Monday, July 16, 2012

Conflict, Acceptance and Commitment

We can choose to be confounded by conflict—and angered by others’ flippancy and our lack of control—or we can come to a position of acceptance; what follows is commitment. For the faith to meet conflict with patience, we earn confidence to overcome. Such confidence always leads to refreshed commitment to endure.
Processes and Impacts of Conflict
Conflict is always our biggest challenge in a life inherently relational.
People rarely thrive on conflict unless it can be seen that they are somewhat duped. We tend to always regret conflict, because when we hurt people we inevitably hurt ourselves. Not everyone thinks this way, but the majority do.
So it can be seen that conflict is generally regrettable.
We typically feel weak for having been drawn into it. But by our sense of justice, and in our need for fairness, we are momentarily convinced that conflict is worth it.
Some conflicts do work out to be worth it, but many are not. And add to this the issue that many insignificant conflicts are about deeper issues that are much more important. Why not discuss the real issue directly?
Conflict can be a snare, sometimes it is warranted, but it always involves feelings.
It is a great blessing, therefore, when we can add the mood of acceptance to our attitude to the conflict. In this way we remain as balanced as we can be given the circumstances. One balanced person benefits many two-person conflicts.
Balancing the Conflict by Acceptance
If we can achieve an attitudinal balance in the moment of conflict, the conflict probably won’t flare up because of us. Indeed, it probably won’t flare up out of control at all. It generally needs just one calm head to quell a potentially serious conflict between two.
If we can see evidence that our calmness of acceptance is making a difference in the moment of conflict we have a freshened confidence. Perhaps the other party is seeing us care enough and also reciprocates in the moment. We are not a walk-over; we simply advocate a bigger picture perspective.
Acceptance Leads to Relational Commitment
Acceptance is a behavioural marker for maturity. Especially in the case of enraging conflict, calm acceptance goes beyond the irrational expectation of the angered one.
As a result of the responsible aversion to escalate matters, an attitude of care is communicated between the parties. This can be a very powerful force for good. When both parties realise the presence of a momentary amnesty, where aggression makes way for a calm sense of reasonability, opportunities abound for a new resolution.
During the ceasefire the commitment for a better future is much more likely made.
A calm acceptance of the status quo in the moment of conflict can be the catalyst for a fresh commitment toward a new start.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.


  1. I have always seen conflict in a rather perverse light - not wishing to stimulate it, but approaching it with the opportunity to work with it so that people can truthfully take in what's going on around and within them.
    Sometimes I have a sense that Jesus appreciated conflict - He certainly worked on issues with the religious leaders of the day, whereas today most of us simply maintain silence. Is that the same as a calm acceptance of the status quo?

  2. I think it is. The more I learn of conflict, the more I see it as truth that must be addressed. Trouble is we too often get carried away with being hurt by conflict. A calm acceptance facilitates the discussions that need to take place.


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