Conflict Resolution During Grief Pt. 2

Conflict is unavoidable in life. 

Conflict will always be a part of life as long as there are people…because people are fallible. People have issues…and people are broken.

We all have our own set of issues, as well as our own ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and desires. We also all have an idea of how WE think life should happen…and how WE think life should work. And then conflict begins…Grief can bring up a ton of conflict. Other times in life, God sometimes allows someone with VERY different issues, ideas, thoughts, beliefs, desires, and ideals to cross our path…or they may live with us!

We can view a person we are having conflict with as:

  • sandpaper that gets underneath our skin…or…
  • a divine vessel from God to sand away the negative character qualities and imperfections we have in our own life

Depending on how we view our offender or a situation of conflict, we will either deepen our negative character traits…or…become a better person throughout a trial.

In my last post, I stated, “Ultimately, conflict surfaces because it is one of the enemy’s strongest ways of keeping us from achieving what God wants for us, and what God truly wants for those around us. Conflict continually keeps hurts and problems stirred up…sucking up our extra energy…which prevents us from FULLY achieving God’s Will and His best for our lives. Ultimately, conflict keeps us from TRULY loving God and GENUINELY loving others.” …Think about this for a minute…

So where does conflict originate?

EVERY CONFLICT STEMS FROM ONE ORIGINAL SOURCE: One, or both parties, involved in a conflict has a major character deficit. Character deficits…and the granddaddy of all character deficits–selfishness (pride)–are what conflicts are rooted in.

James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Aren’t they caused by the selfish desires that fight to control you?” Our character, and the selfish desires of our heart, try to control us. That is why it is so important to control and develop our own personal character throughout life.

Whatever negative character qualities we do not gain control over, will end up controlling us.

Let me explain: Character is the sum of qualities that a person either possesses or doesn’t possess that dictates every single thought, word, action or deed.

Some people are fortunate to have been trained to have character qualities while growing up; others have not had an opportunity to have developed their character yet.

One thing is for certain though: EVERYBODY can choose to develop their character from this day forward…and by doing so, resolve many conflicts in life, as well as many life difficulties. 

When people go through grief, they may say things that they really do not mean. They may even do things that are not typical of them, too. It takes time for a broken heart to heal and it can take a lot of work to balance out after life has thrown a huge curveball. As a result of grief and loss, normally good character can suffer greatly.

We must continually develop and strengthen our character throughout our lives…because “life” and grief has the ability to change or weaken our character. Since our character can be weakened by life events…or wrong motives or wrong influences we allow into our life…it is imperative to keep a strong “self-check” in place over our character and our hearts.   Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

Conflict is not always a “They’re wrong and I am right” situation. Conflict can certainly be that, but more often than not, it is simply a lack of character…and the 2 parties involved can not resolve an issue until the character quality is improved and resolved. Without the character quality being defined, improved, and resolved, the offending person no more understands how to resolve the issue than they understand how to develop the character quality itself, making lasting conflict resolution very unlikely.

The more we become Christ-like, the more character our lives will have…and the more we go to God to ask Him to develop His character and the fruits of His Spirit into our lives, the more opportunities we will have to develop them. (By the way, there are solid opportunities to put character, and the fruits of God’s Spirit, into practice during times of conflict…usually, conflict will reveal what is TRULY in a person’s heart…and the amount of genuine character they have. It’s not a fun revelation, but it is genuinely revealing to say the least).

Here is a list of popular character qualities. It is not an exhaustive list, but a most common list. As both parties read the qualities, each truly has the opportunity to take the time to see which qualities they have personally violated towards the person they are in conflict with. Remember, it is not about being “right”…it is about both parties owning their part and RESOLVING the conflict.

Two people can absolutely tear each other apart with arguments and divisions…without seeing any positive resolution at all. So, doesn’t it make sense to battle and change the negative character instead of battling the same topics over and over again?

Galatians 5:15 shares, “If you go on hurting each other and tearing each other apart [biting and devouring one another], be careful, or you will completely destroy [or consume] each other.”

Take a moment and look at the following list of character qualities, along with the negative character trait associated with the needed positive character quality for conflict resolution. A lot of times, if someone cannot pin point a character quality that is needed to resolve an issue, they can most likely pin point the negative trait that is being displayed. Find the negative character quality that is being shown and then develop the opposite (positive) character quality to better the situation.

Majority of people do not merely react to another person; they react to a person’s character/lack of character…or guiding life principles/lack of principles…or values/lack of values.

Whether it is conflict during grief, or conflict within a marriage or family relationship, church/religion-based relationships, work relationships, or any other conflict or relationship…majority can be resolved when fixing the root…which is fixing the underlying character issues.

2 people then are not fighting each other…they are overcoming negative character qualities together.

Some may refuse to work on issues, their character, or relationships (due to being stubborn, or maybe being deeply hurt by a situation or another person), so they choose to cut off or remove their self from the situation. Regardless of what one chooses…and that is truly between them and God…their negative character traits will follow them into a new relationship or situation. And the lessons usually get harder and much more difficult. God rarely allows us to be offensive, or refuse to obey His ways for conflict resolution, and then walk off and be blessed. He usually sends a much more cruel messenger or situation to motivate us to change our character and our ways. It’s just the way it works!

So, why choose to work on it…especially when you truly do not want to?…It makes much more sense to develop our own character…whether another person does or not…and whether a situation changes or not…because we have to look at ourselves in the mirror each and every day the rest of our lives regardless of the outcome of our conflict. We ultimately do our part to please God.

Consider these most common character traits that can be lacking. The anecdote is for each person to do a self check to truly see which negative character trait they are exhibiting, so that they can clearly figure out how to develop the positive character trait for lasting results in conflict resolution:

(Before reading this list, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you which character qualities you need to develop and work on. Don’t be discouraged, everybody has MANY qualities they need to develop!)

Acceptance vs. Rejection

Adaptability vs. Stubbornness

Alertness vs. Unawareness

Attentiveness vs. Unconcern

Authenticity vs. Fakeness/Hypocrisy

Availability vs. Self-centeredness

Being Under Authority vs. Selfish Rebellion

Benefit of the Doubt vs. Harsh Judgment

Boldness vs. Fearfulness

Cautiousness vs. Rashness

Civility vs. Incivility

Communication vs. Lacking Communication

Compassion vs. Indifference

Community/Family vs. Isolation

Contentment vs. Covetousness

Cooperation vs. Rebellion

Courage vs. Cowardice

Courtesy vs. Rudeness

Creativity vs. Underachievement/Dullness

Decisiveness vs. Double-mindedness

Dedication vs. Wavering

Deference vs. Rudeness

Dependability vs. Inconsistency

Determination vs. Faintheartedness

Diligence vs. Slothfulness 

Discernment vs. Judgment

Discretion vs. Simplemindedness

Empathy vs. Hard-heartedness

Endurance vs. Giving up

Excellence vs. Apathy

Faith vs. Presumption

Faithfulness vs. Unfaithfulness

Flexibility vs. Resistance

Forgiveness vs. Bitterness

Generosity/Hospitality vs. Stinginess

Gentleness vs. Harshness

Gratefulness vs. Unthankfulness

Hardworking vs. Entitlement

Harmony vs. Jealousy

Honesty vs. Lying

Honor vs. Dishonor

Humility vs. Pride

Humor/Fun vs. Coldness/Refusal to connect

Initiative vs. Unresponsiveness

Integrity vs. Lack of Morals

Joyfulness vs. Self-pity

Justice vs. Fairness

Kindness vs. Harshness

Leadership vs. Wavering

Love vs. Hate/Pride/Selfishness

Loyalty vs. Betrayal

Meekness vs. Anger

Mercy vs. Judgment/Judging

Obedience vs. Willfulness

Orderliness vs. Disorganization

Patience vs. Impatience/Restlessness

Peace vs. Contention/Disharmony

Positivity vs. Negativity

Punctuality vs. Tardiness

Purpose vs. Cluelessness/Flightiness

Purity/Virtue vs. Impurity

Purity of Motives vs. Manipulation

Resilience vs. Quitting

Resourcefulness/Conservation vs. Wastefulness

Responsibility vs. Unreliability

Respect/Reverence vs. Disrespect

Safety vs. Carelessness

Security vs. Anxiety

Self-Control vs. Self-indulgence

Self-Discipline vs. Undisciplined

Selflessness vs. Selfishness

Sensitivity vs. Callousness

Servant’s Heart vs. Haughtiness

Sincerity vs. Insincerity

Teamwork/Unity vs. Competitiveness/”Me” Attitude

Thankfulness vs. Complaining

Thoroughness vs. Incompleteness

Thriftiness vs. Extravagance

Tolerance vs. Prejudice

Trust vs. Mistrust

Truthfulness vs. Deception

Unity vs. Division

Vision vs. Apathy

Wisdom vs. Foolishness/Natural Inclinations

Take a few days to truly think about these character traits, the positive and the negative, and then pray about how you are going to further strengthen the good traits you have, as well as how best to develop and work  on the negative traits you have too. We ALL have both positive and negative traits and one of the greatest things about life is that we have the grand opportunity to continually better ourselves. When we love God and love others….and we choose to actively better the lives of others, and better ourselves, good things have a way of entering into our lives.

Everybody at some point has failed in a situation or a relationship…but keep in mind: “Failure is an event, never a person”…as long as you have breath in you today, you can improve your life and your character! And improving your character will always lead to a better life, better relationships, and the ability to resolve conflict!

Next post, I will be writing about how to develop each of the character qualities above. Stay tuned! 🙂

http://www.griefbites.com

 

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