“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” – Galatians 5:22.

Music often reflects culture, which explains why there are so many songs about getting what we want. Take the Rolling Stones song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Then there is the song “Never Gonna Stop” from the movie soundtrack Generation of Iron which include the lyrics: “Never gonna stop, till I get what I want. Never gonna stop, till I get what I need.” And there is a song recorded by any a variety of people titled “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want.” There are many more because we as a society want stuff and much of the conflict in families is predicated on someone not giving us what we want.   

Since every family band hits some sour notes, what can we do to eliminate or at least reduce the conflict? One simple way is to put others before yourself. Start with your level of compassion. We can ask the Lord to develop compassion in our lives. He said to His followers that those who are truly His disciples will show love to one another. It may seem easier to love others than some people in your family, but Christ loves people regardless of who they are. Then try to be empathetic. Consider the needs of those around you. Put yourself in their shoes. Try to put yourself in their situation and treat them as you would like to be treated. This is the golden rule. Matthew 7:12 says, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Try to develop a servant’s heart. Find ways to serve others rather than expecting to be served. This is the best way to develop a servant’s heart. Putting others before yourself is easier when you are serving them. One of the reasons we find it hard to put others before ourselves is that different people think differently than we do. If my family thought exactly the same way I did then we might have fewer problems, but that is rarely the case. Most families have diverse ideas, and that can be a good thing. Don’t try to force your family into your way of thinking. 

And finally, consider their welfare more important than you getting what you want. You see the effect you have on people’s lives when you put others before yourself. Try it this week and you will see a marked decline in conflicts.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When was the last time you were in a serious fight or quarrel with another person? What caused the conflict? Was there anything you could have done to prevent it?
  2. Why do you think it is so hard to put others first?
  3. 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?
  4. How do we reconcile conflicting advice such as:  “Show some pride!” “Stand Up for yourself!” “Walk tall!” “Don’t be a doormat?”