I believe that Paul teaches us in Romans 1 that we live in a truth suppressing world that is expertly designed to make sin seem good and righteousness strange. Satan is a real adversary who wants to destroy us. And as if that weren’t enough we have deceitful hearts that are happy to comply with both the world and Satan at the least opportunity. Therefore, I have every reason to doubt my own perspective on any issue and to run to the scriptures to discover what is true.
This is especially the case in any kind of conflict. We need to take active steps so that we can see the situation from God’s (and the other person’s) perspective rather than choosing to remain blind. I really appreciated this post from Josh Mack about keeping your eyes open when you’re in the midst of a conflict. He gives 10 suggestions:
1. Make sure you listen to people who are different than you. Encourage others to share with you how they would do things differently.
2. If someone is reacting to you in a way that seems out of character, at least ask whether you might be part of the problem.
3. When someone tells you they think you are wrong, take some time to evaluate whether they may be right even if you don’t think they are as smart as you.
4. Watch out for anger. Anger is a particularly blinding emotion.
5. Pray and pray again that God would make you aware of the sins and mistakes you do not see.
6. When someone agrees with you, consider whether it is because you are right or they are your fan or perhaps their temperament is very similar to yours instead of the fact that you are actually right.
7. Have friends.
8. Try to get outside yourself and look at the way you are acting. Stretch yourself to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Ask the question and seriously consider, how could I be seeing this wrong? What other possible explanations could there be for what is happening other than the one I am telling myself?
9. Keep reminding yourself that there is something much more important than other people thinking you are right.
10. Understand that if you can not come up with at least one way you were in the wrong, it might be possible that you are more wrong than you realize.