This is Part 3 of a 3-part series on dealing with conflict:
- Dealing With Conflict - Part 1
- Dealing With Conflict - Part 2
- Dealing With Conflict - Part 3 [You Are Here]
How Do You Become Great In Conflict?
Ever met a powerfully influential person who’s great in conflict?
They're a rare breed.
Christian leaders can benefit greatly from skillfully navigating situations of conflict.
We’ve already pointed out that conflict is common to the Christian experience. The ministry of reconciliation, to which every believer is called, demands it.
So how can you become great at being in conflict?
You have to get neutral.
Let's think about a transmission...
With your car in drive, you’re “in gear” and ready to move. You’re ready to either charge your opponent… or to flee the scene.
In contrast, putting your car in reverse is like trying to back-pedal, to load all of the blame on yourself. You're ready to cave in to escape the discomfort that conflict brings.
We have trained ourselves to choose “drive” or “reverse” when conflict arises.
There will be a time to take action, but this isn’t it. Not yet.
When you get yourself to neutral, you’re resisting the impulse to move.
If You Pick A Side Too Fast, You've Lost Objectivity
Here’s where it gets tricky. In conflict, a healthy person will immediately side with themselves.
The unhealthy person will automatically knee-jerk to side with his accuser.
Sounds odd, but it happens.
As soon as you lock in on one outcome, you narrow your focus.
You've lost objectivity.
You begin collecting evidence in support of the side you're pulling for, and find evidence to oppose the other side.
Test this the next time you watch a sporting event involving a favorite team. You’ll identify un-flagged fouls against your team, and scarcely notice those against the opponent!
Getting to neutral means choosing to embrace AMBIGUITY. Entering into the discomfort of not deciding who’s right and wrong—even when you're the one “on trial”.
Getting to neutral allows you to stay open, and return to a posture of learning.
And, in any conflict, learning is the key to an honorable and rewarding resolution.