The 12th step in this process of resolving conflict is very simple. It’s Be Gentle. Yes! Be gentle.
We’ve talked about speaking the truth in kindness, but I want you to also think about being gentle. And when I say gentle, I want you to think of a nursing mother, who tenderly cares for her child. Get that image in your mind. Think of that as gentleness.
I also want you to think of a wild stallion, whose will has been broken but whose spirit is very much alive! That’s really the concept of gentleness. In the Greek language gentleness is translated as meekness. But meekness isn’t weakness. Gentleness isn’t weakness. Gentleness means strength under control. The only way a wild stallion is effective — as a workhorse or a riding horse — is when its will is broken. NOT its SPIRIT. It’s WILL.
You want to have an alive, dynamic, strong spirit. You want to be a leader. You want to be courageous. You want to be brave. You want to be powerful. You ought to be all that. That’s having an alive spirit. But you want your will to be submitted — in this case, to these principles for resolving conflict. You can’t just lean into your muscle memory of “This is the way I’ve done it before. This is the way it was done in my family. This is the way we normally do it at work.” No! Let the way you deal with conflict be principle-centered.
These 12 principles will give you guidelines that are tried and true. They’re used all around the world. I have taught this all around the world. This is consistent with the best literature on resolving conflict, including many faith-based pieces of literature starting with the Bible. These are basic, consistent principles, absolute core skills you must master to resolve conflict the right way, to deal with difficult people appropriately.
So think of yourself as this wild stallion whose spirit is very much alive but whose will is submitted to the absolutes of these principles. Then respond in light of these principles instead of reacting emotionally, or simply out of bad habits you’ve learned over time. You’ll start to see relationships come together in greater intimacy and openness and honesty and greater power over all.
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