In baseball, the squeeze play is a maneuver consisting of a sacrifice bunt with a runner on third base. The batter bunts the ball, expecting to be thrown out at first base, but providing the runner on third base an opportunity to score. The larger picture is that the team wants to score a run. If the batter is concerned only for himself then this will fail. If the batter is more concerned about the larger perspective then the chance of success rises dramatically. When there is a problem between you and another person we have the choice of looking at ourselves and continue the anger/hatred/feud or looking at the larger picture of God’s view and try to solve the problem. Proper management of conflict is not the current political perspective of damage control. The biblical perspective is to win back a relationship not ruin it through damage control and reputation repair. Jesus taught that a correct relationship with others comes before correct ritual and religion. He also spoke on the process of managing conflict .
How does that work in our culture? When the rumors fly on Facebook and the hatred spews in 140 characters, how can we handle the issues that arise between us? When others politic behind the scenes how can we maintain the mind of Christ?
- Ask God if it is real or personal – sometimes we get our feelings hurt over insignificant matters of pride and ego. Check your feelings in with God to see if this is an issue worth pursuing or just your bad mood taking over.
- Ask God to fill you with His love and desire to redeem. Our love is limited while God’s is not. Our desire is selfish but God is selfless. Asking for help from God is a no-brainer.
- Ask the person to clarify the actual issue privately. Before you go to Facebook and Twitter with this issue, go to the person one-on-one. Keeping it private reduces the players involved in this drama.
- Love that person – we must see them as a creation of God. Though twisted up by sin, as we are too, God loves them. We must enter this discussion with God’s love coming through us.
- Listen to that person – while there are many ways to listen (ignore, selective, anticipatory), the best way is to engage your heart and mind in what they are saying. Do not think ahead or get defensive. Listen to them.
- Learn from that person – it is possible you will learn something here. You might learn about their triggers. You might unearth one of your faults. Be open to learning from this conversation.
- Be forgiving and/or forgivable. Depending on the situation, you might need to act in such a way t hat someone would forgive you for your wrong. Jesus wants us to take initiative both ways – hurt or hurtful.
- Be merciful. Treat them as you would want to be treated.
- Be creative. Searching for a solution that allows both parties to walk away with a win is important. The runner gets the score, but the batter gets a statistic also as of 1954.
God wants right relationships. He wants one with you. He wants you to be right with others. You’re up to bat. Will you go for the glory or for the good of the team?