Thursday, July 19, 2018

(PARENTHESIS): Listening in Conflict

This week we are continuing our series "Making Peace in our Conflicts." This past week we explored the unhealthy ways we handle conflict. And addressed the importance of dealing with conflict in a Spiritual and healthy way. 

Most of us don't like dealing with conflict. But dealing with conflict is part of being human. 

We often desire to take the easy road. The easy road doesn't normally seek reconciliation, resolution, restoration or relationship. Most times it just seeks an affirmation that we are "right" and the other person is "wrong."

This week we will talk about "listening" when people have a conflict with us. Most times when we are the receiver of conflict we don't listen instead we get defensive.  When we are defensive we are saying that we are afraid that we might lose something. In so doing we fail to acknowledge the possibility that we have hurt someone we love.

Simply listening is repeating what someone else says. It affirming how someone else feels even if the feelings aren't ours (another word compassion). 

Most of us would say that we aren't great listeners. This is an excuse we use so that we don't have to listen. Listening is a behavior that we learn to do. It only gets stronger with practice. If we choose not to listen... then we would never be a good listener.

Our scriptures tell stories of how God listened. God heard the cries of the Israelite slaves and delivered them. God heard... God heard their cries for help. And God delivered them so that they might be a light to the world. God listened because it wasn't merely about freeing them from their pain... it was about the relationship.

When we struggle through conflict with one another we must remind ourselves often... that we are seeking reconciliation because the relationship is at stake. If our heart is anywhere else we must go back to the first step... prayer.