In Conflict? Get Off the Correction Spiral

To kill pride and weaken your defensive posture when disagreeing or fighting with a loved one, get off the correction spiral. In other words, don’t correct them right away. That often leads to them correcting you back right away. And you go back and forth spiraling upwards in heat with less and less light.

The person may not be 100% accurate. Or even 50%. They may have chosen the wrong time to make their point. They may be missing what you perceive to be the primary or major point in the situation. That’s ok. You can come back to it later if it’s a loved one because your relationship with them will go longer than this particular moment. If there’s anything that you can get from their comments or correction right now, then take it with gladness. Grow.

This is what James by the Holy Spirit commands: “My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger” (James 1.19). Slow to speak and quick to hear go hand in hand. So get off the correction spiral. Don’t speak to defend or nuance or correct. Just listen. Not only to the person, but to God in that moment. The reason: “for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you” (James 1.20-21). Listen without speaking to obey God in righteousness. This is a form of killing sin and humbly receiving God’s implanted word. James is probably speaking about God’s Word that we are to be quick to hear and slow to speak back to (James 1.18). But this also helps in conflict with others. The Lord humbles and teaches me when I choose to not speak back quickly but hear the person and hear from the Lord as to what I should do with what that person said.

The good news is that God is gracious and accepts you in Christ Jesus. You are justified as you are united to the Lord Jesus by faith alone. Therefore, you don’t have to prove yourself in that moment. You can rest in Christ. Draw near to him. And receive the correction in conflict to grow. There is a time to correct. But that comes later. And slower. Right now it’s time to listen, and to listen quickly.

This is where we meet Jesus in conflict: Off the correction spiral.

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Have you been able to grow through conflict? Leave a comment. How do you handle conflict in a way that draws you near to Jesus? How does the gospel help you deal with being corrected in a conversation?

PJ Tibayan

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