We have had access to massive communication improvements over the past few decades. If you think about it, did you ever pull the phone cord out of the wall? In the ’80s, a tweet would have been “twit” mis-pronounced. And my idea of “wifi” in the ’70s was more like “hi-fi” in our house with speakers in every room so I could play records throughout the house at maximum volume. Communication has certainly improved, but we can all stand to make some improvements in our inter-personal communication, especially as it relates to conflict 🙂
Here are some tips that you might find useful in resolving conflict:
- Understand the issue: get on the same page about what you’re discussing because often the center of the conflict comes from not discussing the same content
- Separate what was said from what was heard (that’s not what I said, but that’s what was heard)
- Consider the emotions & expectations associated w the conversation – these items can make communication hazy & ineffective if they’re not identified
- Be patient & listen without asserting your opinion
- Own your part of the communication challenge – blame sabotages communications & does nothing constructive
- Be clear by removing subtleties, nuances & emotional telepathy; these efforts will only leave you frustrated
I’ve been thinking a lot, lately about wisdom. In fact, I’ve been trying out that “Read a Proverb a Day” plan (since there are 31 chapters in Proverbs, it makes it easy) & I’m really liking it! I’m getting ready to start my 3rd time around & its been really helpful. Here are a few quickie take-aways that seem to be sticking to my ribs of late:
- timing reveals a lot about a person’s level of wisdom or foolishness
- doing the “right thing”, while not easy, is wise
- anger can sabotage wisdom
- wise friends can also be scratchy but can also make us more sharp
- wisdom listens more than it talks
- wisdom is priceless
I know I worte yesterday about Joseph having a courageous conversation related to his boss’s wife trying to hit on him, but Joseph had other courageous conversations as well. Another example of his courageous conversation is his discussion with some servants of Pharoah who had been thrown in prison w Joseph – the cupbearer & baker. In this conversation with these men, Joseph interpreted their dreams. One would live & be restored to his position under Pharoah & the other would die.
Now, here’s why I think Joseph’s conversation with these men was courageous – he was concerned. The reason I think Joseph’s concern was courageous is because the opposite of concern, apathy & selfishness, are the coward’s reply to the needs of others. When these men told Joseph their dreams, there wasn’t much that Joseph could do to help them, but he could use his God-given talents with interpreting dreams to express his concern.
In a similar way, there are probably some people in our lives with whom we need to have a courageous conversation to express our concern & care – maybe concern about their choices, relationship w God, etc.
Apathy is for cowards, but concern is for the courageous
Wow! This is certainly a theme in my life right now! A courageous conversation is a discussion that requires courage – it can require courage for a variety of reasons. As such, let’s look at Joseph (in Genesis 37-42) to look at 1 of his courageous conversations:
Maybe Joseph’s first courageous conversation required bravery because of his convictions. Consider his dialogue with Potipher’s wife, who wanted to make out w Joseph. When you read what Joseph said in Gen 39:8-9, you can see that he needed courage to say what he said: “But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?'”
Convictions require courage & when we are asked to do something that violates our convictions, we must draw on God’s strength & wisdom to share with diplomacy & bravery that we will not violate those convictions. Let’s be brave & gracious in our conversations, with God’s wisdom, strength & love 🙂