Perhaps you have noticed nerves being a bit frayed lately. Maybe you have seen others or found yourself mad and even angry recently. It wouldn’t be unexpected if you have experienced things that normally wouldn’t be major issues in marriages, families, churches, and other relationships that are bubbling up and out into open conflict. Given the level of stress we’re all under these days, the need to manage a conflict or two might be an unfortunate reality.
On top of all the anxiety-producing situations going on in our culture, my uncle, who led me to Jesus 26 years ago, recently died unexpectantly. Adding the grief of that loss into the mix, I found myself on a short emotional fuse. Thankfully, this hasn’t resulted in any major conflicts, but with the Lord’s help, I’ve had to really manage my tongue to avoid them!
As I’ve continued to read and reflect on the Book of Proverbs in my quiet time during this difficult year, I discovered a wonderful little reflection from Proverbs 15:1-7 on how the management of our communication helps us manage our conflicts. I found it helpful, and since it’s not a leap to believe some of you might be in conflict or might sense conflict brewing in your church and in your various relationships during this season, let me pass this wisdom on to you:
7 Ways to Manage Communication to Manage Conflicts*
Keep a calm presence when confronting conflict.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Pr. 15:1
Speak wisely, making sure your information is truthful and accurate.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. Pr. 15:2
Remember, God is the ultimate Judge and will execute justice.
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. Pr. 15:3
Use your words to bring healing; fix the problem, not lay the blame.
A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. Pr. 15:4
Stay teachable; be open to correction and be quick to apologize when wrong.
A fool despises his father’s instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent. Pr. 15:5
Add value to everyone, even when you disagree with them.
In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but trouble befalls the income of the wicked. Pr. 15:6
Spread knowledge and understanding rightly.
The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools. Pr. 15:7
*Adapted from The Maxwell Leadership Bible page 780.