Have you ever found yourself in a difficult conversation?
Did you know that conversation was coming, or at least that it was possible? Did you have a plan or a script in mind so that it would go as well as possible?
Recently, I have found myself in several difficult conversations. Some I thought may come. Others I knew were coming. Others I was completely blindsided by.
The ones that gave me the most trouble this time around were the ones I actually knew were coming. You might be surprised by that, but the problem was that I thought they may happen. I had my script. I had my plan. And I botched it…
Instead of calmly stating my position or offering a rather neutral comment I resorted to yelling, raising my voice, making snide remarks, and having a not so neutral tone.
I assume many of you have been there before too.
So what are we to do when we know difficult conversations are coming? Simple mental preparation is not enough.
I think we first have to figure out what our motive is. I mean, why are we so tense in the first place?
I am reminded of the words of James chapter 3:16-17:
“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
I know there are times when jealousy and selfish ambition drive me to do and say things I know I shouldn’t.
I know there are times when I am just ready to fight. Even when I don’t think I am. Even when I tell myself I won’t argue and fight.
So again, what are we to do?
I think there are three things we need to do prior to having difficult conversations (and afterward if we botch it).
- We need to repent of our sin.
Being angry is not the sin. Prepping for a difficult conversation is not the sin. Being jealous and selfish is the sin.
Many difficult conversations stem from these attributes. Repent before God and ask for His forgiveness. Purify yourself before Him. Go into the conversation pure and clear-headed.
- We need to be seeking reconciliation from the beginning.
This is the hardest part, but it is an amazing testimony and witness when done. It shows that we desire peace not conflict. Be gentle with your words. Be open to reason.
You never know when the other party may speak wisdom and truth into our lives. Sometimes we are right. Sometimes we are wrong. Demonstrate humility and unity.
- We need to be impartial and sincere.
We need to treat everyone (including rivals and enemies) equally, fairly, and justly. This does not mean you never engage in a dispute. Or that you will always agree with everyone else. It means you handle every conflict fairly with balance and patience.
These three things are NOT easy, but that is why Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit. I encourage you all to not be like me simply having a mental plan. Rather take that plan, commit it to God, ask for supernatural wisdom and power so that you be a witness for Christ in all situations.
Even in conflict and difficult conversations.
Anyway, I was just thinking…
**I am also excited to announce that next week, November 18, 2020, a great friend and a true man of God, Gabe Jones will be writing a guest post for “I Was Just Thinking…” You do not want to miss his post! He has written for us before – you can read it here.**