Solving Conflict Before It Starts

Written by Jim Staley
Solving Conflict Before It Starts

One of the guys here wanted me to keep him accountable to stop smoking. He told a group of us that if we see him smoking to come up and say something. So, yesterday, I saw him smoking and decided to approach him and only say “what's up?” My hope was that he would get the message. Instead, he got offended and told me out loud to not boss him around. I just walked away, but was really bothered at how he handled the situation.

After praying about it, I talked to another brother about it and, in the process, the Lord reminded me of one of my teachings on the subject. The words "validate, validate, validate" rang in my head. Where my first inclination was to correct him and tell him how much his actions offended me, particularly since he wanted me to keep him accountable, the Father said 'validate.' So that is exactly what I did. I put my emotions aside, crawled up on the cross and let my flesh die. I went back to him as if I was the one in the wrong. You see, that is what he felt and feelings are real to the one feeling them. I told him that I was sorry for offending him and that I will try not to do that again. He immediately apologized for snapping and everything was restored.

How often do we choose to take the path of receiving rather than the path of bestowing? How often do we focus on our emotions and seek to defend ourselves rather than putting the other person first. Many people want to say that they keep Torah but they quickly forget what the entire Torah is founded upon—love. To truly keep the Torah we must annul our flesh and "love our neighbor as ourselves." Until we get that right, keeping all the commandments in the world means nothing in His Book. We have to kill the will to receive and only live in the will to bestow. We must take the path of giving even when we want to receive gratification from telling someone off or from hurting them in some way. Receiving is the way of darkness.

So the next time you’re in an argument, annul yourself and care about the other person. THAT is keeping Torah. THAT is WWYD.