1. Attack! This is the least effective method and the most contrary to how God wants us to behave in this world. When we attack, we lash out aggressively at the conflict and the person we are in conflict with.
Because emotions and adrenaline are high, it is very tempting to use this method when dealing with conflict. But keep in mind that the source of the conflict is Satan, who loves to stir up trouble. When negative, hurtful emotions are present in a situation, Satan slithers in and makes it even worse.
The good news is, Satan doesn’t have any ammunition against gentleness, compassion, understanding or love. If we can learn to deal with conflict using these tools, his meddling will be obstructed and God’s love can get to work.
2. Avoid. When you avoid conflict, you are actually running away from it. Your hope is not to resolve it, but for it to just go away altogether. While this approach is preferable to attacking, it doesn’t get to the root of the conflict. Often, you don’t really avoid it at all – you just move the conflict inside of you. You feel hurt and wronged, spend lots of time and negative emotion thinking about the conflict, and may even subconsciously look for ways to get even with the other person.
The final three methods for dealing with conflict are much more productive and preferable in God’s eyes. In addition, they will bring you more peace of mind. Each has its useful place, depending on your relationship with the person you are in conflict with.
3. Walk Away. While this method may appear similar to “avoid,” it is actually quite different. When you walk away from a conflict, you are consciously deciding that it does not affect your goals and it is not important enough to give your attention to. So you just let it go and forget about it.
When you develop the ability to walk away from a petty or inconsequential conflict, you develop a positive reputation for being even-minded and understanding. You are better able to manage your time and emotions and stay focused on your purpose in life.
Excerpted from “Developing Patience and Perseverance in an Impatient World, available on Amazon.com in paperback and as a Kindle download.