If we were to put all of the problems that we might encounter in a business, a friendship or a marriage into a pot and boil them down, what do you think might remain? The biggest factor in most failed businesses or friendships or marriages is 'unresolved conflicts.'
Marriages have been ruined and family relationships ripped apart, brother against brother, because of unresolved conflicts. This is one factor that can devastate a business. When there is an unresolved issue between partners or employer and employee, often the entire business suffers.
Knowing this, you might think that people would not leave issues unresolved. Theoretically that is sound but it is extremely difficult when neither party is equipped to handle problem resolution.
In Proverbs 18:19 (NKJV) tells us that "A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle."
Conflicts, disagreements or arguments, contentions, adversities, trials and tribulations are all part of daily life. Jesus told us that men would hate us because of Him. The fact is that the confusion that conflicts and adversities cause is a test of our Christian fortitude. How we handle them is determined by how well we are able to use the principles that we learn from God's Holy Book of Wisdom.
That is a bold statement but it is true. Using the principles given us by Solomon in his Proverbs can determine the success or failure of handling conflicts in business and in our homes. If you use Solomon's principles every conflict can be handled. Without the benefit of the knowledge and wisdom given us in Solomon's principles, we are headed for more difficulty than we want.
Conflicts and adversities can be handle without Solomon's principles but it is a difficult and often frustrating option to take, more than not, ending in failure. Going it on your own without the benefit of Solomon's principles will usually end in a great deal of stress and tension, both at work and at home. Often problems at home will bleed into our professional life and vice versa.
A good question for each of us to ask is 'who wins?' when there is a conflict. Take a look at the conflicts that you have had in your life. Who walked away from that conflict feeling good? I am confident is saying that no one won the battle, but there were probably many victims left injured.
This may sound strange to many but, depending on how we react, conflicts can bring opportunities. The immediate result may not seem as though it is a blessing but often, later, the resolution to that conflict may reveal an even better solution than first imagined.
Never forget that God's Word tells us that God can take a bad situation and can create something wonderful from it. He can take a situation where there seems to be no way out and show us a better way.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (New King James Version)
"12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."
There are two basic types of conflict that we need to look at. We initiate or contribute to one type of conflict and someone or something that is not in our control initiates the second. There is seldom a conflict, either under our control or not, that does not result in wounded egos and often physical wounds.
It is human nature to defend our point of view and ourselves. Often, however, our defense goes out of control and becomes offensive. One person attacks and the other counterattacks trying to inflict as many wounds as possible. This usually spins out of the control of either party. Solomon tells us that at this point the argument becomes foolishness, which benefits no one.
It is important in any argument, whether started by us or not, to realize the point of the argument. Often we can avoid the severe exchange of hurtful accusations and epithets by simply softening our tone. Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV) "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." is the perfect explanation for this. Sometimes a simple soft or gentle answer can abate an argument.
On the other hand, sometimes a heated exchange of points of view can be healthy if it is controlled and not allowed to degenerate into insult slinging. In Proverbs 27:17 (NLT) "As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." Solomon is teaching us this type of exchange. Have you ever seen a chef sharpen his knife with sharpening steel? The friction of the 'steel against steel' or 'iron against iron' cause the honing of the knife to make it sharp. When we control the exchange of conflicting points of view, we can discover a better solution.