Forgiving by Resolving Conflict

At first, conflict and forgiveness seem at different ends of the spectrum. “How can I forgive if there is conflict?” you might ask. Conflict is the struggle between people who have opposing views, opposite goals, conflicting values, and inappropriate communication. Conflict does not necessarily mean that hatred and condemnation are involved, although both can be. But rather, most conflict and estrangements occur over misunderstandings and different points of view.

The most serious interpersonal conflicts occur between people who truly care about each other. If you have a misunderstanding with a person whom you do not know or whom you care very little about, then the conflict will not be as painful because there is less to lose. It is only when you have conflict with those you love and admire that pain and betrayal come into play. Forgiveness is most important only with those you love and care about. If a complete stranger hurts you, forgiveness is not as important.

What is the best way to resolve a conflict? The stages in conflict resolution involve developing multiple solutions, evaluating each solution carefully, choosing the best solution, trying the solution, and then evaluating the solution to see if it worked.

Following, you will find several ways to resolve conflict and begin the healing and forgiving process:

  • Let the other person tell her or his side of the story.

  • Listen more carefully than you have ever listened before.

  • Don't try to be right; try to be fair.

  • Tell the other person what you need.

  • Ask them what they need.

  • Try to meet in the middle.

  • Get away from assumptions and talk about facts.

  • Look at multiple solutions instead of one solution.

  • All relationships, whether with family, friends, or spouses/partners, will have conflict. Communications experts suggest that conflict can actually help a relationship because it can clear the air and relieve stress. The most important factor is not whether you fight, but how you fight.

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