Pastoral Care Guidance for Deacons, Stephen Ministers, and the Congregation of River Road Church, Baptist
Principles for Handling Differences When Providing Care
- Differences in the ways we think, feel, react, and respond can be enriching and provide perspective; they need not be divisive.
- When expressing a difference, it is possible and desirable to focus on the issue, not the person with whom we differ.
- If we can offer an opinion or a point of view without feeling that any questioning of it is a personal challenge or rejection, we can hear different issues better.
- It is possible to differ with what someone says, while still respecting the person who said it (as made in the image of God).
- Some points of view are not “right” or “wrong”; they simply are different ways to look at an issue.
- How we resolved differences at home growing up has a lot to do with how we handle differences today: avoidance, appeasement, attack, capitulation, etc.
- Sometimes the issue identified as the “problem” is not the main issue—but the “presenting problem.”
- How we present or express a point of view will have a lot to do with how well it is received—understood.
- Choosing not to resolve or dialogue on our differences does not eliminate the discomfort or energy of handling the conflict: it mainly determines how we shall process the pain, energy, and distress in the relationship.
- Different people process differences and conflict in different ways: some want immediate resolution, some need to “take it away” and think about it—them bring it back, etc.
- Conflict occurs because people care about an issue—they are passionate—and involved.
- Conflict can be a way of creating distance, closeness, and clarity!
- Conflict resolution is often a long-term process, not immediate.
- Some differences we perceive are created because of assumptions we may make, issues we have not resolved, and transitions we may going through.