Conflict is a major part of living in Lagos. If you relate with any of the following people, you know what I mean: Danfo (bus) conductors, land-lord, okada/kekemarwa (all those quarrels over change), PHCN people (especially if you are not using the pre-paid metre), I can go on sha. Sincerely, these people can test an angel’s patience- I still take the bus to work so I know what I’m talking about-and to ask anyone to manage them in Christian love is a lot to ask but I guess that is what Jesus is asking of us.
How about "I am more humble than you"?: stmatthews.org.nz
That said, conflict within the fold should be handled more carefully. That has been the thrust of series of posts the last few weeks. I have found that handling our differences with tact and patience often helps.
Few days after I wrote the last post on taking our time before correcting people (or criticising them), I found this piece on handling conflicts by Jen Smidth of the resurgence blog. While conflict is somewhat different from correcting, there are principles that apply to both issues. In my opinion, this writer took a risk I was trying to avoid (excessive word count), and this led to a detailed and insightful article on handling conflict. It is aptly titled ‘don’t waste your conflict’ and part of it goes:
“Because conflict is inevitable, it is helpful to be both proactive and reactive when it comes to conflict. There are many great biblical principles (James 1:19, Col 3) and guidelines to follow ahead of time to ensure that conflict doesn’t erupt in the first place. More helpful still may be to take a look in the rear-view mirror after a conflict has died down and examine whether or not both parties followed biblical wisdom…”
I love it when I find something that reiterates what I think or have said earlier. It sorts of make me consider myself a sage in the making. So I’m including this quote by Jen to buttress my solomonic words of wisdom on taking your time before addressing a confrontation:
“There is nothing like a little time on our knees with our heavenly Father to sort out and smooth over our emotions into something helpful and usable.”
She lists the following questions to help those in conflict:
1. Have you processed your feelings in prayer first? As Charles Spurgeon once said, “Neglected [prayer] is the birth-place of all evil.”
2. Have you put it in writing? It may be helpful to write down some of your conclusions that you’ve drawn from prayer into an “issues list.”
3. Does each party have the same information?
4. What assumptions are being made?
5. Is it necessary for a neutral party to be involved or at least made aware? When emotion is running high, reason may need a seat at the table.
6. Is each party showing love? Is each party receiving love? This aspect alone may be the distinguishing mark between what fuels Christians in conflict and what the world is often not concerned with.
7. Was listening a top priority? Each party needs a voice in conflict.
8. Did communication happen between the offended parties only in a timely and direct manner?
9. Has forgiveness been asked for, offered, and received?
10. Are both parties bearing fruit in keeping with repentance?
Conflict is painful, but conflict has great potential. Are we willing to look back over our shoulders into the wreckage of conflict to learn more about love, loss, and the lavish riches available to us in Christ Jesus to heal and mature from conflict?
My favourite tip is #1- processing your feelings in prayer. A personal experience which I narrated in the concluding past of this post explains why I think so.
Away from community and relationships, Josh Harris said this about when you should stop reading your Bible:
“Go on reading it until you can read no longer, and then you will not need the Bible anymore, because when your eyes close for the last time in death, and never again read the Word of God in Scripture you will open them to the Word of God in the flesh, that same Jesus of the Bible whom you have known for so long, standing before you to take you forever to His eternal home." - Geoffrey Thomas, Reading the Bible
Beautiful, isn’t it? And very true too. I really do love this quote. Very much. Very very much.
Other stuff I read, loved and found useful include:
this funny post by Adetutu, a friend from UNILAG who is somewhere in the North serving God and County: I am not a danfo driver. It is not new but it is classic. It made me remember the ‘I am a danfo driver song’ and also performed the miracle of convincing me to be nice to them!
Enjoying an abnormal normal by Internet Monk;
And The danger of Isolation by Jeff Nickles (I haven’t completely read this but so far, it makes sense).
Hope these bless you as much as they did me.
Enjoy the rest of your week.
PS: The aim of Wednesday weekly rounds is to share with you things I came across online and found useful. It could also be a way of saying that “if I can’t share it on this platform”, I should rethink reading it.
Would you be able to freely share what you have been reading online in the past week? If you consider it inappropriate to be shared amongst believers, maybe you shouldn’t be reading it to start with.
PPS: The usual disclaimer: I am not affiliated or endorsing the people mentioned in this post. As you know, they are waaaayyyy out of my league J: