Have you ever had someone give you a “gag order”? I’m not talking about something ordered in a court of law, just in a social setting. I have. So, I must be vague. Must? Must is overstated. I have a clear grasp of respect and the value of the personal dignity of other people. I also have the reasonability and the authority in Christ to to be free of the bondage of personalities expressing themselves upon me. Without freedom, creativity dies, growth dies, and a teaching moment dies. If it helps to hear it with religiosity, then think of Paul and Silus in prison, though jailed their songs of freedom were heard.
Growth is one of my meditation words for life and I teach on it as often as I can in life. I ask myself (and you), “Can you grow in this situation?” When conflict occurs, can you embrace it? It almost goes against our human nature to embrace conflict, although some do it better than others. Can you see Jesus in it? To what degree you can welcome conflict or an address of grievances is the degree to which you trust, I mean really trust Jesus. As believers we hear people asking God to “please use me”. I wonder about that, because on the flip side is “God fill me”. I am not sure that we really need to ask God to use us, as if we are a tool like a hammer. Because, God is going to use you, because we are leaky vessels. The caveat to being used of God is that hopefully we are being filled, else, there is nothing to leak. I have lived a life of trading my weakness for the strength of my Savior. So, when He gives me the words to give, then I have both the wisdom of experience and the authority to speak, “I have seen your strength. Now, will you show me your weakness?”
With discretion abounding, the gag order is in effect or at least in theory, all because of my observance of constructive criticism on time management. People want to serve together in a productive environment and those in leadership need to have an open door mentality. Especially when one of the items on the agenda is a break for fellowship with God and work is left undone, causing that fellowship to not happen. A semi-open forum of only a handful is completely acceptable. The quickest way to hear someone out is to say, “Sorry, I hear you. Let’s work on the details later.” There is no self-defense in this type of response which keeps the incident short for later conversation. Can you grow?
The beauty of it all – People will make it out the other side of with better checks and balances to get things done timely and a growing respect for one another.
Now I am involved, not just because I have ears and heard, also because I spoke up, in summary, to say, “Listen.” Silence has been asked of me instead of just being trusted to not be a detailed gossip queen. What I offer is both sensitivity and transparency and my spiritually given authority to teach in this moment. Can you grow? Can you learn? Without my silence, I risk a condition described as “drama” for which the warned possibility is described as a “wiping out and starting over” because everyone is replaceable. Apparently, this has been the best way to deal with it in the past. If this is how you deal with things, because I know I have in the past, then learn a new strategy. Forget strategies all together, they are man-made. I suggest trust in both God and God working through others and to not judge your present or future actions base on the scars of the past.
I have lived a few years and dealt with a few conflicts. So, conflicts are not a heavy weight upon my heart. In an environment that is a spiritual family is better seen as sent by God, since nobody needs to be seen as easily replaceable. When seen as sent by God, then conflict resolution becomes a moment when you find yourself teachable.