If there is one thing I've learned - CONFLICT IS INEVITABLE! It's going to happen. Even if you win the lotto, buy a secluded paradise island and retire there to a life of hermit luxury, there will still be conflict in your life. The very instant you get bored the first time, or second guess your choice to be a hermit, you have taken a step towards a conflicted heart. The minute you start to remember your mistakes, berate yourself for behaviors and deeds not well done, you reflect the condition of your conflicted heart. Then of course, there are those revenge thoughts we all get...you know the ones....you are alone, it's quiet, and "so and so" pops into your head; you start to rehash and reinvent every single thing they ever did to hurt you, until you are worked up into a spiral of resentment and loathing...you even start to rehearse the ultimate put down speech. My point being, it seems to me that in order to be the kind of person who does conflict well, with grace, mercy, strength, integrity, and humility...we must first come to terms with our own hearts. We must first know who we are; what motivates us, and be honest about that. We must take the proverbial "look in the mirror", and see the telltale "beam in our own eye". If we are unable to do this, and instead, are all about face saving, or avoiding humility or the feeling of loosing, then we will never learn to do conflict well.
So, back to basics. When in a conflict, stop, look, listen. But not at the person you are in conflict with...STOP, LOOK, LISTEN AT AND TO YOURSELF
Stop...what you are doing, what you are saying and what you are demanding.
Look...at your self...your concerns, hopes, expectations, assumptions, priorities, beliefs, fears, values...ask, are they legitimate? Look to see what is in your eye? What are you so focused on getting/winning, that you are blind to possibility?
Listen....to your inner voice...and if that inner voice is skewed by messages of selfishness or entitlement, then ask to hear God's still small voice, and get quiet and listen...is your inner voice, or His still small voice trying to tell you something, maybe even something you don't want to hear, something about your motives, your tactics, your attitude, your demands, perhaps?
After you have a done an honest "stop, look and listen", then you have the grace to stop, look and listen to the other person as well. Their concerns, hopes, expectations, assumptions, priorities, beliefs, fears and values are just as valid as your own, and hopefully, with both of you taking the time to stop, look and listen, you will find your common ground.
Resolving conflict ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS starts with you. More about that next time...for now, basic lesson number one...stop, look, and listen, not to be confused with stop, drop and roll.