Wisdom in Relationships

This week on The Allender Center Podcast, Dan Allender concludes our series about wisdom by discussing what it looks like to relate to others and engage conflict with the wisdom of God. This does not mean avoiding conflict, but rather entering conflict and difficult binds in a way that leads to deeper goodness for ourselves and others.

“Wisdom is how we apply skill to life. But the ultimate wisdom, of course, is how we bring the life of God into our own, and therefore offer it as a gift to others.”

To grow in wisdom, says Dan, we have to be willing to engage conflict with courage, humility, and honesty. This means holding the tension between intimacy and individuation, between the tendency to either concede and comply or to get defensive and aggressive. This process also calls us to recognize how early traumas have shaped the ways we engage others. How have our earliest wounds taught us to run from conflict or to enter conflict in destructive ways?

“Wisdom takes you not away from conflict, but into the middle of it in a way that bears both honor and care and yet clarity and power.”

Pursuing wisdom in relationships also forces us to confront the ever-present discrepancy between how things should be and how things are. Wisdom sees the good potential of everything God has created, as well as the ways in which that goodness is currently lacking. Then wisdom invites us to go enter our relationships in a way that is always working to lessen that discrepancy, to bring the goodness of God more and more into present reality.

We are called to grow in skill at entering the kinds of conflicts that in the past have only led to more heartache, that actually have the potential to lead to redemptive goodness—if we will become more wise.