Technology can be a wonderfully helpful tool when used wisely. It helps us to stay connected to one another in seemingly limitless ways. It helps us to communicate with one another without being physically present. This can be a beautiful means of connection or a terrible hindrance to true relationship, particularly when addressing issues or resolving conflict.
There are times when we can have a conversation with someone in-person and a misunderstanding may occur. However, when communicating through text, email or social media it is much more difficult to perceive the other person’s intent than when you are able to hear voice inflection, see their facial expression and read their body language.
I believe that in these current times, many of us are using technology as a crutch to avoid having difficult conversations with one another. The Bible calls us to speak the truth in love and to handle our issues with others by going and speaking with them face to face. Although, we have many more options to communicate than in biblical times that does not excuse us from handling our conflicts and concerns the way that God commands us. The biblical way of resolving conflict does not include gossiping, passive aggressive social media posts, subtle shaming or the silent treatment.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:9-10
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:17-18
Jesus has given us the perfect example of communicating with others and maintaining healthy authentic relationships. He was kind, humble, loving, gentle, and compassionate, yet direct and truthful. He did not hold back from saying what needed to be said for the good of others. Too many of us fear the response of the other person, and avoid having difficult conversations that are necessary for growth and healing. Our tendency to avoid addressing issues only further damages relationships. Wounds tend to deepen as time passes. Bitterness and resentment begin to take root. Let us follow Jesus’ example and in humility speak the truth in love.
Prayer is essential. We should ask the Lord to search our hearts to reveal any pride or impure motives before speaking with the other person.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
We must pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom, strength and peace to initiate redemptive conversation. The Holy Spirit will give us the ability to be love in action, to extend grace, to forgive or ask for forgiveness if necessary. He will guide us to be quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19) and keep us from allowing our emotions to direct our speech. Always pray before seeking to resolve a conflict. We cannot do any of this in our own strength. Conflict resolution requires divine direction, Holy Spirit power!
The outcome of these conversations will not always work out the way that we planned or hoped. We do not have control over how the other person may respond. However, in modeling Christ we can choose to do our part in seeking to resolve the issue lovingly and peacefully. It is important to listen well and keep your mind open to the perspective of the other person. We should always keep a posture of humility, empathy and compassion. We must lay aside our own interests and selfish motives to seek peace.
Jesus gave us very clear instructions on how to live according to the Kingdom of God in the Sermon on the Mount. It goes against everything that the world promotes. The goal for us is always to model Christ.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
As we strive to maintain peace in our relationships, let us remember the two greatest commandments we have been given, to love God with all our hearts, minds, soul and strength and to love others as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31).
Loving God is so much easier than loving others, especially those who treat us poorly, have wronged us or simply think and act differently than we do. God is love and He loved us first. He shows us what true love is: patient, kind, not self-seeking or easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs and rejoices in the truth (1 Corinthians 13). All that we do should always come from a place of love. God lavishes His love on us and we pour it out onto others. When we commit to being peacemakers, no matter the circumstances, God gets the glory!
Heavenly Father, thank you for lavishing your love on us and showing us what true love is so that we can love others well even in conflict. Thank you for giving us your Holy Spirit to guide us and give us wisdom in our interactions with others. Lord, help us to swallow our pride and always seek peace with a posture of humility and compassion. Give us hearts open and tender to speak the truth in love and the mind of Christ to live in unity and peace. Lord, help us to be quick to resolve conflict in the way your word directs us. Father, help us to be slow to speak and quick to listen. May we forgive others as you forgive us. May we not permit the ways of the world to influence the way that we communicate with our brothers and sisters. Help us to always choose to follow Christ’s example and model His love even when we disagree with one another. Thank you for giving us your word to encourage, correct and equip us to live a godly life. We give you all the honor, praise and the glory! In Jesus’ Mighty, Matchless Name, Amen and Amen!