The PAUSE Principle: Wisdom for Conflict Resolution

One of the best resources I've seen for helping believers with conflict resolution is Ken Sande's book The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict. One practical tool that I've returned to again and again is the "PAUSE principle." If you're dealing with conflict in a relationship, try to working through these steps. 

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PAUSE Principle 

Even when you manage to resolve personal offenses through confession and forgiveness, you may still need to deal with substantive issues, which may involve money, property, or the exercise of certain rights. These issues should not be swept under the carpet or automatically passed to a higher authority. Instead, they should be negotiated in a biblically faithful manner.

As a general rule, you should try to negotiate substantive issues in a cooperative manner rather than a competitive manner. In other words, instead of aggressively pursuing your own interests and letting others look out for themselves, you should deliberately look for solutions that are beneficial to everyone involved.

As the Apostle Paul put it, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Phil. 2:3-4; see Matt. 22:39; 1 Cor. 13:5; Matt. 7:12).

A biblical approach to negotiation may be summarized in five basic steps, which we refer to as the PAUSE Principle:
  • Prepare (pray, get the facts, seek godly counsel, develop options)
  • Affirm relationships (show genuine concern and respect for others)
  • Understand interests (identify others' concerns, desires, needs, limitations, or fears)
  • Search for creative solutions (prayerful brainstorming)
  • Evaluate options objectively and reasonably (evaluate, don't argue)

If you have never used this approach to negotiation before, it will take time and practice (and sometimes advice from others) to become proficient at it. But it is well worth the effort, because learning the PAUSE principle will help you not only to resolve your present dispute but also to negotiate more effectively in all areas of your life.

From Peacemaker Ministries

1 comment:

mwh said...

This is really good stuff. When we went through the Peacemaker DVD series at Fulkerson, that was some of the best stuff. I really benefited from that. I've recommended Sande's book to many people. I've been amazed at how much of a role conflict management/resolution has played in my so called "professional" workplace. I've seen the wisdom of some of these principles, and need to relearn many of them myself.