On Conflict Resolution

Thought I'd just shout this one into the ether:  When one feels wronged by a person, the correct procedure is to go to that person one-on-one and discuss it.
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.  (Matthew 18:15)
Okay, that's what to do, but why does God want us to do it that way?  Because it's human nature to gossip, and conflict destroys community.

When you involve others, you spread the original wrong to others, "infecting" them.  Sometimes, this is entirely appropriate; when a crime's been committed, for example, the public needs to know to guard themselves from that individual.  For normal "he hurt my feelings" crap, you're making yourself feel better by spreading the poison to others who'll feel obligated as your friends to "own" your problem.  (An incorrect obligation, but one that seems widespread.)  That ownership changes their behavior towards others, leading to escalation and factions and divisions.  What was between two people is now among a larger group.

I've recently had two incidents that violated the above principle.  In both cases, I was in the wrong and admitted as much when confronted--by someone else.  To emphasize:  In American culture, it's rude in the extreme for peers to go to a 3rd party before attempting resolution.  This isn't universal; in the Filipino culture, for instance, that's wholly appropriate because a confrontation causes both parties to lose face.

I'm saddened by the above, but it happens.  I can obsess about it, or I can choose to forgive and move on.  That's what I'm doing, while limiting my exposure to those individuals going forward.




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