To navigate conflict well we need the right kind of mindset. How we outwardly treat one another matters but genuine conflict resolution needs to come from within. So much of how we deal with differences, disappointments, and confrontations relates to how we think about God, ourselves, and others.
To Have the Right Mindset in Conflict, We Need the Attitude of Christ
What better attitude could we have in times of conflict than that of Christ Jesus?
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Phil. 2:5-8)
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (Rom. 15:5-7)
Both of these passages use the Greek word ‘phroneo’ translated either mindset or attitude, from the root word ‘phren’ which means the mind. How did Christ’s thinking affect His relationship with God and others?
How the Attitude of Christ Helps Us in Conflict
If we look at the descriptions of Christ’s mindset in the above mentioned verses, we can then make inferences about how that quality would affect the way we approach conflict.
A sense of entitlement, not getting what we want or feel we deserve, often leads to conflict. Christ willingly laid aside some of His rights for the sake of pursuing a relationship with us. He “did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage” (Phil. 2:6).
- If we approach conflict with a humble attitude, as a servant, we too will be willing to forego the need to be right or to have everything go our own way. Sometimes resolution of conflict may require sacrifice.
Thinking that other people need to change and conform to what we think or want, often leads to conflict. Christ on the other hand accepted us as we were. — “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) He didn’t expect us to first conform to Him before extending His love and acceptance toward us. He took the first steps toward us, not waiting for us to come to Him.
- If we approach differences of opinion with the heart of Christ, we’ll give people space to work through their issues. We won’t withhold our love or minimize their value because they think differently or perhaps have even wronged us. We’ll initiate steps toward reconciliation, doing what we can to be at peace with them (Rom. 12:18).