How to Fight Fair, Part I

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live
at peace with everyone."

I recall hearing the pastor of a large church, when
celebrating his twenty-fifth wedding anniversary,
declare that he and his wife had never had a conflict.
I didn’t believe him. Wherever there are two people,
there will always be some conflict, misunderstanding,
or difference of opinion at one time or another. About
the only way to live without ever having a conflict is
to live in isolation as a hermit, or have one partner
become a doormat who chooses "peace at any price," but
this is not conflict free. The conflict/s have just
gone underground and hidden from view.

Handled creatively, conflicts and disagreements can
lead to growth and increased mutual understanding. But
to make differences of opinions productive, we need to
learn to disagree agreeably, and to value the other
person’s perspective in the process. So how do we do

First, and foremost, listen…listen…listen–not only
with our ears, but even more so with our hearts. We
need to hear what other people are really saying–not
just what we think they are saying. We need to listen
to their feelings as well as their thoughts. Good
communication and conflict resolution requires
listening beneath the other person’s words to their
sometimes hidden emotions and unspoken needs or wishes.

Careful listening ensures that we won’t distort what
the other person is trying to say. This is necessary
because we each tend to interpret messages through our
own lenses. If we are extremely sensitive to criticism,
for example, we may interpret our spouse’s potentially
helpful suggestion as a criticism. The more our seeing
and hearing "lenses" are distorted by our personal
unresolved problems, the more likely we are to twist
the messages people are giving us to make them match
our perception of reality.

Second, always strive to speak the truth in love.
Remember that "grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."2
We, too, need to precede truth with grace; that is, to
always give loving, gracious acceptance. Some of us are
long at speaking the truth but short on listening and
short on loving. Unless we speak from a point of
sensitive caring, people will not feel safe enough to
share openly with us. Consequently, they may hide their
true feelings, or become angry or defensive. Unless
both parties can share their thoughts–and more so
their genuine feelings–there can be no resolution.

Third, we need to be aware of our own true thoughts and
feelings. If we feel angry, for example, it will be
important to acknowledge our anger. But we should also
be aware of what feelings and thoughts lay beneath our
anger. Anger, for example, often covers anxiety or
fear. Instead of being aware of our fear, we get angry.
That feels safer. Not acknowledging this only makes
matters worse.

At other times we use anger to stop others from getting
close to us because we fear intimacy. Equally
destructive, we deny our feelings altogether and
pretend to be something we are not. Each of these
reactions prevents conflict resolution. Unresolved
conflicts create resentment, and festering resentment
destroys many relationships.
To be continued ….

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, whenever I am in a
conflict situation, please give me a listening and
understanding heart so I will always hear and give
consideration to the others person’s point of view, and
not be deafened by my own need to defend myself nor
blinded by my own self-interest. Thank you for hearing
and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name,

1. Romans 12:18 (NIV).
2. John 1:17.
NOTE: If you would like to accept God’s forgiveness
for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
Click on: Or
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
please click on to note this.
* * * * * * *
Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
ACTS International, a non-profit organization,
and made possible through the donations of
interested friends. Donations can be sent at:
ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
San Clemente, California 92673-0119
Phone: 949-940-9050
Copyright (c) 2013 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2012
ACTS International.


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