Everything I needed to learn about working with people I learned as a parent.

While parenting, I learned that kids will quickly perceive which parent is emotionally stronger and then manipulate this discrepancy to their advantage — especially if both parents aren’t united. As a pastor, I learned that adults will attempt the same thing with pastors and church leaders, capitalizing upon their strengths and weaknesses to pit one person against another.

The parenting process has taught me that the way each parent fulfills their role in decision-making, training, and the enforcement of discipline will accentuate their individual differences. Similarly, I have learned from my ministry experience how the manner by which people relate to each other accentuates their differences.

As a husband and parent, I have learned that the differences between me and my wife will sometimes cause disagreements. The same is true of differences between pastors, teachers, co-workers, or close friends.

As long as we deal with people, there will be differences and the potential for conflict. How do we deal with them? I believe the answer lies in a principle I learned from my role as a parent: when there are disagreements, we need to take care how we disagree. My wife and I may have different perspectives on a situation which comes up, but we share the same goal — to train our daughters to love and serve the Lord. This helps us resolve our differences. We can apply this attitude toward the conflicts which arise as we interact with others. Our goal must be kept in view — to glorify the Lord through a love for one another.

When the need to be right wins, we will succumb to our own pride. The key to being of one mind lies in the practice of compassion and sympathy toward others’ differences, seeing them in light of the big picture. Believe me, it works — I learned it as a parent.

Never wrestle with a pig. You both get all dirty, and the pig likes it. — Unknown Author

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.