Today's Devotional Thought
August 06, 2012 by Rachel Piferi
Today, I want to talk about something that no one likes: conflict in relationships. Whether it is marriage, family relationships, or a close friendship, conflict is bound to occur. So, what do we do when conflict arises?
I remember when I was younger, I used to hate conflict in relationships. I think I saw it as some sort of sign that the relationship wasn't good. And while I still think that excessive conflict is not good for relationships, I now accept that some conflict is normal in relationships, especially close relationships. And today, I'd like to go even one step further and say that conflict is not only normal in relationships, but can be viewed as good for relationships. In fact, I believe that we should view conflict in relationships as good because it provides us with an opportunity to strengthen the relationship by demonstrating selflessness, grace, and forgiveness. Instead of allowing conflict to damage our relationships, we should allow conflict to demonstrate to the other person how committed we are to resolving the conflict and restoring the relationship.
When conflict happens between two people, so often we stop communicating with the other person. Selfish perspectives and stubbornness often enter and we refuse to see the others' perspective or humbly approach them with desires of relationship restoration. In fact, our selfish desire to be right so often magnifies a problem that could be easily resolved with an apology or an extension of grace to the other person.
As I look at the relationships in my life, my best relationships can be distinguished by how well we resolve conflict. The relationships that are the strongest are characterized by a mutual desire to understand the other person when in conflict, to preserve the relationship over preserving the self, and ultimately a true love for the other person that is greater than any desire to be right. And what I find most striking about these characteristics is that I can only demonstrate them to the other person when I am in conflict with them. I cannot show them how I am willing to put self aside for the preservation of the relationship without conflict. I cannot extend or receive grace without mistakes or disagreement. And I simply cannot show a true commitment to the other person without going through these painful moments of friction.
Have you ever been in a disagreement with someone and had them truly attempt to understand your position and work towards restoring the relationship over preserving the self? Have you ever done this for someone else? Let me tell you, it is a magnificent feeling to be in such a situation and to feel that extension of grace and love in the middle of disagreement. And it is in those times of conflict and restoration that the relationship is strengthened because a true commitment to it is shown.
Conflict is going to happen in relationships. And we can either let the bricks of conflict build a wall between two people or we can let conflict be a platform for communication, understanding, love, and grace. Sweet friends, the experience of love and extension of grace in the midst of conflict makes a relationship feel so safe. And it feels safe because it most closely resembles the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father. One characterized by true love and grace. The next time you experience conflict in a close relationship, allow it to be an opportunity to demonstrate the characteristics that strengthen relationships and watch your relationships grow rather than suffer as a result of the conflict.