The definition of conflict is to fight or contend. It is a disagreement or a struggle between opposing forces; a clash of ideas or beliefs. We often think that when there is a conflict, God is not present. This is not necessarily the case. Although conflict is unavoidable “conflict can produce positive results.” – Dr. D’Ann Johnson.
It is in times like these that we should begin to think about resolving family conflict. As we let the Bible speak, we will find the tools to equip us with handling family conflict.
In times of conflict it is imperative that we do (6) things:
Search your own heart for any undisclosed expectations
Proverbs 4:23 – “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
Before looking at the short comings of those you are in disagreement with, search your own heart. Do we have undisclosed expectations that agitate us to the point of conflict because an expectation has not been shared or met?
Identify the real issue
When the conflict arises, identify the reason “why” you disagree. What is it that makes this conflict, what beliefs do you hold that brings about the disagreement? Whenever something happens it’s good to ask why am I feeling this way? Why does ‘that’ bother me? These questions help get to the root of the difference itself, and takes away from the scrutiny of the person we are in conflict with. These questions may also reveal underlining beliefs.
“There may be a deep-seated belief system that we super impose on everything.” – Pastor Billy R. Johnson.
Discern between a spiritual struggle and one of flesh and blood
Ephesians 6:12 – “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Recognize that the issue is separate from the person. The enemy wants us to fight each other. The enemy wants to cause division. God alerts us that we are fighting against a spiritual warfare. The problem is the actual problem, the problem is not the person.
Don’t agree if you don’t agree
Ephesians 4:14-15 – “…that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ –“
The goal is to not hold onto the issue. Reconciliation cannot happen on the basis of a lie. Make sure you speak the truth in love, not simply agreeing when you actually do not agree. Get to the place where you are growing in your honesty. When we “grow up” we are more like Christ, progressively. As we communicate, even in conflict, we should progressively be practicing the ability to speak truth in love so that our relationships are looking more Christ-like.
Bringing resolution to the conflict
Commit to the F.I.G.H.T.
F Face each other/deal with the person
I Ignore distractions
G Guard your tongue
H Halt the history
T Talk to and not at the person
In bringing resolution to the conflict, committing to the FIGHT has its own meaning. We must first face each other, as opposed to sharing our grievances with a third party. Deal with the actual person you are in conflict with. Next, we must ignore distractions. Set aside a time, put away cell phones, or other distractions that send the message to the other person that they are not important. Third, the Bible speaks in Proverbs that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Words can and do hurt. Recognize also that it is not just what you say to them but what you say about them. And lastly, practice talking to and not at the person. Do we have the ability to talk to someone that we have a disagreement with?
Exercise the gift of forgiveness
Mark 11:25-26 –“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
If you want the grace of forgiveness extended to you, extend the same grace of forgiveness to others.
In closing, in the midst of conflict God wants to bring peace. It is not God’s intention for us to constantly live in conflict. But by using the tools equipped to us through the Bible, we can grow in a Christ-like manner by bringing resolution to our family conflicts.