Big question of the day. Why is it we feel the need to procrastinate the inevitable when we could be taking care of the issue right away and not allow it to burden us? Most people do not like confrontaion although there are some out there that do not mind it.
Isn't it interesting how we can stew on something, chew on it, swallow it and then regurgitate it and chew on it some more? Isn't that what cow's do? Why do we feel the need to fully and completely process our "mental issues" until they become bigger and bigger and bigger? Inevitably we not only hurt ourselves by doing this, but we tend to hurt the other person as well. On top of that, the longer you wait to deal with it, the more confusing it is for the person you are having the conflict with. Inevitably with letting the issues stew for too long, the "problem" is now the size of a walrus verses when the issue occured it probably was the size of a pea.
Then, there is this issue. Some people do not seem as threatening to us, so it tends to be easier to confront them on something and not feel like things are going to fall apart in doing so. Then there are those other relationships that actually could fall apart if you brought something up.
I found this great article from Charles Stanley that words all of this much better than I can.
How can we confront conflict?
A. Recognize the cause. Conflict may result from different opinions, a personality clash, miscommunication, or jealousy. A person who is angry with someone else—or even with God—may take it out on you. Other conflicts have their root in rebellion against authority or emotional baggage from childhood or previous relationships.
B. Consider the effect of conflict. There are at least two wrong responses to disagreements. First, some try to suppress conflict—they recognize a problem but decide to do nothing about it. Second, people may repress it. In other words, they deny that conflict even exists.
When conflict is not dealt with properly, it affects most areas of our lives. Unresolved disagreement divides the mind, contributes to health problems, and hinders our emotions. It causes unnecessary pain and disappointment. If you are holding on to anger toward another person, you can’t truly love anyone. Unresolved conflict also thwarts our fellowship with God and delays personal growth.
C. How can we respond wisely to conflict?
Ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment. Since disagreements have various causes, begin with seeking God to learn the source in each situation.
Maintain a quiet spirit. Our natural reaction is to defend ourselves when attacked. Instead, let the other person talk, and sometimes he or she will reveal the root of the conflict.
Make no attempt to justify yourself immediately. When people are furious, they can’t listen to your perspective. If God leads you to defend yourself, wait until the other person finishes. He or she will be more likely to hear your side.
Ask the Holy Spirit to guard your mouth. Psalm 141:3 says, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Don’t blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. Carefully consider what you are going to say, and leave time for God to provide you with wise answers (Luke 12:12).
View the conflict as coming from God. It doesn’t originate with the Lord, but He desires to use everything for good in our lives. When I learned to view discord as something the Father allows, it freed me to view such situations objectively. This perspective protected me from becoming bitter toward God or critical, resentful, and angry at others.
Ask the Holy Spirit whether you are at fault. If you were wrong, immediately apologize and ask for forgiveness. When you feel unjustly condemned, learn to say, “I appreciate that you felt free to tell me this. I will prayerfully evaluate your criticism. Do you have any other suggestion that would help me?” Humility is always the right approach to disagreements.
Forgive the one responsible for the conflict. Even if the other person’s analysis is wrong, forgive him for bringing discord into your life (Eph. 4:32). Jesus provided the perfect example of this. During the crucifixion, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Ask God to reveal His purpose for allowing the conflict. You may not know immediately why the Lord is allowing difficulty. In time, you should be able to see what He accomplished through each situation you faced. Pain, suffering, and heartache mature us spiritually and equip us to help others more effectively.
IV. Conclusion: Conflict may be inescapable, but you and I can choose how to respond. If you are unable to agree with the other person, don’t feel like a spiritual failure. No one can force reconciliation, but you can choose to walk in forgiveness, regardless of any outcome. Ask God for wisdom, and He will be faithful to guide your steps. This hurting world needs a reason to hope—the Father desires that our response to conflict be a compelling demonstration of His power and grace.