Whether you like it or not, conflict is inevitable. Maybe someone in your discipleship group consistently questions you in front of the others. Maybe a co-worker is not carrying his weight and you need to have that hard conversation. Wherever there are relationships, conflict will need resolution. The question is whether or not we resolve conflict it in a healthy manner.
When dealing with conflict, most of us fall into one of two labels: the Truth Teller or the Peacemaker. When healthy, both of these individuals are driven by Godly motivation. But when they are unhealthy, both of these individuals are driven out of a selfish motivation. One of the most important things we can do as we enter conflict is to inspect our hearts to be sure our motivation is in the right place. Let’s examine these two individuals.
Truth Tellers value justice and have a strong conviction of right and wrong. These individuals are prone to initiate hard conversations. They believe voicing their frustration is always the best course of action. The challenge for a Truth Teller is to harness their zeal and discern what is motivating their desire to share truth.
If this is you, ask yourself this question before attempting to resolve conflict with others, “Do I desire truth to be spoken, or truth to be heard?”
An unhealthy Truth Teller’s main concern is that truth is spoken. He may even speak hard truths out of their own self-righteousness. He is more focused on being right and winning an argument than resolving conflict the healthy way. The unhealthy Truth Teller’s words are not for his friend, but for himself. His judgmental spirit and harsh words are divisive and hurt those around him.
Healthy Truth Tellers share truth from a place of compassion for an individual and a desire for them be the person God designed them to be. He understands that what is important is not just that truth is spoken, but that his friend hears that truth in a way that lifts him up.
A healthy Truth Teller is tactful with his words so that he may speak truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) to spur others on towards love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24-25) for the purpose of restoring a person (Galatians 6:1) to look more like Jesus Christ.
Peacemakers have a high value on peace within themselves and with others. On a good day, these individuals are often selfless and harmonious. On a bad day, they are prone to withdrawing and ignoring conflict. They fear conflict may be a threat to the relationships that are important to them. The challenge for the Peacemaker is to have the wisdom and discernment to know when avoiding conflict is helpful or harmful to the relationship.
When conflict arises, this person needs to ask themself the question “Am I choosing to ignore an issue in the relationship because it’s easy or because it’s right?”
An unhealthy Peacemaker values safety and peace over what is healthy and right for the individual and the relationship. Their decisions are not driven by what is right, but what is easy. They believe (really, they hope) that if they ignore the issue, it will go away. This is often driven by an insecurity and fear that their personal worth or their relationship is not strong enough to withstand conflict. Unhealthy Peacemakers believe that by ignoring the issues they are protecting the peace. In reality, they are causing a greater disturbance. This approach leaves room for frustration and bitterness to grow which may ultimately lead to the destruction of the relationship.
A healthy Peacemaker has the discernment to know when resolving conflict is necessary. They have the boldness to lovingly speak truth to the other person. They know that the most loving conversations aren’t necessarily the most comfortable. Because their security is in Christ, they are able to handle personal criticism. They know their worth is not tied to what others think of him.
A healthy Peacemaker is an amazing friend who is often selfless, loyal, flexible, and always willing to fight for a healthy relationship with those they love.
When conflict is properly managed, Jesus is honored. Then, there is a likelihood it has a positive impact on the relationship. Whether you are the Peacemaker or the Truth Teller, spend time asking the Lord how you should approach the hard conversation that needs to take place. Then you can be confident in resolving conflict the healthy way.
Consider conflict resolution and other leadership principles with leaders from around the country as you look to fulfill your God-given potential through the Replicate Collective!