If you came over from Encouragement for Today, I’m so glad you are here.
In today’s devo, Vulnerable Strength, I shared one of my not-so-fine moments with a friend. Sometimes, when conflict takes place we might want to take a stand.
We want to be strong.
But like me, your strength might actually be aggression.
Aggression is a far cry from the wisdom found in these words:
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
Perhaps the first step we can take to love each other, especially in conflict, is to understand the difference between aggression and vulnerable strength.
Aggression is an intent to prove you are right… at all costs, while vulnerable strength is seeing the bigger picture.
- What is the other person feeling?
- What caused this?
- What will be most important once the dust settles?
Aggression is setting boundaries to punish, while vulnerable strength is setting boundaries, if needed, that are intended to work toward the best relationship possible.
- What boundaries need to be set?
- Are they mutual (for example, if you require honesty or respect, you give it)?
Aggression is lashing out in emotion, while vulnerable strength is pausing to let your brain catch up with your emotions before responding.
- Do you need to take a breath?
- Do you both need to walk away, and come back to this later?
- Are you weighing the words before they come out of your mouth?
Aggression is making them pay with silence or veiled statements, while pretending everything is okay, while vulnerable strength is working toward honest resolution, as much as it is possible.
- Are you pretending to take the higher road, but your motivation is to punish?
- Is your silence healthy (it can be) or is it a wall?
Aggression is putting a person in their place, while vulnerable strength is seeing the person standing in front of you and weighing that in the equation.
- Do you want to make them feel as bad as you?
- Have you reached beyond the emotion to see the person standing in front of you?
Have you ever confused aggression with strength?
Has it led you down a road you never intended to go?
How might vulnerable strength make a difference next time?
It might not fix the person (not our job) or even make a conflict end in happily ever after (wouldn’t that be nice?), but it will help you in those harder parts of a relationship. It also is a growth opportunity. Maybe the person isn’t ready to change, or sees it a different way, but you are opening the door for God to speak into your own heart, regardless of whether anyone else is ready to change or not.
If you struggle with forgiving, The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness is a powerful, gentle tool to help you peel away layers to find healing. It’s filled with practical and spiritual help to discover how to live free from resentment, unresolved anger, and the burden of unforgiveness.
Another resource is The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places, available for preorder now.
Vulnerable Strength Printable - Click her for the printable of the jpg above. Keep it in your Bible or on your bathroom mirror as a reminder of how to discern whether it is aggression or vulnerable strength.