It’s funny how easy it is for me to tell others what to do. I sound so wise when I sit with other pastors, or anyone in ministry, who is dealing with a difficult conflict they’d rather ignore and I tell them, “I know it’s hard, but you’ve got view conflict as a doorway to better things.” I’m not wrong when I say this. When you refuse the fight or flight response, and you actually try to engage people when there’s a conflict, most of the time that conflict becomes a doorway to greater understanding, and maybe even intimacy. Yeah, so true – until I end up in a conflict.
When I end up in a conflict I find myself wanting to disregard my own counsel. I want to read the other person’s mind, assume I know what they are thinking, why they’re doing what they’re doing, and maybe even demonize them a little bit (or a lot). I find myself in my own fight or flight reaction mode rather than settling down and working my way towards the person to talk it out and then work it out.
I’m sharing this because maybe you can relate. You know in your head that conflict has the potential to be so helpful in the end when it’s handled well. But you feel that twist in your gut that just wants to avoid the conflict by flight, or put away the conflict by a fight. I’ll end with this, as I look back on this past week of dealing with some conflicts, I continually find that conflict can be a doorway to better things.