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Fr. Bob at pulpit during Easter Vigil

How to Resolve a Conflict

It goes without saying that we should get the conversation started with a short prayer. It will probably work best if we try to deal with one item at a time. It will facilitate things if only one tries to talk at a time and if neither interrupts the other when he's speaking. Our vocabulary should be free of confrontational or judgemental terms, such as 'silly' or 'unreasonable'.

We have to be careful how we say things. Rather than begin by saying: "You said...", it would be better to phrase it something like: "I thought I heard you say..." At the same time, it is important for us to be quite honest. If I have been hurt by something said or done, I have to say so. I might try it, however, in a non-threatening way, like: "You probably meant nothing by it, but I was really hurt when you..." 

“We have to remember that our meeting is a dialogue. There is no point in my trying to gain the upper hand. It isn't a contest. There isn't to be a winner and a loser. As a matter of fact, we are both meant to be winners. I am not to be interested in proving myself right. That is of no importance at all. I have to keep in mind that the purpose of dialogue is to understand the brother's point of view, to gain an appreciation of where he's coming from. It is not important to find out who is to blame. We are not meeting to lay guilt trips on each other.”

Accusations are out of place. Words like: "You're not perfect either, you know," or "Don't you talk," or "Yes, but you said..." have no place in a reconciliation session. If they occur, we'll only need more reconciling later. 

We must also avoid making judgements. An observation is one thing. No harm in that. But judgement is another thing. Lots of harm in that If I say: "You have been going fourteen to sixteen hours a day for the past week," I'm not (provided it's true) out of line. But, if I add: "What are you trying to do - save the world?" then I am way out of line. Jesus speaks a word about that. "Judge not, lest you yourself be judged," he says. (Luke 6:37)

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