“To start a conflict is to release a flood; stop the dispute before it breaks out.” (Proverbs 17:14)
“Conflict” covers everything from a child saying no to a parent to a nuclear holocaust. That means everyone knows what conflict is. It is the erupting of a difference of opinion into some form of open hostility that varies in intensity depending on the strength of the opinion. We’ve all experienced conflict from one degree to another.
Historically speaking, the Japanese can attest to the fact that starting a conflict is to release a flood. Floods generally are destructive and devastating. Anyone who has been in a flood knows how true that is. Everyone in a flood loses something. The only winner is the flood. Likewise, sometimes the only winner in a conflict is the conflict itself.
While conflicts may at times be unavoidable, it is still preferable to head them off when possible. Solomon’s right: it’s better to stop a dispute before it breaks out into a conflict. That is way more cost effective than conflict management.
In any dispute in which we have either something to gain or something to lose, we each then have a responsibility before the Lord to head off that dispute. Thus, there are several steps that are incumbent on each of us: 1) we each must first come before the Lord in humility and ask Him for wisdom and guidance and remain open throughout to His promptings and reminders, 2) we each must try to put ourselves in the other person’s position to try to understand the other perspective so we can try to gain at least some appreciation for the other person’s point of view and why they feel that way, and 3) we each must seek out the middle ground where we can all stand together so that we can then together try to work toward a resolution of the dispute as much as possible.
Father, In any disputes we may encounter this day that could erupt into a conflict, help us to practice Your wisdom and seek the way of peace first so that You may be honored. Amen.