Conflict and Forgiveness

August 10, 2016

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Resolving conflict is not something I enjoy. At least not until it's over!  I have been reflecting on this over the summer, and it has become clear that I am better at resolving conflict in my professional life than in my personal life. One reason I think it is easier in professional life is because I've had more practice. Personally, that isn't the case, largely because if I could avoid the conflict, I would!


Path of Least Resistance

In an effort to improve, I've been using the confrontation preparation worksheet (part of our Productive Relationships Workshop).  The  7-step process works for any type of conflict (personal or professional). Steps include: 

  • Getting clear on emotions
  • Determining if the person to be confronted is willing/able to discuss
  • Establishing boundaries as needed
  • Identifying intentions

One other important part of conflict resolution is forgiveness. While all conflict resolution doesn't require forgiveness, many personal conflicts do. A definition of forgive I like is: to give as you did before. To treat the person who offended you in the way you did before you were hurt, angered, embarrassed, etc.  

We all know how important it is to forgive....and that we need to do it more for ourselves than for the other person. And that forgiveness releases us so we can move on, not impacting other relationships. But what I am learning is the important combination of forgiveness and boundary setting.  Letting go but also protecting your heart.  I am reminded of the Proverb (4:23), "Above all guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Another version reads "Above all guard you heart, for everything you do flows from it."    

I've had a few opportunities to do exactly that recently - confront, forgive and establish a new boundary in my personal life. And while I really didn't enjoy it, I did get better at it...but still am glad it is over! 

How about you?  How are you at conflict resolution?    

Kate Johnson
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