Solving Conflict

Do we process our emotions and conflicts in a godly manner or repress them in a misguided
(although well-intentioned) attempt to be holy? I’m not talking about fighting for the last piece
of orban, but rather the small arguments that can manifest into larger divisions due to our own
cowardice, false delusions of spirituality, or other weaknesses that Satan uses against us.

I recently had a conflict with a friend because they unknowingly spoke over and ignored me
three separate times. I was irritated. I knew this person was going through a lot so I made
excuses for them out of what I thought was humility. I told myself, these issues are minor, what
is there to talk about? In reality, I was avoiding conflict, swallowing my anger, and allowing our
friendship to decay slowly over the span of months for something that could be solved easily.
One Sunday after liturgy, God gave me the strength to speak with them. Ironically, they felt I
was speaking over and ignoring them! We had a sincere conversation and the relationship was
repaired almost instantaneously with the grace of God.

Acting as a Christian doesn’t mean ignoring conflict and becoming — as Peter Scazzero
describes in his book Emotionally Health Spirituality — “false peacemakers.” Jesus constantly
sought to disrupt false peace built on lies and appearances. There will be transient feelings of
anxiety or sadness that might occur with confrontation. You can “be angry but do not sin”
(Ephesians 4:26). How? Isn’t anger synonymous with sin?

Not necessarily. Jesus Christ used his anger towards those selling in the temple courts in
Jerusalem such that “He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, and
poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.” (John 2:15-16) Christ had
channeled anger to disrupt the false peace in the temple. The disruption had to occur for the
grace of the Lord to enter and drive out the wickedness permeating the temple. Peace was
restored as the truth and love of Christ prohibited the falsehood of the Jews in the court to
continue on and disrupt the salvation of others.

So how can we practically face conflicts with others with Christ-like love through the
acknowledgement of our emotions?

  1. Pray to Christ for wisdom, patience, and a compassionate heart. We must see the other
    person as if we are in conflict with Christ himself.

    • How would you phrase your words differently if Christ was sitting in front of
  2. As the speaker, you should only speak in the “I” about your own thoughts. Not what
    your likely incorrect psychoanalysis of the other person is.

    • Don’t cut yourself off. Complete your thoughts and message.
  3. As the listener, suspend your own arguments. Let the other person complete their own

    • Try to paraphrase what they’ve said back to them to ensure you’ve understood
      their side of the situation and so they feel validated.
    • Ask them “What is the most important thing you want me to remember?”
  4. Pray and work together to find the solution to the problem at hand.

We must use the gift of emotions that the Lord gave us to sharpen each other with honesty and
lead each other toward Christ. Only then can we properly and confidently reflect the love of
Christ back to our loved ones, and those around us.

(Inspired by Emotionally Health Spirituality by Peter Scazzero)