by Barry Newton
Sometimes between planning who will prepare the turkey gravy and singing “Auld Lang Syne,” being a peacemaker can seem like an insurmountable mountain. To scale the cliffs of conflict during this holiday season, here are a few tools which may prove beneficial.
? “What I Hear You Saying Is _____”
Have you ever been on the outside of an argument that snowballed? What typically happens? After she makes her case, then he makes his case. It is obvious to her that he did not get it. With growing emotional frustration, she states her case even more forcefully. Amazed at her deliberate stubbornness, he reiterates his position with escalating agitation.
People can resist working together or genuinely considering another’s viewpoint until they first feel as though they have been understood and validated. For this reason, acknowledging the other person’s idea can greatly assist in working out a problem.
If we can reiterate in our own words another’s perspective without denouncing it with negative words or setting it up to be attacked, typically we will gain a lot of distance on the cliff of conflict.
? “You’ve Got a Point”
This short phrase can be even more powerful than the previous suggestion. There is a book entitled, We Have Met the Enemy And They Are Partly Right. Many times a person does have a valid point, even if we do not agree with the whole package being presented. If we can validate their perspective, this can often provide great strides toward peaceful resolution.
? Identify the Issue and Each Person’s Values
Knowing what the issue really is and why people are taking opposing positions can sometimes suggest creative solutions. If he is concerned about the money and her concern revolves around spending time with her family, then various solutions might be possible, such as: save up during the year or travel during a less expensive time of the year.
As Jesus sat down on a mountain he taught the people, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.”
by Barry Newton