If you have ever been encouraged by a compliment or shamed by an insult, you know that words wield power. People in a godly fellowship harness that power not only to strengthen relationships with people that agree with them, but to also change the way they feel and act and live with people that disagree with them.
Unfortunately, it seems that as long as there are two people in the world that some level of conflict is going to develop. Now I’m not talking about disagreeing with someone after all if no one ever disagrees with anything it’s usually because no one cares. The sign of a spiritually mature church, family, marriage, friendship, even a nation is the willingness to resolve disagreements that have evolved into conflict.
If you have been struggling with “difficult” people or if you are the “difficult” person here are four things you can do to get the conflict headed toward resolution… 1) Recognize that you might be the one that is wrong. 2) Make an honest, “all I’ve got” effort to reconcile. 3) Decide that you won’t make the conflict any worse than it already is. These will go a long way in helping you resolve conflict. But the 4th thing is something that is essential if there is going to be resolution that brings lasting unity and peace. What is it? The key that opens the door to resolution with “difficult” people is forgiveness. Listen to what these people had to say about forgiveness.
“Forgiveness is God’s invention for coming to terms with a world in which, despite their best intentions, people are unfair to each other and hurt each other deeply. He began by forgiving us. And he invites us all to forgive each other.” ~Lewis B. Smedes ~
“He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.” ~ George Herbert ~
“There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.” ~ Josh Billings ~
Now if you still consider “difficult” people an enemy then consider this: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” ~Jesus Christ ~ (Matthew 5:43-45)
One more thing… It has been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)