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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Confronting Conflict

Not too many people enjoy conflict. I know I don’t.

For many years I would do everything in my power to avoid confronting conflict. I was afraid people might think less of me if I expressed my displeasure or disagreement. My fear of being judged by others only encouraged my silence. Then, there were the fears of being rejected or offending someone.

Even to this day, I have to remind myself that avoiding confrontation is not healthy -- for me or others.

We do not live in a cocoon that shelters us from conflict. Disagreements and offenses are part of everyday life. In marriages, families, politics, employment, community organizations and churches, strife is present. It’s impossible to live a “conflict-free” life.

Avoiding conflict does not reduce tension -- it escalates distress. Failure to address strife only produces resentment, causes separation, destroys communication, encourages isolation, and erodes trust. Avoiding conflict is like a surgeon that closes an infected wound: it’s only a matter of time until an abscess develops.

So, if we can’t avoid conflict, how might we discover healthy ways to face dissension?

In Matthew 18:15, Jesus instructs us to first go to our brother or sister (the one who offends us). Not to someone else. The Apostle Paul encourages us to do so quickly: “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Delay is the soil in which bitterness grows.

Conflict avoidance is not wise. It’s certainly not healthy.

So, what’s your fear that keeps you from quickly addressing conflict?

Leave a comment so others will benefit from your experience.

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