When I read this Scripture I was reminded of an event that took place quite a few years ago. It was the heavy weigh championship bout between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson. After several preliminary interviews between the two boxers, it was well known that they did not like one another very well. Each had their own opiion of how the fight would turn out. However, none of us were prepared for what took place inside the ring on that day. I don't recall all of the details just the incredible horrible incident of Mike biting off a piece of Evander's ear. People were appalled at Mike's behavior. He took a lot of heat and criticism for the incident and rightfully so.
Regardless of how they felt towards one another, nothing such as biting off a piece of one's ear warranted such barbaric behavior. The Bible warns us how we are suppose to handle our anger and disagreements with one another. The Bible tells us it is alright to be angry with your neighbor as long as it does not lead to sin.
Ephesians 4:26-27, "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil;
James 1:19-20 " Know this, my brother: let every person be quick to h3ear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce righteousness of God."
And finally one more example in Proverbs 15:18 says this: " A hot-tempered Man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention."
The truth is healthy relationships aren't conflict free; they are conflict resolving. the problem is we fight for victories instead of fighting for solutions. The reason for that is, everybody wants to be right and no one is willing to take down to keep the peace. the result is always that someone wins, someone loses, and the relationship suffers! here are some practicle insights for fighting so that the relationship wins:
1. Differences are inevitable, normal and potentially beneficial. they are inevitable, because relationships bring together very different people. They are normal, because all relationships, includeing great ones, experience them. They are potentially beneficial, because handled effectively, relationships grow therough them.
2. Here are three conflicting handling styles:
(a). the avoid style. These are the "don't want to rock the voat" and "let sleeping dogs lie" people. They fear confrontation, so they bury their feelings, not realizing they are buried alive and will rise again down the road. They go from clam-up, to build-up, to blow-up, inviting physical and emotional illness. Meanwhile offenses accumulate, unaddressed issues multiply, and unfinished business erodes the relationship.
(b). the attack style. These are the "get them before they get you" people. ;ruthless fighters who refuse to give in, they inflict terminal wounds on each other. Thje Boble says, "If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. " Attack begets counterattack, both sides "did in" and nothing gets resolved.
(c). The approach-assert style. These are the "no price is too high for a good relationship" people. They are sensitive to the feelings of others, yet insist on dealing directly with important issues. They avoid blaming, confront the issue, not the individual, and invite others to partner with them in solving the problem and saving the relationship.
Unfortunately in the Body of Christ, we have more of the first two slyles of coinflict resolution than the third one. As Christians we have the Bible as our roadmap and source on how to handle disputes between our brothers and sisters. Amazingly church leaders, including myself, need training and on-going training in conflict resolution. Often times when members of our flock are engaged in hand to hand combat with one another, we take the "avoid style, hoping that time will resolving the issue, but it seldom does. At other times, we go on the offensive and use the blame game in trying to solve conflicts between others or ones that occur between leadership and individual members.
I believe we have the tools necessary so that everybody wins and no one feels beat up, abandoned, sick, victims of character assassination etc. We just must use discernment, exercise the fruit of the Spirit, ask for help from a mentor teacher or a more seasoned saint who is skilled in this area or seek some other higher level counsel. The Bible tells us to seek peace with our neighbors. In order to do that we must esteem others higher than we exteem ourself.
I think I may have to take a little more time with this subject, but for now, I hope something I have said will help you think about your own conflict resolution style. enjoy the rest of your day;
Don't forget to say your prayers.