This past few weeks I have learned or heard about some minor conflicts between neighbors in the community where I live. It has become way too easy to voice grievances using Social Media Networks. Others have been more formal in writing their complaints. While not a desired result, personal feelings have been hurt.
While this has only happened with a small number of people in the community where I live, I have decided to take a few minutes to write on the topic of “Addressing Conflict”. Some basic, common sense guidelines:
1. Direct Communication! Two-way dialogue with those whom we disagree is the first and most desired first step in resolving conflicts. This is preferably done face-to-face.
2. Be sensitive to the reality that there will differing opinions when it comes to issues and conflicts. The more diverse the community, more likely opinions will exist.
3. As neighbors, we need to listen and hear what others are saying—especially those with whom we may disagree. Use of hateful or demeaning rhetoric will never be helpful in resolving conflicts.
4. As leaders in the community, we need to be open to the possibility of adapting or changing ones viewpoint or opinion. We must also be open to apologizing when it is discovered we have been wrong.
5. We need to be open to the idea of ‘agreeing to disagree’ in avoiding the escalation of a conflict.
There is a wonderful document published by the Presbyterian Church Mission Agency titled, “Seeking to be Faithful Together”. Persons who wish to explore the subject of managing disagreements may wish to look at this link. This PDF document is free.
When it comes to living in harmony in a community—whether it be a neighborhood or church or some other type of business or organization, a typical goal is the uplifting of people and their relationships with others. To this end, I hope this blog will help in underscoring the need to resolve conflicts in applying the “Golden Rule”: “Do unto others as you would have them to unto you!” Luke 6: 31 NIV (New International Version) “Face-to-face” conversation is the best tool we have in resolving conflict.