Encouragement for Today - August 23, 2012


Lysa TerKeurst

August 23, 2012

The Good Side of Conflict
Lysa TerKeurst

"Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger." Ephesians 4:26 (ESV)

When I was in my early twenties, there was nothing I disliked more than conflict. I won't use the tired cliché that I avoided it like the plague. But, since I just mentioned it, I'll admit I tried to navigate around conflict at any cost.

I was a "stuff it and smile" kind of girl.

The problem with pretending to be fine when we're really not, is all that pent up steam will eventually come out. And if you've ever held your hand too close to steam, you know how it can burn.

I've learned that a much healthier approach to inevitable conflicts we all deal with is to face the issue head on with grace and humility and ask ourselves one very crucial question. This question is so crucial that might I dare say not asking it could lead to extreme conflict escalation rather than relationship restoration.

So, what's this crucial question?

Am I trying to prove or improve? In other words, is my desire in this conflict to prove that I am right or to improve the relationship at hand?

When I try to prove I'm right, I use the circumstances of the conflict as an arsenal to attack the other person. I come armed with past hurts and offenses ready to state my case. I'm tempted to tear down the other person. I react from a place of hurt and anger and can often say things I later regret.

On the other hand, when my desire is to improve the relationship, I seek to understand where the other person is coming from and I care enough about the relationship to fight for it rather than against it. Instead of reacting out of anger, I try to pause and let the Holy Spirit interrupt my first impulses. I focus on tackling the issues, not the person.

Here are some great questions to ask when we're dealing with conflict out of a desire to improve a relationship:

• Can you help me understand why you feel this way?
• Why don't we both agree to stick to the issue at hand and not pull in past issues?
• What is your desired outcome in this situation?
• How can we meet in the middle on this issue?

My husband I have renamed what we used to call "fights." We now call them "growth opportunities." And the more we've practiced these principles, the less conflicts we've had.

But I won't tie this devotion up in a neat bow and end all "cheerio." While Art and I are doing great right now, and have had very few "growth opportunities" lately, conflicts with others seem to always be around the corner.

So please hear my heart, I'm not saying all of this is easy. Just this week I've had to process some growth opportunities that left me feeling like I had firecrackers burning in my veins. Maybe you can relate.

What I will say is that it's possible to let those conflicts lead us to better places in our relationships. Improved places. And that is the good side of conflict.

Dear Lord, help me to realize that with each conflict I face I can make the choice to improve the relationship rather than try and prove I'm right. This is hard, Lord, really hard. But, I want to grow in this area and I know this is a good place to start. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Join us for a FREE Unglued Webcast TONIGHT with a powerful message from Lysa TerKeurst to help you process your raw emotions and make wise choices in the midst of them! We'll also be featuring the radio personalities from K-Love! Please join us at www.klove.com. No makeup, shoes, or preparation required. Sign up here for an email reminder!

In Lysa's new book, Unglued, she shares personal experiences and scriptural wisdom to help us improve our relationships and make healthy, Godly decisions with our reactions.Click here to order your copy today!

The accompanying Unglued Bible Study will help you understand what the Bible says about your emotions and better ways to use them for good in all of your relationships! To order your copy, click here.

Reflect and Respond:
Take time to pause before jumping into any conflict resolution. Sometimes a simple pause is all that's needed to remember to attack the problem and not the person. Keep in mind it's more important to improve the relationship than prove we are right.

How might it help your next conflict resolution attempt to use these questions?

• Can you help me understand why you feel this way?
• Why don't we both agree to stick to the issue at hand and not pull in past issues?
• What is your desired outcome in this situation?
• How can we meet in the middle on this issue?

Power Verse:
Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (NIV)

© 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105


Christianity / Devotionals / Encouragement for Today / Encouragement for Today - August 23, 2012