I get a lot of questions from people about conflict with other people. They desire to resolve it and have peace in the family, at work, in the church, or with a neighbor. I regularly see people creating tension in their relationships because they don’t know how to manage differences of opinion. They tend to make their opinion and the rightness of it more important in the scheme of things than it deserves. There are a few opinions that are worth making a fuss over but not very many. A fool makes a fuss over differences that are not worth making a fuss over. When a difference causes a distancing to take place in a relationship it ought to be worth the cost of that relationship. A fool can’t seem to accurately determine if being right is more important than the unity and closness of their relationship with the person they are having the conflict with. This has become much more prevalent in our present culture, and many people are ending relationships over really stupid things. As I listen and counsel people I often think, they must not value their relationship with this other person much because they are willing to end it over a difference of opinion that really isn’t that big of a deal. It often appears to me that it isn’t the importance of a particular view, but the pride of being right that drives much of this conflict.
Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man,
But any fool will quarrel.
A fool does not delight in understanding,
But only in revealing his own mind.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
Relationships with other people are such valuable things, and it us so sad to see people almost flippantly ending relationships with people they have known for year’s over opinions on masks, political views, methods of doing things, and theological views that aren’t critical to eternal life. Relationships with people take years to develop and they shouldn’t be damaged over trivia, but so many do.