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Jesus Helps You Reframe Conflict

This Christmas season, we rejoice that Jesus came to resolve conflict and bring peace to the world! May peace reign through conflict in your home, workplace and church this Christmas season! You can’t get around conflict—you have to go through it. Jesus is with you to help!

Unfortunately, I have observed a growing decline in handling conflict well. Most of us run from conflict. Others of us blow up. Neither of these approaches are healthy. Our dysfunction toward conflict is radically hurting our homes and churches.

What if you could mentally reframe your conflicted situation to see it as a gift of God? Well guess what? There is! In this blog, I'm going to show you how Jesus helped me reframe conflict by leading me to see things differently.

Jesus helps you reframe conflict in these 6 ways.

First, reframe conflict to see it as normal.

You can’t avoid conflict. It is a part of life. It will happen whether you like it or not. So when conflict arises, you have to be ready for it.

Reframe conflict in your mind so that you don’t feel hopelessly stuck and unable to face it. We all sin in thought, word and deed. We were conceived and born in sin. Sin means conflict will be a natural part of your lives—in your homes, workplaces and churches. The question becomes, Will you run from conflict, or view it as a gift from God?

Second, reframe conflict to see it as a gift from God to help you grow.

Reframing conflict in this way allows you to see it as a gift from God. After all, He wants us to grow closer to Him—and that includes growing in our faith and love for others.

The next time someone disagrees with you, try understanding their viewpoint. Treat them with unconditional respect. You may eventually agree to disagree. Pray for peace in the midst of the disagreement. Pray for Jesus to soften your heart to maintain love for those you disagree with, while also not surrendering your point of view. Jesus wants to help you disagree agreeably.

It’s important that we continue learning how to treat each other as Christians, even when there are disagreements between us. We need these opportunities for growth so we can behave like Christ did when he interacted with others throughout His ministry (John 13:34).

Third, reframe conflict by understanding that sin leads you to avoid difficult conversations.

Because of our sinful nature, we naturally shy away from conflict. We don’t want to question

our own motives or intentions, so we avoid the hard questions. We don’t want to admit fault, so we avoid apologies—and forgiveness.

We also find ourselves avoiding people who think differently than us or challenge our beliefs. We believe the lie that this is better to avoid conflict than get into an argument. In other words, sin prevents us from having healthy disagreements about important issues!

Fourth, reframe conflict by understanding Jesus had conflict with His disciples.

Understanding that Jesus had conflict with His disciples is a key to reframing your own conflict.

  • Jesus had conflict with His disciples because they were sinners.—They did not always listen, they argued about who would be greatest in the kingdom of God, and there was a constant tension over John needing more time in the desert versus the other disciples wanting to get on with ministry.

  • Jesus had conflict with His disciples because they were learning.—It them three years for them to understand that He was going to die on the cross (John 11:25).

  • Jesus loved His disciples enough to give tough feedback when it was needed, but He did so out of love (Matt 7:1–5).

  • These conflicts helped the disciples boldly carry the gospel message throughout the world after they received the Holy Spirit.

Fifth, reframe conflict by understanding the Holy Spirit is in constant conflict with your sin.

Not one of us is without sin. This is a constant truth. We sin in our hearts. We need the Spirit to confront our sin in love, so we can do the same for others.

The Holy Spirit is the only One who can help us in difficult conversations. He knows how to deal with conflict out of love and humility while pointing out sin honestly at every turn along the way (1 John 1:7).

Sixth, reframe conflict by understanding that lovingly challenging a brother or sister is for their good.

You may have heard the phrase, “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). This means we are supposed to love others even when they are sinning or offending us. That includes people who disagree with us, hurt our feelings or cause us harm in some way. God commands His people not just to tolerate each other but also to love one another (Romans 12:10).

The apostle Paul gives this same advice in 1 Corinthians 5 when he tells Christians how they should respond to sexually immorality within the church: “If any brother has an unbelieving wife and she consents to live with him, let him not send her away . . . For Christ did not send me [Paul] to baptize but rather preach what I received from Him; therefore I am sent so that the lost might be found in Him” (verses 10-17).

Paul deeply intended conflict to lead to repentance. Conflict was kind.

Three takeaways...

  • Pray. Ask God to help you see the situation from another person’s perspective, and pray that they will be able to do the same for you.

  • Differentiate intent and impact. This is one of the most powerful conflict resolution tools I have ever heard. When you’re in conflict try to give the benefit of the doubt to the offending person. For example, resist using accusing words that assume the worst intent, “You always do that! You’ll never change!” Instead say, “I don’t think you intended to hurt me when you made that statement, but the impact it had on me was hurtful. Again, I don’t think that was your intent.” It is amazing how differentiating intent and impact can diffuse a conflicted conversation.

  • Applaud growth in yourself and others. If your friend apologizes, rejoice. If your heart is softened, rejoice! If you keep your heart rate under control, manage your emotions and respond kindly and clearly in the midst of conflict, rejoice! You’re growing more and more into your Head, Jesus Christ!

During this Christmas season, a time spent with family and friends, I invite you to embrace conflict. If a relationship is fractured, invite the Holy Spirit to help you reconcile it through a difficult conversation (or two). Conflict is natural. Don’t freak out about it! When you understand this, you can learn how to reframe conflict. It is a gift from God to help you grow.

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