Attaining a healthy view of conflict

Adapted from Leading Skillfully

Throughout your leadership journey, you will experience conflict. The joining together of different personalities and leadership styles will inevitably result in different plans and opinions. Wherever people are involved, there will be conflict. People’s differences, flaws, and insecurities will spark frustration and tension. Trying to escape these unpleasant stressors will only deepen the frustration and heighten the tension. Conflict is inevitable, unavoidable, and inescapable. Leaders must accept this and be ready to face it.

To develop a healthy view of conflict, leaders must understand how others view conflict. Some people view conflict as a sin to avoid, but others view conflict as an opportunity to assert authority and establish a position. Yet, the proper view of conflict recognizes the dual tension between truth and grace. When a person acknowledges this dual tension, conflict becomes an opportunity to seek truth while giving grace.

Additionally, a healthy view of conflict perceives the positive benefits of conflict. Although we may not understand this, God has several purposes for allowing conflict. Initially, conflict forces us to face issues not faced before. It pushes us to address the growing tensions that lie beneath the surface. Next, conflict forces us to find common ground. If we are to resolve conflict, we must determine the areas where our opinions overlap with the opinions of others. Third, conflict, when properly handled, draws people together. When people work towards mutual benefits, they demonstrate that they care for one another—despite differences. Finally, conflict causes us to change and grow and become more like Christ. Jesus did not shy away from conflict, but rather, He followed the wise saying of Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

This week, ask God to give you a measure of His grace and truth for dealing with conflict. Allow Him to transform your view of conflict into a healthier, more constructive view.

*Click here to access an LTI sample lesson and learn more about Resolving Conflict.


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