When we face conflict as a teacher, we can easily get bogged down and discouraged. That’s when we must speak truth to our own hearts, renewing our minds in the Gospel. Join us as we walk through eight key truths that will reorient our thinking and allow us to serve with joy, even amidst conflict.
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Amanda left the parent meeting feeling disheartened. Maria’s mom wasn’t happy with her homework policies and Amanda knew she had been talking to some of the other parents in the class about it, too. “I just need to get a tougher skin. I can handle this,” Amanda thought.
But the doubts started to creep in. “Maybe I do need to change my policies. I made them this way for a reason, but I don’t want all the parents mad at me. Where do I go from here?”
As teachers, we can face many different types of conflict since the nature of our job is that we work with a lot of other people. When we have so many different outside voices around us, it’s important for us as Christian teachers to be constantly renewing our minds with God’s truth. Romans 12:2a says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
This concept of renewing our minds with Biblical truth doesn’t just apply to conflict; it can apply to any challenge we as teachers are facing. Here is a list of truths from God’s Word to go back to when we are feeling discouraged:
TRUTHS TO REMEMBER IN CONFLICT
1. God loves me, and He is enough.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. – Romans 5:8
“As the chosen of God, holy and dearly loved…” – Colossians 3:12a
The Bible is full of verses about how God loves us. When we are feeling unloved by others, we need to remember that God loves us and that is enough. He sent His son to die for us! We need to focus on God’s love, not the opinions of the few negative people that may be in our lives.
2. My worth is found in what God says about me, not what others say about me.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” -1 John 3:1a
God calls me chosen, His child, dearly loved, holy, righteous, and redeemed. This is who we are in Christ and this is what defines us. We are what God says we are.
3. My job is not the entirety of who I am. Teaching is an important role God has given me, but it does not define me. My identity is found in Christ.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Phil. 3:20
Although teaching can be an all-encompassing job, it is not the entirety of who I am. If our identity is found in our jobs, anything that threatens that affects our core being. But an identity found in Christ cannot be shaken so easily.
4. I cannot control and am not responsible for other people’s actions, but I am responsible for my response. God can and will give me the grace to respond in love and humility.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” – Col 3:12-14 CSB
We cannot control what other people do, so there is no reason to dwell on it. We can focus instead on our own response. Am I having the right response, in love and humility, regardless of how I am being treated? We can pray and ask God to help us respond with grace and forgiveness and He is faithful when we do so.
5. God is in control. He is good, and I can trust Him.
“And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful.” – Col 3:15
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” – Ps. 34:8
Difficult things happen to us and we don’t always understand why they’re happening. We can rest in the assurance that God is in control and we can rest in His goodness. We can choose to trust Him.
6. Trials and sufferings are to be expected and are used by God to make us more like Him.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” – James 1:2-4
Our culture and society promote the idea that we should pursue and expect pleasure and ease. But the Bible paints a different picture of trials and suffering. 1 Peter says if we suffer for doing something good, that’s a blessing. No one wants to invite difficulty into their lives, but when it happens, we shouldn’t be surprised. Remind yourself that God is using your trials for His purposes, which include making us more like Him.
7. People have different opinions, and just because someone disagrees with me or my methods doesn’t necessarily mean I’m wrong. I can listen with grace and reflect with humility without losing confidence in myself.
“Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.” – Eph 4:1-2
When we experience criticism, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are wrong. We must listen with grace and reflect with humility and think about if the criticism is valid. We should be open to feedback without losing confidence in ourselves. There are times when someone is wrong or just has a different opinion and we may or may not choose to make a change. It’s a delicate balance to not shut people down and ignore feedback, but also not to internalize these messages and let them destroy our confidence. Not everyone will agree with us all of the time.
8. I don’t have to depend on my own strength or ability. God will enable me and give me His grace and strength to do this work.
“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
The self-help message of the world is “You are enough. You can do it, just find your inner strength.” The idea of the Bible is even better. “You are not alone. You have a Saviour. He can work through you. You don’t have to be enough because He is enough and you are His.” It’s not about us; it’s about God’s power and His ability to work through us.
We will face conflict in life; it is unavoidable. When we are discouraged and disheartened by what others say to us, we can remember God’s truths and what He says to us. God loves us, He gives us our worth, He is our helper, and He is trustworthy.
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