Relationships are difficult. We constantly deal with another(s) (many times our spouse or kids) who has a different personality than ourselves. Some of us are attackers while other of us are retreaters. Some of us are drivers and other of us are hyper-sensitive feeling uncomfortable moving into someone else’s space. Some of us are very analytical, methodical taking time to make decision and live out life at a slow pace. This is very frustrating to others who process quickly and do not need much information to make decisions or deal with life…“Hey, let’s make a decision and go forward.” In fact, the latter group of folks feel very comfortable making decisions for others. Some of us are “cleanies” and other of us are “messies.” In our relationships, the differences between us lead many times to frustration, anger and discouragement. Let’s quickly look at the four ways people deal with conflict:
Fight – These folks are attackers. They are straight ahead people, who process easy and many times organized yet impatient with others who “don’t get it.” Engaging Fighters is considered “unsafe” to the Flighters and Freezers. Ephesians 4:29 is a great verse for these folks, “29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Flight – As soon as there is conflict, they are out of there! Fighter’s have major conflict with them and vice versa. Revelation 21:8 is ultra-convicting for these folks, “8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Jesus does not like us to be Flighters. In this verse, He lumps cowards in with unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, practice of magic arts, idolaters and liars! Yikes! He does not want us to go along to get along…Not peace keepers but peace makers…willing to engage in a safe, courageous way.
Freeze – These folks simply freeze up in conflict allowing the Fighters to berate them without a response. This group is very difficult for aggressive types to deal with. “Say something! Do something! Engage me!” If you are in this group, 2 Timothy is a great verse for you. “7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” Don’t freeze others out. Engage them.
Facilitate – These folks desire a safe, productive conversation for all. They know how to ask questions to Fighters to slow them down and to Freezers and Flighters to encourage them to engage. They don’t seek uniformity or sameness but unity and oneness. They live out Philippians 2:3, “3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”
As spoken above, God wants us to be Peace-Makers. God desires us to become courageous, valuing other in humility before ourselves. Let’s become Facilitators when we find ourselves in conflict!