Understanding why something takes place is only part of the solution. Knowing how to deal with, resolve or avoid a conflict is the key to a successful resolution. Solomon has some very specific actions that need to be taken in order to deal with adversities, conflicts or arguments.
Listed below are eight insights that Solomon provides for dealing with or engaging in conflicts in order to bring about the best possible resolution for everyone concerned.
Insight #1 - Our true purpose for engaging in conflict is a positive purpose - to ensure that the best possible resolution is found that will benefit everyone concerned. If the purpose were to simply hurt the other individual, the best thing is to stop the conflict immediately, just walk away.
Insight #2 - “Every purposed is established by counsel" Proverbs 20:18. Solomon wants us to know that it is very difficult to establish our purpose for a conflict or confrontation without first seeking wise counsel. If we are truly concerned with finding an equitable resolution to a conflict or confrontation, get a second and third opinion before proceeding. Often you'll find that there is no equitable resolution. Just walk away.
Insight #3 - In Proverbs 18:19 Solomon tells us that an offended brother is harder to win over than a strong city. It is natural for our self-defense shield to surround us when we are hurt or offended. It is also a natural inclination to forever avoid the offending party. We must first of all take the time to weigh the consequences of our action. This is why we are constantly reminded to seek wise counsel in everything that we do. Others, wiser and more objective, may be able to point out the consequences that we do not at first realize until it is too late.
It is always best to plan what you have to say and consider the consequences. Weigh your perceived consequences and the opinions of your wise counsel to determine whether the confrontation is worth the time and trouble. Will there be a good resolution for everyone concerned? Often I have seen feuding family members avoid each other for years. Sometimes, after several years, they do not remember what started the whole situation. Before engaging, seek wise counsel.
Insight #4 - Often, out of the blue we can be bushwhacked attacked verbally because of something perceived by another as unfair or unfounded. Usually these attacked are immature and foolish. Solomon tells us in Proverbs 26:4 (NKJV) “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. " When we react, without consideration of the consequences, to the angry words of an opponent, we lower ourselves to his childish level. Solomon continues by giving us something to think about in Proverbs 26:5 (NKJV) “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. " When we take a moment to consider what the attacker said and we answer his accusation and not him personally, we take away the possibility of him assuming that what he said was wise.
Proverbs 18:12 (NKJV) “Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility. " When we take the opportunity to consider the consequences of our answer to a verbal attack, we can often take a position of humility, which is a more honorable position to assume.
Insight #5 - It takes a strong character to quiet his emotional reaction to the verbal assault of another. It requires self-control and patience. Our first impulse is to retaliate or counterattack using whatever we have to offend our offender. Some may even resort to revealing something secret that might be hurtful to the other. This will serve only one purpose. It will destroy the hope of a good resolution or your good reputation. Solomon tells us in Proverbs 25:9-10 (NLT) " When arguing with your neighbor, don't betray another person's secret. Others may accuse you of gossip, and you will never regain your good reputation. " If you are privy to confidential information, keep that confidence, even if you feel that it might strengthen your argument.
We should seriously consider what Solomon tells us in Proverbs 15:26 (NKJV) “The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil. " As successful people, diligent students of God's Wisdom, we need to take time to study all aspects of the situation before we answer. If we give in to our worldly nature, we will do nothing but harm to ourselves and to others.
Insight #6 - Do not feed the fury. Arguments, conflicts and adversities escalate when each party involved adds fuel to the fire. We learn in Proverbs 26:20 (NKJV) “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. " Often an argument or conflict can be resolved, without bloodshed, by simply answering softly, without anger or malice. Remember Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV) “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. "
Insight #7 - There is an absolutely excellent way to sooth an angry person. Often an apology is the greatest gift that anyone can expect. If you know you are wrong, be the better person, save the friendship or partnership or marriage by simply apologizing. If you know that you are right, apologize anyway. The opponent will know that you are simply offering a way out. This is a great way to defuse a situation and offers you the opportunity, at a later time and after diligent study of the situation, to approach the issue in a calmer atmosphere. Solomon tells us in Proverbs 21:14 (NKJV) “A gift in secret pacifies anger, and a bribe behind the back, strong wrath. "
Insight #8 - Forgive -
We are well aware of the most magnificent gift that has ever been given. That gift is the sacrifice that Christ made for us in order to forgive us for our sin debt. He went where he did not deserve to go and did what he did not have to do, and all for our sakes. If we could simply take His example in our own affairs, we could accelerate our journey to success.
It does not matter what we have done in our lives, how horrible our offenses against God and humanity; Christ is willing to forgive us, totally. Can we say that the offenses that we have suffered at the hands of others are worse that those suffered by Christ? Do our feelings matter more than Christ's? Can we pick and choose who we will forgive and who we will judge? Are we to put ourselves above Christ?
Solomon tells us in Proverbs 10:12 (NKJV) “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins. " If we would simply let that love in our hearts, which is Christ, rule our hearts, minds and souls, we would never open ourselves to argument. We would be able to forgive every offense. Understand that, no matter what has been done to you, when you forgive that person, you are not condoning their action; you are releasing yourself from the bondage of their actions.
Rev. Bobby Keating is an Evangelist, teacher, author ('Created in His Image’ and ‘Alive in Christ'), addiction counselor and director of the Christian Success Institute (http://christian-success-institute.org ). He has a strong conviction that through the diligent study of The Holy Bible and and intense study of Solomon's Proverbs that everyone can learn that God wants His children to be successful and shows then how to be successful in His Holy Word. Rev. Bobby has written thousands of articles and Bible studies and has written an intense study of Solomon's Proverbs which can be found at the Christian Success Institute