In his sermon and book ‘The Freedom of Self-Forgetfullness’ Timothy Keller talks about getting to the place where the ego is not in play. He makes the point that you only notice other parts of your body when there is something wrong with them, and the ego is alway begging for attention. Whether we have high self esteem or low self esteem, our egos work themselves into a frenzy. Always prompting, always asking ‘What do they think of me?’ ‘How did I do?’ ‘Do I look right?’
In terms of conflict it is so easy to analyse the things we have said and done leader up to and during. I find this especially hard after the act of speaking directly to someone – did I say the right thing? Was I too aggressive? Did I not say enough? What will they think of me now?
1 Corinthians 4:3-4 ‘I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.’
Paul knew that his identity was found in God, not in what Paul did for the good or the bad. It’s why he could claim at clear conscience and to be the chief of sinners. My last conflict tip is to let God be your only judge, don’t pander to the crowd and don’t pander to your ego.