A Little Way To Avoid Conflict | Wisdom Wednesday
There's a lot of advice out there for avoiding and ending conflict in the workplace, in the family and in other personal relationships. That's great, and can be very helpful, but a lot of that advice tends to come from conventional, worldly wisdom. What if the way we handled conflict was not based in self-interest, but was based on radical commitment to the Gospel? What if we didn't put ourselves first in our personal relationships?
The Little Way
In her autobiography, Story of a Soul, Thérèse of Lisieux reveals her vocation to love. Radically living love, in Thérèse's mind, meant total death to self. She made a point to be kind to those Sisters in the convent who she found most difficult, she willingly accepted the blame for things she didn't do, and she patiently bore the small cruelties of fellow Sisters. All of that probably sounds foolish to us. Going out of our way to be kind to those who are most prone to conflict with us, not to head them off, but purely for sacrifice it requires on our part, seems crazy! But that's just what young Thérèse did. She committed herself to small acts of love which ultimately softened her view of her "enemies".
Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.
Perhaps, by committing ourselves to small acts of love, we can soften our own hearts while simultaneously softening the hearts of our enemies. Instead of seeking to win battles, practicing total surrender in conflict situations and going out of our way to see the beauty in the other person will probably disarm them even faster. It may even lead to a positive relationship in the future.