The Best Way to Resolve Conflict

Locals respond on the question “What is the best approach to resolving conflicts?”

By Faith Gordon

Conflict is something our country says we are trying to avoid. What we see, however, is a different story. Even with tolerance being shouted from the rooftops, we see social media attacks almost daily. We see people making a point to remind others not to step on their toes. We have enough practice in attempting to prevent conflict. We need to be more adept in knowing what to do when conflict arrives (and it will). When speaking to Attorney Grace Anne Rosbury about this topic, she said, “Don’t just listen to hear your own position. Listen to their side of the argument first, and then figure out where your beliefs and their beliefs line up to make a compromise.” This advice applies not only to relationships, but to politics as well. Often, without even knowing we’re doing it, we find ourselves filtering what the other person is saying into a box of our own agenda. We approach conflict already firm in the belief that we are right. The importance of releasing our pride and truly listening to the other side cannot be stressed enough, especially as followers of Christ. As a wise man once said, “Christians are called to win souls, not arguments.” While it is good to present your opinion to someone who disagrees, there is absolutely no reason it cannot be done respectfully. Attorney Elizabeth Gillanders commented on the flip side of this issue, that if you have someone who is aggressive in their argument with you. She said, “The Bible says that when you have a conflict with somebody, you approach them about it respectfully, and if they still insist on being hostile, you would go to someone with higher authority.” Sometimes, if the conflict is too much, it can be helpful to bring in someone older and wiser to offer advice. This might mean consulting with them privately before a conversation with the person you are in conflict with. We must remember that no matter how badly words can hurt us, everyone is created in the image of God and deserves respect. Disagreements handled in kindness are worth going the extra mile. Gillanders finished by saying, “And of course always ask God what you should do in that situation.”