While there are a few unusual people who seem to thrive on conflict, most of us would rather avoid it. We are attracted to things pleasant, and we look forward to happy interactions. Dread is the emotion that most of us feel in anticipation of conflict or before some planned time to resolve conflict. Some of you may be feeling it right now because of some situation in your life.
In general, one crucial “mind change” principle is to believe that challenges can really become opportunities. Conflicts would certainly fit into this category, and we will be well served if we can change our minds about conflict.
I don’t go looking for conflicts in my marriage, with my family or in any other relationship. I believe as far as it depends on me, I should be at peace with everyone, just as Scripture teaches. However, as sure as the sun will come up tomorrow, human beings will have conflicts. And then, how we think about them will affect the eventual outcome.
When conflicts do occur, we don’t have to surrender to negativity. We can see them as opportunities—opportunities to learn something about ourselves, to learn something about another person or as an occasion for a relationship to go much deeper. Sometimes healthy conflict resolution results in a whole new perspective for us, one we could never have gained any other way. Most of all, we need to see the opportunity to depend on God and see him work in difficulty.
Next time a conflict has your living in dread of the future, realize you have the freedom to throw off those emotions and look at it a new way.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1: 2-4