When it comes to family, the only thing we all have in common is conflict. Family conflict is like no other because when you win an argument in your family, you don’t really win anything. The conflict is never fully resolved. It can be with your spouse, with children, brother or sisters, etc. But there is one thing that we know. If things are good at home you can deal with about any conflict outside. But, the opposite is also true, it is hard to deal with outside conflict if we have emotional battles within our family. There will always be relationship difficulties or challenges we will face. Conflict will often rise. It is how we deal with the conflict that makes the difference.
Something To Talk About:
- As long as you blame others for your happiness you will always be unhappy: Everyone wants to be happy in life, but not everyone is happy. We know that to be true. Many people who are not happy blame other people for not being happy. Our happiness is based on people doing what we want them to do. If I am unhappy, it is somebody else’s fault. The reality, however, is that happiness isn’t dependent on someone else, or on happenings, or wealth. Happiness comes from inside of us, not outside.
- The problem is we are not getting what we want: And that starts the fight. I want you to listen to me. I want certain things, and if people are not doing what I want, that is when conflict surfaces. Fights ensue. The solution is to hit the pause button. It can be a game changer. Rather than touching gloves and come out fighting, pause and reflect. And while you are paused, consider how much of the conflict is your fault. And whatever portion of the conflict is your fault, take ownership and make the changes necessary to stop the conflict.
- Who is suffering because we aren’t getting our way: You are the only person who can answer that. Is it a friend or coworker, spouse, child? How is your fighting impacting their lives?
- What did conflict look like in your family when you were growing up?
- How do you handle family conflict? Are you a peacemaker, sulker, stuffer, litigator, or screamer?
- Is there an area where you are not getting what you want and it results in conflict?
- Read James 4:1-3. What are the selfish desires that capture your attention? When you allow yourself to chase after these, how does it affect your relationships?
- It requires a lot of courage to confront painful memories or face the pain that people have caused us. Is there a wound or pain in your life that you are still carrying around from someone? How are you handling it? How does God want you to respond? How will you begin the forgiveness process?
- Spend time in prayer this week on any conflict in your life.
Take One Thing Home with You
How often do we talk about our story, our walk with God? There are some great stories out there about where people have come from to find Jesus. A good story needs interesting characters, unpredictable plot, twists and high drama. No story is complete, however, without one more element. A good story needs conflict. Without conflict or, more specifically, conflict that is moving toward resolution, the story is lacking something.
Most Christians want their story free of conflict. We expect the family to be a place where everyone gets along peacefully, where nothing is ever troubled, and where no relationship ever gets out of sync. That is what an ideal Christian family should be, shouldn’t it? The truth is, if you’re going to be around people, you’re going to deal with conflict. And as Christ followers, we must resist the notion that the best way to resolve conflict is either to avoid it in the first place or bail out as soon as things get difficult as a means of achieving at least superficial peace. That is what happens when conflict arises in the family and we clam up, go to separate rooms, and stare at different screens.
What we need is resolution when we have conflict. If your life is a story that God is writing, you can expect to face conflict throughout the plot line of your life. The question is: how will we handle the conflict? How do you want your plot line to go in your story. Will you be the peacemaker? The one who forgives? Will you be the one that brings resolution?
Romans 12:18 tells us, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” That certainly includes our family. Is it part of your story?