Three Ways To Respond To Conflict

So how do we do this? The area of conflict is broad and there is much to say, but my starting point is with making sure, at the place of conflict, we stay ‘well defined’. What this means is that you ‘stand where you stand’, and that you understand why you stand there, this is courage and self-awareness – it is a bit like Luther’s self-definition ‘here I stand, I can do no other’.

Conflict = Difference + Tension

And you will need courage to stand firm – even if you know why you stand where you stand, it is very difficult when the conflict is high, not to either acquiesce or run for the hills. One of the things to ask yourself is which of these things would be your default response to conflict? Are you more likely to comply or disconnect? Knowing this, is to begin the journey of doing conflict well. If you know your default response, you can be attuned to when you are tempted to do those things, and choose something else.

In being ‘well defined’ you are able to remain in emotional connection with those with whom you are in conflict, but you are able to say ‘this is who I am’

Conflict…a vehicle through which a closer, more authentic, bond is developed.

With courage and integrity, even if that is difficult for them to hear. In doing this you will not only remain faithful to the person God has made you to be, but you will help the other person to learn about their own identity, that they too are loved by God without question.

In the face of your vulnerability and courage, they too will find themselves free to say ‘this is who I am’, and perhaps begin to understand that this diversity of humanity is to be valued and celebrated.

Reverend Jody Stowell is priest in charge of St Michael and All Angels in Harrow. She specialises in reconciliation and understanding conflict.

Diverse Church