A Practical Toolkit to Keep You Cool

The truth is, I don’t like conflict and shy away from it whenever possible. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered that sometimes conflict is unavoidable. And whether it’s the contentious times in which we live or perhaps me losing some of my social filters, I am finding myself enmeshed in more conflicts, even with people I love, than I ever thought I would. For someone with more than a few insecurities and something of a temper, that’s not a good thing!

Enter Jay Payleitner’s new book–and just in the nick of time! “Don’t Take the Bait to Escalate” is short on theory but long on common sense, practical advice, and understated but biblical principles to help us defuse our potentially explosive interactions. Jay breaks down his strategy in easy-to-digest bites, with “four factors,” “three mistakes,” and “two choices,” followed by a wealth of case studies outlining different kinds of conflicts and how to de-escalate them. He even includes some “tactics and tricks” when everything else has failed.

I particularly like his “four factors”: (1) Decide what you really want; (2) Know the risks; (3) Empathize with your adversary; and (4) Expect the win. In the book Jay is positive without being a Pollyanna. Without digging into biblical anthropology, Jay keeps it light even as he helps readers grapple with the realities of human sin and brokenness. Sharing some of his own successes and failures in this realm, Jay understands the biblical truth that we are dust.

When we’re faced with unavoidable conflict, “Don’t Take the Bait to Escalate” is a practical, hands-on toolkit to help us keep our cool, respect the other person, and reach creative and (it is hoped) mutually beneficial solutions. I can’t wait to start applying some of Jay’s insights the next time I have to deal with conflict–which is probably going to be today.

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for BreakPoint.org. He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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