Overcoming Conflict

"Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise." Proverbs 13:10 NLT 

Conflict.  Ugh.  I don't know anyone who enjoys it.  But like it or not, soon or later we all must deal with it. 

How do you deal with conflict?  Avoid it at all costs?  Plunge right into it?  Or somewhere in between.

But what if I told you that you can do more than deal with it, you can prevent it?

In this week's passage we learn that, at least in some cases, conflict is just a symptompride is the cause. If I get sunburn, I can search for remedies to treat the pain and discomfort, but a better tactic would be to put sunscreen on before going to the beach!  The sunburn is the symptom that comes from overexposure to the sun.  Conflict is a symptom that can come from being "overexposed" to pride.

When we find ourselves in the midst of conflict or can see conflict coming, it would be wise to ask ourselves, "is this coming because of my pride". To avoid conflict, we can choose to humble ourselves instead and then let God work in the situation.

"But he gives more grace. Therefore, it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you." James 4:6, 10 ESV

“Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise."  In this verse we also see a contrast between pride and taking advice from others.  Can we agree that no one, other than the Lord, knows everything?  Even the pseudo scientist Bill Nye observed that: "Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don't."  We can learn something from everyone. What might keep us from doing so?  You guessed it; pride.  We all, at one time or another, wrestle with it even though we don't like to admit it (because of our pride).

Let me give you a simple test to evaluate if you are treating the cause of some conflict and are open to receiving advice.

When you have a disagreement with others, what percentage of the time would you say that you are right?  My guess is that you answered something greater than 50% of the time.

I read an interesting statistic that said that in a recent study 70% of people thought that they were above average!  There is an obvious disconnect somewhere. The technical term for the phenomenon is called "illusionary superiority", the common term might be called: pride. If we all think we are right most of the time, I wonder which planet those other unfortunate folks live on!  When conflict comes, it might be a good idea to check your pride and truly listen to someone else's point of view. There is at least some chance that they just might be right.

This week prevent some conflict from coming your way by humbling yourself before the Lord. Let him use others to speak into your life.

In His Hands,

John

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