Abraham Lincoln was right. He said, “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.” I have even proven this statement true in my ministry. On one occasion, a family
which had left our church on bad terms went through a great trial. As soon as I found out, I called the family and asked if there was anything I could do to help. The family gave me
some specific things to pray about, and I prayed with them. That was the last time I could consider them my enemies. Showing a little love went a long way toward restoring our
relationship.

We all face conflict from time to time. It happens at home, church, and work. According to Mary Yerkes, there are seven steps we should take to heal the hurt of conflict:

  1. Define the problem and stick to the issue. When you talk with the other person about the situation, be clear and to the point. Don’t over-generalize so that the main issue is lost. At the same time, don’t blame the person for the way you feel. Clearly explain how the person’s actions made you feel.
  2. Pursue purity of heart. Think about how you might be responsible for a conflict or misunderstanding before you confront the other person. Make sure your own heart is right.
  3. Plan a time for the discussion. If a relationship is valuable enough to maintain, then it is worth your time to clear up any misunderstandings which come up. Make this a priority.
  4. Affirm the relationship. Tell the other person that the relationship you share with them is important to you.
  5. Listen carefully. Hear the other person out and make a conscious effort to understand how they feel.
  6. Forgive. Period. Don’t bring the matter up again. Don’t give it a second thought. And definitely don’t tell anyone else about it.
  7. Propose a solution. Think about ways you can prevent the conflict from occurring again, and find a solution which will work toward everyone’s best interests.

As you make an effort to apply these steps to your relationships, you will rid yourself of much of the relational anxiety caused by misunderstanding and conflict. You will also build stronger relationships with your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. Before long, you won’t have many enemies left.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder