares so much for our relationships because it is the leverage we have to bring people to Him. But first, we need to understand that 99% of our conflicts start with a misunderstanding- not an evil person who is out to get you!
I hope this thought blesses you today. I hope you can think of some relationships in your life that you could rebuild by forgiving someone regardless of their attitude, by looking first at yourself and how you can change. Blessings await you!
To learn more from Tricia Lovejoy, go to http://www.sharpenher.com/