“Tis the Season…” for Reconciliation

Derrick Rosenior, a VU Communication prof, gives practical suggestions for bringing “peace and goodwill” to your world.

Derrick Rosenior, Vanguard University This Christmas season, I’m drawn toward the climax of the angel’s song the night the shepherds were told of the Messiah’s birth.  “… Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men.’” (Luke 2: 13-14, NKJV).

We who were once alienated from God and separated from Him in every way, are now by the “Prince of Peace” reconciled back to God.  Not just to God, but also to one another!

This season can be a difficult time, especially if there has been conflict and discord in a close relationship.  Is there someone in your life with whom you need to reconcile? This is the season for reconciliation!

Here are some basic communication tips for constructive conflict resolution, Apply these, and/or use this list for a teaching time.

Productive Communication

  • Identify your problem and unmet need
  • Engage in active listening
  • Make good use of empathy
  • Make a date: Choose the right time and place (e.g. a private context) to discuss the problem
  • Communicate with respect
  • Describe the problem clearly
  • Use “I” statements. For instance, “I feel ______ when you_______.”
  • Stay in the present
  • Consider the other person’s point of view
  • Focus on relevant issues only

Unproductive Communication

  • Ignoring the problem or not addressing the issue directly
  • Using pseudo-listening or defensive listening
  • Focusing on self
  • Choosing an inappropriate time and place (not over the turkey dinner!)
  • Being disrespectful
  • Being ambiguous
  • Starting statements with “You are_____” or “You always______.”
  • Bringing up the past
  • “Kitchensinking it” – i.e. throwing everything into the argument including the kitchen sink!

During this holiday season, “do your best to live at peace with everyone!” (Romans 12: 18, CEV)

Derrick R. Rosenior, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Communication, and the Director of The Lewis Wilson Institute for Pentecostal Studies at Vanguard. drosenior@vanguard.edu

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