How to Deal With Conflict

I have been thinking lately about an important principal I wanted to share with you.

Matthew 7:2 says:
For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

We can also relate this to the concept of reaping what we sow.  I was really reflecting on this verse when it comes to relationships.  Think about your relationships with those around you – your family, your friends, your co-workers, your boss!  When we think about our relationships, are we measuring others the way we want to be measured?  Have we complained about something we see someone else doing and find ourselves guilty of the same thing?  I know we all want to be treated with respect and honor, and so we should be, we are valuable sons and daughters of the King of kings.  But do we dish out the same respect and honor to those around us?  Do we expect people to treat us in a certain way and yet fall short of that thing ourselves?  I know I feel this way all the time.  I often find myself questioning how someone is treating me and then the Holy Spirit gently reminds me of how I have treated someone that way too. 

A few months ago, Marcio and I attended a marriage conference that really opened my eyes to relationships.  We learned that everyone has wounds and issues from the past that create what we refer to as “buttons.”  Everyone has “buttons” that get pushed that can bring up old wounds and insecurities.  Maybe your mom was critical as you grew up, or maybe your dad was abusive.  These wounds can bring feelings of insecurity, rejection, low self-worth, etc. Those wounds turn into buttons that, when pushed, all those feelings come flooding back.  Now, we are a new creation in Christ, the old is past and the new has come.  But the work of healing wounds and no longer responding to our “buttons” getting pushed, can be a life-long process.  In the meantime, we need to learn how to overcome the cycle of relationships – you push my buttons, I react, my reaction pushes your button, you react, and on and on.  We will never get anywhere in our relationships this way.  Here are some steps to help break the cycle:

  1. When someone pushes your buttons ask yourself “Why am I reacting this way?”  Is it really what the person has done, or has this brought up a wound from the past?    Take responsibility for your own feelings, do not blame others for making you feel that way.
  2. When you have pushed someone’s buttons, in other words you get a reaction you did not expect, do not judge.  Instead, ask “Why did this person react the way they did?” “What is the underlying problem?” Seek to understand the person better.  Cover them with your love and pray for them.
  3. When conflicts need to be solved, set aside a time to talk with the other person.  Do this when you are both calm, not in the moment of conflict.  Start the conversation with “When you said _____, I felt ______.”  Listen carefully and accept the other person’s feelings.
  4. Look for a win, win outcome for both of you, not I’m right, you’re wrong.  Rather, how can we both succeed in this relationship?  What can I do better to show you my care and support?

Above all, measure each other according to God’s love.  God sees us as we are and he still loves and accepts us.  This is the measure we must use for others, even when they are pushing every button we have.  We will not do this perfectly, but we can commit to love unconditionally – always doing our best no matter what the other person is doing.  I am so thankful to have a Savior who does not judge me, but forgives and encourages me, even at my worst.  Let’s seek to do the same to each other.  We will all be greatly blessed!

Pastor Tia Sierra