“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” — James 1:19
In the heat of conflict, our emotions can get the better of us. We may escalate the conflict by saying something we later regret.
God’s Word instructs us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. We are reminded a gentle answer turns away wrath. It’s wise to remain silent so as not to be foolish. When in the midst of conflict, we must decide what is most important: to be right, to win or to bring about a resolution. Jesus teaches, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). Obviously, He desires us to find resolution. I have learned that when I find myself in a conflict, I need to exercise self-control and guard my mouth by practicing a few disciplines.
First, I need to pause and pray. I need to take a deep breath and ask God to fill me with His Spirit’s wisdom and power in order to respond in a God-honoring way.
Next, I need to listen. I need to truly listen to the other person. I need to be able to recognize and admit where I was wrong. I may need to swallow my pride.
Then, I need to carefully choose my words. We are told to speak the truth in love. Love is at the heart of dealing with conflict. My words need to build up, not tear down the other person.
Conflict is difficult. Let’s avoid making it worse by being wise in the words we speak.
— Karen Zando, Orlando Pride chaplain
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