Some people deal with conflict by becoming angry, or “volcanic,” which ignores the consequences. While it may temporarily feel good to give in to the expression of anger, it is a conflict resolution catastrophe. And yes, this also is not a biblical response to handling conflict.
“’Be angry, and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:26-32).
Scripture tells us emphatically that the volcanic approach – losing one’s self-control and unleashing your best shot onto another person – leads to some pretty painful consequences; you may win the fight, but lose the friend. And perhaps even more damaging than the potential for broken relationships and a stained Christian witness, is the fact that the volcanic method gives the devil a foothold in your life. It enables the enemy to steal your inheritance in Christ, including health, wealth, joy, peace and family harmony.
The Missile Approach
A close cousin of the volcanic approach is the missile approach, which ignores the power of hurtful words. Words spoken hastily in a moment of conflict can become weapons of mass destruction in our lives: accusations, deceptions, slanders, manipulations, betrayals, even gossip.
“The tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself” (James 3:5-6).
None of these approaches to handling conflict are God-honoring. Instead, the Word of God teaches that we should seek peace!
“Fools start fights everywhere; wise men try to keep peace” (Proverbs 29:8, LB).
“Try to live in peace with everyone; work hard at it” (Psalm 34:14, LB).
Seeking peace is not about avoiding the problem which causes the conflict, or simply appeasing others for the sake of keeping the peace. Appeasement merely breeds resentment, which eventually festers into even greater conflict – and may give you an ulcer to boot.
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