“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:4-5 NIV)
Conflict does not resolve itself. It must be dealt with intentionally. Conflict gets worse when you leave it alone. If you have something wrong with someone, or someone has a problem with you, take the initiative to work it out.
When should you work it out? At once. Postponed conflict only gets worse. You need to do it as soon as possible, before it festers and turns into bitterness. You can’t just look at your own viewpoint or situation; you have to look at the other person’s viewpoint, too. This is very difficult, because it's not natural. It requires an intentional shift, where you change your focus from looking at your needs to looking at someone else’s needs.
It also takes God working in your life to do that.
When we understand where people are coming from, the less conflict we're likely to have with them.
How do you learn to understand others? You listen. Listen more than you talk. Again, this is not easy for many of us. Some of us get so anxious to make our point, to tell our side, to defend ourselves; we don't even stop to listen to what others are saying or to consider their point of view.
You are most like Christ when you ask, “What are her/his needs, and how can I meet them?” When you're angry, you're preoccupied with yourself. But when you're like Christ, you look to each other's interests and not merely your own.
One of the most powerful peace-making statements is when you say to someone else, “I'm sorry. I was only thinking of myself.”
Talk About It
Is there a conflict in your life that you’ve allowed to fester? Don’t let another day go by; take time today to resolve it.
How would you rate your listening skills? Concentrate on being a good listener.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.