In Touch Daily Devotional
by Dr. Charles Stanley
March 5, 2008 – Responding to Conflict – Matthew 18:21-35
Conflict is a part of life. It may originate from misunderstandings, a difference of opinion, or deep convictions. But discord often stems from envy, pride, or hunger for power.
We are not able to control the other person’s response to conflict; we’re accountable only for how we handle it. Sadly, many people have an unhealthy reaction to disagreement. Some repress difficulty, ignoring the issue or pretending it doesn’t exist. Others place blame while defending themselves.
These negative responses often indicate one of three underlying scenarios. First, past hurt can leave a person emotionally insecure and unable to handle criticism. Second, a perfectionist sets such high benchmarks that he can never live up to his own standards—then it’s hard to acknowledge mistakes. Finally, pride makes it hard for some people to admit when they’re wrong or ask forgiveness.
Unless we respond correctly to conflict, we limit our potential to grow, because we aren’t learning what the Lord is teaching. Also, we develop an unforgiving spirit, which leads to bitterness and resentment. Eventually, such an attitude can destroy relationships.
There is also a positive way to handle conflict. Luke 23:34 reveals how our Savior responded when He was wrongly accused, unfairly judged, and killed for something He didn’t do. Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
How do you deal with accusations and criticism? Forgiveness is the only response that will keep you from becoming a victim of bitterness.
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