Since last Summer, we’ve brought several prayer requests to you regarding conflicts here in the United States and around the world. There have been fears of civil war, coup d’etats, and tribal conflicts. Just last week we shared a prayer request regarding the need for peace and protection amid violent clashes in Senegal, West Africa.
This week we praise God for news that a calm has returned to Senegal, but is calm the same as peace?
Conflict is rarely neat, simple, or even clear. Sadly, the causes of conflict are many, but all conflicts demand a response.
Every leader faces conflict. Beyond the interpersonal challenges, conflict can be especially acute in organizations that are experiencing substantial change. If not addressed, conflict can lead to untenable situations. But if handled well, conflict can lead to happier and even more productive people.
People tend to respond to conflict in one of two ways:
- We fight. Fighting can materialize into a physical attack, abusive language, gossip, even slander. When attacking, a party may leverage their position, their status, and even their access to resources and relationships to get their way. These responses tend to be used when people are more interested at winning a conflict than in preserving a relationship.
- We run away. Sometimes it feels easier to avoid conflict or deny conflict even exists because of the damage it can inflict on relationships.
The danger in running away is that it can look healthy on the surface.
Running away is like taking a balloon and shoving it under the surface of some muddy water until you can no longer see it. Eventually that balloon is going to burst above the surface and when it comes up, it may even come up at a different location – but it will often come up with more force than was used to push it down. Running away only postpones a resolution.
Although peace may permit the absence of fighting, quiet does not necessarily mean the absence of conflict. The problem is that when we mistake quiet for peace, relationships are left unchanged .
Our world needs leaders willing to cut through the silence and promote reconciliation. It is only through the crucial role of peacemakers that we can we bring about healthier relationships.
Five Christ-Centered Leadership Qualities to foster Peace.
- Leaders willing to confess their own actions, words, opinions, and attitudes which may have added to the conflict.
- Leaders who don’t attack, and who don’t avoid. Rather than taking sides, they use discernment to promote peaceful solutions.
- Leaders who represent Christ as agents of reconciliation and work to foster an environment where people are safe to tell the truth.
- Leaders willing to treat others with respect, forgiveness, and acceptance. Leading out of humility, honesty, and love.
- Leaders who practice and teach the value of healthy relationships.
We believe Christ-centered leaders can foster this kind of peace.
Please continue to pray for the conflicts around our world and that God would continue to use Freedom to Lead International® to develop this kind of leader.