Squeeze an orange and you get juice. Squeeze a horn and you get noise. Squeeze a finger and you get an “ouch!” That’s what happened to me the other day when one of my daughters grabbed hold of my ring finger, right where it had been badly bruised beneath the nail. “What’s that black mark?” she asked, pressing down.
“Ouch, ouch, ouch! That really hurt!” I squealed.
The look on my face sent her spiraling into fits of laughter. Then she apologized.
“Sorry, Mom. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I wasn’t thinking.”
Sometimes trouble is like that. It squeezes us way too hard. That’s when we find out what we’re made of, what’s really inside. Ken Sande, president of Peacemaker Ministries, helps all kinds of people resolve conflicts so they can avoid going to court. Over the years he has come to believe that conflict inevitably shows what we really think about God:
“By your actions, you will show either that you have a big God or that you have a big self and big problems. To put it another way, if you do not focus on God, you will inevitably focus on yourself and your will, or on other people and the threat of their wills.”1
Ken advises people to focus not on the conflict but on how God wants them to act in the midst of it. To my mind, that means we don’t play games, we don’t call names, we don’t vilify. We don’t try to win by whatever means necessary. We do trust God, imitate him, and treat others with respect.
Ken’s advice is sound. When the dust settles, and it’s time to move on, we will leave the situation with a sense of peace, not because things turned out the way we think they should have, but because we acted the way we know we should.
- Ken Sande, The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflicts (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004), 34.