“Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye.” Matthew 7:3 CSB
When it comes to conflict, we all have a role. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines conflict as “a striking or dashing against each other, as of two moving bodies in opposition; violent collision of substances; as a conflict of elements, or waves; a conflict of particles in ebulltion (boiling).” When two individuals with opposing ideas bump against each other, conflict arises. Often, when we’re in the midst of conflict, we’re so focused on the other persons “faults,” we don’t realize, we have faults of our own. We spend more time blaming the other person than defining our part in the conflict. But if we want to diffuse conflict in our lives, we have to look at what our part in the conflict is, AND we have to take responsibility for our actions.
An article from the Denver Institute for Faith and Works, describes our role in conflict. “We are all sinners, whose hearts have tendencies toward self-serving motivations and selfish pride.” in a nutshell, none of us are perfect, we are all sinners, our default mode is selfishness. We have to be self aware enough to understand why we respond the way we do? Why does the other person’s actions offend me? What is the deeper issue? What sin in our lives are we leaving unattended? Before we start pointing out someone else’s sin, we need to start with our own sin. We need to take the plank out of our own eye before we deal with the splinter in someone else’s.
One of the hardest parts about conflicts we engage in is not letting our emotions drive us. Our feelings lie. We can create entire narratives in our head that aren’t true. For instance, when you get cut off in traffic, have you ever assumed the person did it intentionally? I have. I’ve taken it personally when someone has cut me off in traffic. The other day, the same truck cut me off twice weaving back and forth in traffic. I was fuming. But then I saw the look on the woman’s face which obviously communicated she had no idea where she was going. Or when you come home from work and your spouse does something that drives you through the roof. Automatically you assume they’re trying to pick a fight, but in reality, they don’t even know they have irritated you. However we create stories in our minds that say the opposite. Instead of focusing on the truth of the situation, we focus on the lies. Often times, we’re the problem, but we don’t want to take the time to examine ourselves, or admit our part in the conflict. If we’re going to rest from conflict, we need to learn to examine ourselves first before we point fingers at the other person. Remember, when we point our finger at someone else’s faults, there are three fingers pointing back as us. Examine your own heart first.
Today I’m going to find rest from blaming others. How can you find rest today? Comment below.