The staff of Orchard: Africa has been studying a devotional book together. The chapter I read today challenged us to memorize 1 Corinthians 13 and then to ponder, chew on, remember and apply the scripture. In my “chewing” I found four actions that I am convinced will resolve any conflict.
1 Corinthians 13 is a hard portion of scripture because it lists all the attributes of love and, of course, none of us fill all the requirements; some days are always better than others. However, I am convinced that if we apply the last four on the list we will vastly increase our ability to resolve conflict.
- Always protects. In most conflict situations the tendency for each of us is to protect ourselves and our viewpoint. The kind of love God requires from us however is to protect the other person. Don’t say things that will hurt them or make them look bad. Love protects the other person.
- Always trusts. Let’s not jump to conclusions or assume the other person is wrong. Our first stance should be trust. Enter the conflict situation giving and showing trust. Most people are willing to speak openly and listen attentively if there is an atmosphere of trust.
- Always hopes. Sometimes, for legitimate reasons, trust has broken down. Nothing is ever hopeless. God is always at work in our life as well as in the life of the other person. People shut down when they hear words like “Oh, this is hopeless.” … or worse … “You are hopeless.” Rather, we should use words like “I believe we can sort this out.”
- Always perseveres. Even in the face of a difficult conflict we should not give up but continue to love. I am convinced we will find a way. This very passage of scripture tells us why. Love never fails.
“Love … always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13: 7-8