By Wanambwa M. Rogers
Have you ever had of the saying “Time heals all things”? Well, I’m sorry to say but this saying cannot be further from the truth. If it did, we as Africans wouldn’t be celebrating our “Independence” every other year, the Jews would have forgetten about the holocaust by now, we would not be studying about past wars, marriages wouldn’t be breaking up, people wouldn’t be haunted by their past and so. I could go on and on but I need to explain what I’m driving to here.
In order to heal, there must have been deliberate measures or steps taken to get there. Conflict is never resolved accidentally. And so, it is really not time that heals, but the measures under taken to heal that do.
However, as simple as that sounds many people don’t take these steps. They never face their conflicts head on, yet it is the only way to resolve them. They would rather procrastinating instead than do it; mainly because of fear. Even in the Bible you can see this.
Consider: Genesis:3:10(KJV) “And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Fear basically makes you distant, demanding and insecure and defensive. The scripture is talking about Adam after he had sinned. The conflict between him and God that he had created made him this way.
This brings me to the 7 steps of resolving conflict and peace keeping
Make the first move
Quote: Matthew 5:23-24(KJV) “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”
In order for you to start on the journey, you’ll need to make to make the first move. If both you and your wife are mad at each other, one of you has to let go of the ego and approach the other party. Otherwise, your marriage will not survive. If not, time won’t heal anything, it’ll only fester more resentment and hatred amongst you until it is too late to save the marriage.
Ask God for wisdom
Quote: James 1:5(KJV) “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
As it is, you’ll not do much if you don’t have the wisdom to do it. Hence, prayer will come in handy before you embark on this process. A simple prayer will give you the strength emotionally to go on and face your conflict in ways you’ll be surprised at. For those that don’t believe in a higher power, this point may not work for you but you can still follow the rest.
Begin with what’s your fault
You’ll find that the major causes of conflict are two:
Most people believe that if it is well with them, if they’re satisfied, other people’s needs don’t matter. How wrong they are. Consider for example what James says in James 4:1(KJV) “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” If you look at it, most crimes are committed out of self centered, be it wars between peoples, or even theft. Be it corruption or battering of a wife by her husband.
When it comes to marriage for example, there’s nothing like incompatibility because in actual sense, we’re all really incompatible. The greater your differences in marriage, the greater your potential for growth. It is always more rewarding to resolve a conflict than to dissolve a relationship. Isn’t it better to celebrate 50years of marriage than to remember your divorce date?
Proverbs:13:10(KJV) “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”
This verse resonates well with the saying “pride cometh before a fall.” Because we’ve ‘blind spots,’ we can’t see such weaknesses as brought about by our pride and hence you need other people in your life to point them out.
Listen for the other party’s hurt and perspective
That’s because every time there is a conflict, somebody got slighted, hurt or aren’t being listened to. You also need to understand that ‘hurt people, hurt people’ and that the people that need love the least, are actually the ones that need it the most.
Start with their needs, their hurts and their interests.
Listen to the emotions behind their words. Consider James 1:9, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry” and also Philippians:2:4(KJV) ” Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
Quote: “Seek to understand before seeking to be understood”-Chinese proverb.
Another thing, you should stop looking at how far people have to go and start looking at how far they’ve come. This will help you appreciate their efforts.
Speak the truth tactfully
I’ve had to learn this the hard way; that saying the truth may not always yield desired results. You sometimes have to be tactful when delivering the truth. Also, you’re never persuasive when you’re abrasive. Consider a parents yelling at their child, the child will only remember the emotions behind the words and not necessarily the words.
Fix the problem, not the blame.
You have to realize that you’re both on the same team. This applies to everyone, after all we’re all of the same species. It is amazing how much our species kills each other! For example, when Parliament of Uganda blames the Executive(or as the MPs say, “the government”) and vice versa; and the Executive blames the Judiciary, this is all blame~being lame because all these are on the same team.
Quote: Colossians:3:8(KJV) “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”
Focus on reconciliation, not resolution
You need to understand the difference between these two. Reconciliation means re-establishing the relationship while Resolution means we resolve heavy differences. If you consider your disagreements as heavy, most likely, you’ll not reconcile. Always seek re-establishing the relationship as priority. Because you can disagree without being disagreeable.