From Theresa Latini
The key to transforming conflict in the church today is developing skilled leaders who are not afraid to engage conflict. As mentioned two weeks ago, we need a new framework for understanding and approaching conflict: conflict contains gifts and possibilities; conflict resides within us (it is an internal reality); and (3) compromise is often a superficial and short-term remedy for conflict. Grounded in this understanding and trusting the Spirit of God, leaders and members alike can learn how to speak (and listen to) the truth in love.
Three skill sets (or, practices) in compassionate communication contribute to transforming conflict: honesty, empathy, and self-empathy. When we lean into conflict with these three practices, we create the conditions whereby the Spirit may unite us in peace. In this blog, I’ll unpack the skill set of honesty—which though simple is far from simplistic.
To begin, we have to admit the obvious: not all honesty is helpful, caring, or compassionate. Some forms of honesty trigger defensiveness or escalation of conflict. The honesty that I’m talking about is founded upon the knowledge and acceptance of our fellowship with one another. Christians belong to one another. Our lives are woven together in Christ. To speak harsh judgments against each other is an attack on Christ’s body.