During interpersonal conflict, when do you compete?
Compete means we will pursue our own interest at the expense of another’s, making the perceived task of greater importance than the relationship. It usually implies a zero sum game. We will win while the other person equally loses. Proverbs says that wisdom will save us from wicked competitors whose words are perverted: “Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse” (Proverbs 2:12).
When engaging in conflict, we run a high risk of losing, especially when the other person is willing to say one thing and do another. However, when there is a moral issue at stake, we must compete. Proverbs describes a man who is vulnerable to a woman who is not his wife, imploring that wisdom will save him from her seductive words: “It will save you also from the adultress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words” (Proverbs 2:16).
When we are about to sin, we need to compete wisely for our own interest. Solomon said that it is wise to love your own soul: “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers” (Proverbs 19:8).
Are you in a conflict of right versus wrong by biblical standards — an affair, an illegal business proposition, a lie, or a threat to someone’s life? Compete for what is right in God’s sight. Read the above verses, and go to a trusted friend for wisdom on how to compete for what is right with all your might.