“Space for Grace — When Disagreements Are Unsolicited Learning Opportunities”

Most of us prefer the harmony of peace and calm. I haven’t met too many folks who would willingly invite daily drama into their space. Chaos is far too distracting and costs us precious time in trying to silence the noise and wrangle the wild.

So, when I find myself in the midst of conflict, whether between myself and another person, or even as eyewitness to the same between friends, I am making a conscious effort to pause and step back (mentally and emotionally) so that I can truly see what is actually happening in front of me.

Personally, I do not like conflict. As an invited participant or an observer. The negative vibe is just terribly unsettling and generally comes at a price. Sometimes it may cost a relationship. Often, it requires someone having to compromise. Seldom does it end in a single bout of the meeting of the minds; there’s that lingering ‘to be continued’ in the silence as two people part their ways.

But what if … we learned how to flip the switch on our perspective as we enter into a disagreement … and allowed for grace to fill the space?

15 Also, let Christ’s peace control you. God has called you into this peace by bringing you into one body. Be thankful. Colossians 3:15 GWT

Allowing for the Grace of GOD to rule over a heated situation actually takes the burden off of us in trying to create that peace we are longing to have. Because quite honestly, Sister, we can’t.

Backing up doesn’t imply backing down from and abandoning your opinion and your belief. Actually it paves the way for meaningful dialogue and an environment for reasonable discussion between two differing sides. It nurtures respect and honor for the other person.

And isn’t that what we would hope the other person is willing to offer us?

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 NIV

I’ve been in the front row of sparring verbal events between friends and it’s not my favorite sporting competition. While I know that deep down inside there were more hugs than bugs between them, in the heat of a disagreement it’s hard to pull up those memories.

Helping others see the need to share their opinions with respect and grace feels like wearing the zebra shirt and blowing the whistle. And since we tend to approach challenges from the learning perspective we were raised with, it can become a very heated arena in a few short minutes.

It is in these emotional jousting bouts that I know GOD shines the light for me to see how I personally have responded when drawn into the ring of conflict. And as if to say, “wait …. it’s not about you …” He silently whispers “peace out” and I find myself surrendering my will to Him.

42 “Father, if you are willing, take away this cup of suffering. But do what you want, not what I want.” Luke 22:42 NCV

Surrendering my will to GOD Almighty says that I’m not in control and I’ll make a mess if I continue on this path of thinking that I am.

We were made to use our voices. We were gifted with our brains. We were called to live peacefully.

God has called us to live in peace. 1 Corinthians 7:15c NIV

And yes, I’ll acknowledge that our ego wedges between me and you in our point of contention. We each believe that we are right — in our own sight. And we creatively fight to maintain our stance. With every blow of fisted words, we dig our heels deeper into the soil, fully determined to have the last swing and the final say.

What if this is our moment … to learn how to pivot … and let compassion and understanding take center stage?

Most importantly, love each other deeply, because love will cause people to forgive each other for many sins. 1 Peter 4:8 NCV

Is there any room for allowing the Holy Spirit to step in and turn a sour situation into a sweet savory memory between two or more of GOD’s Image Bearers?

I choose to think that we were made for more than living up to our own standards and that we would much rather raise the bar so that we can strive for excellence in all things, especially relationships. GOD’s commands. His purpose. His will. His way. It all leads to His peace.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 NIV

At the end of the round, the ringing bell signals that either we move on in our way in love and agree to disagree, or we grab our opinions and go stomping out of the room. Count the cost of the latter decision.

At the end of the day, we all would like to exhale knowing that we’ve left a legacy of more peace and Christ-like love. And if that means we have to just release our grip on being heard and right, then maybe we’ve got some work to do to get it right.

26 When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day. Ephesians 4:26 NCV

Perhaps you’re living in the gap between two sides and being squished by the demands of each. Or maybe you’re engaged in a battle of your own, a face off you didn’t seek but now find yourself with the opportunity to do some good and leave behind a more beautiful legacy than you expected.

Is it possible that GOD is trying to teach us a life lesson that will be for our good and ultimately be more far reaching than anything we could have imagined? Could this moment in time be the critical one that grows us that much closer to Him and reflecting more of His Character?

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

The old saying goes, “When opportunity knocks, open the door.” If you knew that this were the knocking opportunity that unlocked the door to a future of extraordinary things because you yielded to the Holy Spirit, rather than insisted on having your way, I would venture to say you’d swing wide open that door. I would too, Sister.

Let’s move in a bit closer here. What would it cost you to not demand someone accept your way and opinion over their own?

I have a phrase that gets me through difficult moments when I sense a potential conflict arising. It goes something like this, “Help me to understand …” And this just simply de-escalates any rising heat, allows for the other person to restate or give more explanation and for me to listen more carefully, showing my desire to connect.

The point here is to understand before being understood.

Perhaps respecting their position on a matter — not necessarily agreeing — would show respect for another Image Bearer. And maybe the world around us would see the uniqueness of the Body of Christ and the genuine love between its members.

“Father GOD, I thank You for the many friends with whom You have surrounded me and placed in my corner of the world. Life would not be the same without them. I pray that You will lead me and guide me through the challenges of the day (week, month, year) in relating Your love to each one of them, that they may see more of You and less of me. Lace my words with grace, Lord, and give me the strength to give space as I yield to the Holy Spirit in unexpected moments of difficulty. Help me to see You in them. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.”

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary

2 Comments

  1. Beautifully written & timely. I don’t like conflict, either … it’s uncomfortable. I don’t like raised voices … makes me even more uncomfortable & makes me want to run & hide – this goes way back to my childhood! BUT – oftentimes, the conflict that arises, in my opinion, has nothing to do with what “you” may have said or done rather than a deep-seated pain that is within the person expressing the “anger” or angry outburst. I truly believe that this pain/hurt has gone unnoticed/ignored for a very long time & all we can do is listen & pray for the one in our midst who is hurting for GOD to bring healing to that long hidden hurt.
    Many blessings to you, Sis, as you continue to listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading as you write/lead/teach us in your midst. We are truly blessed!! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kathygcurry: I am so grateful that you are here and that this devotional struck a chord with you. So many of us respond to the triggers of sharp words and harsh tones — and those who live by them don’t often realize the consequences of their actions. Praying for those on both sides of the conflict.

      Like

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