“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)
One of the best strategies for de-escalating conflict is also one of the scariest things you can do: Asking God to give you a clear picture of yourself.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV).
When you’re in conflict, you bring all kinds of emotions and misconceptions to the table. Your responsibility is to ask God to point out your own shortcomings—not the shortcomings of your spouse, your kid, your colleague, your friend, or your neighbor. You ask God to make clear to you anything in you that is wrong and then lead you on the path that is always right.
When you genuinely pray those verses from Psalm 139, God will show you the right way. He’s not going to play games with you, and he always forgives—even when he points out that part of the problem in the conflict is you.
As God reveals to you the sin in your life, you must take responsibility for it. And that may mean you need to bring it up in conversation with the other person. It always means you get right with God. Your job is to admit any part of the conflict that was caused by your bias, insensitivity, immaturity, or negligence—or any other reason.
Jesus made this point by using hyperbole in the Sermon on the Mount. He says in Matthew 7:3-5, “And why worry about a speck in the eye of a brother when you have a board in your own? Should you say, ‘Friend, let me help you get that speck out of your eye,’ when you can’t even see because of the board in your own? Hypocrite! First get rid of the board. Then you can see to help your brother” (TLB).
Pointing the finger will never resolve conflict. You must first look at yourself and ask God for wisdom to recognize your sin and take responsibility for it. It will never be easy, but it will always be the right choice.
Talk It Over
In what personal conflict do you need God to give you a clear picture of your responsibility? Why haven’t you asked God for that yet?
Psalm 139:24 refers to “the way everlasting”—what do you think that is?
Why is it so important to pray Psalm 139:23-24, especially before you have any difficult conversations?
The Elevation Church (TEC) has been set up by God to develop its members as witnesses of Christ while empowering them to achieve the highest levels of distinction in life, led by Pastor Godman Akinlabi, the church is based in Nigeria with multiple expressions in Lagos.