28 September 2009

Handling Conflict

I was reading the book by Ray Comort (his autobiography) called 'Out of you Comfort Zone' and I believe there is a lot to be learned from this street evangelist from New Zealand who has now made the USA his home. Ray is a street evangelist and pastor who had spent a lot of his time open air preaching i.e. finding crowded street corners, standing on a pedestal or box and speaking out loud his thoughts on evangelism and life after death.

Ray found himself at MacArthur Park in LA which is renowned for its homeless population, drug addicts, gang warfare and high crime rates. Ths park is littered with addicts on cocaine and crack, as well as those selling it. The park has a high murder rate and almost all its inhabitents are either stab wound victims or harbor wounds with infections that they dont have the medical insurace to have treated.

In addition to providing the park dwellers with food, looking after their wounds and avoiding being killed, Ray also goes there with the primary reason of open air preaching. Talking out loud to audiences in this environment could be considered almost suicide as Ray has found out in many occasions. Presenting to this audience with a speech on the after life, man sinning against God and receiving Christ as their savior is far from the interest of the audience whose primary focus is on the food Ray has brought along or selling the clothes he has brought for money to buy cocaine with.

Needless to mention, Ray often states that he is faced with many conflicting situations. In most cases this involves verbal abuse of many kinds and with those insisting on disrupting his speech and attacking his belief system. He even once witnessed a gang war with axe stabbing. He has been spat on and insulted.

In Ray's book his reaction always sees to be the same. Even though in his thoughts he is very angry he does not let his anger be the controlling force in his behavior. When faced with insults and attacks he always flashes a smile. He always uses humor to defuse a situation. He always says that God loves you and I love you too in almost all circumstances. He uses his humor, smile and intelligent reasoning to always be the dominant force.

I think this is a good attitude to take when facing conflicts of any nature. Do not let your opponent win. You know when your opponent has won i.e. when your opponent has made you angry and made you attack back. You have already lost and it is as vein as shouting at a car that cut you off in traffic but has sped off into the distance. It is always good to smile, stay happy, and present the facts in a clear concise manner to your opponent. Your smile is more likely to diffuse your opponent's attacks and throw them off guard. It also gives your control over the situation.

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