March 6, 2008 — Maintaining a Quiet Spirit — Proverbs 26:4
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. (Prov 26:4)
When conflict arises, we oftentimes want to rush in and defend our position. Perhaps we even feel justified in blaming others. However, James 1:19 gives different advice for dealing with tension and disputes: “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” In other words, more can be accomplished through a calm approach to the situation. Scripture also suggests that we:
• Pray. First, we should ask the Lord to guard our mouth and give us the right words to say (Luke 12:12). Also, we ought to request discernment concerning the root issue and insight as to whether we might be at fault.
• See with divine perspective. Our sovereign Lord works every situation for the believer’s benefit (Romans 8:28). Not only does God use difficulties to teach us, but He also allows us to demonstrate the life of Christ by the way we respond.
• Forgive. Even if someone has hurt us by causing the conflict, we should forgive. Jesus died to pardon all of our sin, and we, in turn, should forgive others. In fact, if we don’t, our lives will become burdened by resentment and broken relationships.
• Respond. If we have done something wrong, we should apologize and ask forgiveness. Otherwise, we can express appreciation that the other person took time to share his concern. Also, we should affirm that we will carefully consider his comments.
How do you respond to conflict? Pray for the strength to stay calm and do what is right, even during difficult, emotional situations.