Conflict Resolution Series: The Power of Forgiveness During Conflict
Isn’t it funny how the concept of forgiveness seems to work in so many areas of life? Being able to forgive a misstep or a very calculated assault on your life can have huge benefits. You may be able to forgive the barista who got your coffee order wrong or the dude who just swiped your parking space, but can you forgive all forms of conflict?
So much of conflict is wrapped up in hurt pride. Being defensive or feeling righteous in our position can make being snarky seem almost necessary. When someone is coming at you with both barrels blazing, it’s hard to forgive them for wanting to shoot you, right?
There are times when forgiveness is going to look different. There is always a way to forgive someone we are in conflict with.
Forgiving people who are sorry
It may seem easy to forgive someone who is sorry and for the most part, it is; however, some people are sorry but don’t really change. Here is a pro-tip for forgiving those who are sorry:
Tip: Make sure you know what they are sorry about. Ask questions and have a conversation that verifies that you both know what they are apologizing about and set up expectations about moving forward. The more specific the apology and the reconciliation, the better and closer the relationship will be.
Forgiving people who aren’t sorry
Some people are unwilling, and some are unable, to be sorry. Perhaps their pride is in the way, or they leave or die before there is restoration. You can forgive people who aren’t sorry. Release them into their own stupidity or have compassion for them not having the capacity to reach for forgiveness. Being able to look beyond their lack of character and honoring your right to forgive them is healing. Here’s your pro-tip:
Tip: Try to imagine what it must be like to be this person. Where did they come from that they would be so broken and unable to seek forgiveness for what they did? If you can see into their mindset, you might find compassion and see that hurting people hurt others. You don’t have to adopt their mindset. Forgive them and set yourself free.
Forgiveness is powerful during a conflict. The sooner you can come to a place of forgiveness, you can break the chains that conflict uses to bind. Whether deserved or not, forgiveness begins a new process towards healing and leaves bitterness behind.
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