A baby has basic life skills but has to learn to eat, burb, pass gas and more with the help of the parents. Marriage skills are learned over time with the couple growing. From the time of being children, to adults, people deal with conflict in a variety of ways: yelling; physical wrestling (fighting); competing; keeping score. Then there is parental (or outside) interference and when mature enough, relational.
Obviously, many have not learned to deal with conflict. The divorce rate is over 50 percent, even in the church. Often people run away instead of resolving a conflict. They run from a job, from a marriage, from a town or community, even from a church.
James 4:1-2 asks ‘What is causing the quarrels among you? You want what you want; if you ask God, you don't ask with right motives.
Conflict occurs when there is distance between expectations and reality.
We are either the victim or the offended.
When we have a conflict situation we can be one of three in our reaction:
James 3:18 says “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
Resolving conflict is so important that it comes before worship. Matthew 5:23-24.
We are encouraged to live in peace: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18.
To be a peacemaker we have to breathe grace.
Point: We are called to be peacemakers, and peacemakers breathe grace.
Psalm 34:14: seek peace and pursue it.
Make every effort to live in peace … to receive the grace of God and avoid the root of bitterness. Hebrews 12:14-15.
Resolving conflict brings growth and joy. Unresolved conflict brings destruction and bitterness. That is the work of the enemy – not of God.
These are steps to resolving conflict:
- Define the problem and stick to the issue. Don't generalize, keep to a narrow, specific issue.
- Pursue purity of heart. Seek God's input.
- Plan a time to meet.
- Affirm that the relationship is more important than the conflict.
- Listen, and listen some more.
- I won't bring it up again.
- I won't dwell on it in my heart or mind.
- I won't talk about it with others.
- I won't let the issue stand between us.
Resolve your conflict; take care of it. Resolve it soon.
Commit to: When conflict arises take on the role of a peacemaker.
I found this song for today:Verses for Today:
James 4:1-3 (NIV)
Submit Yourselves to God
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Lord, I pray that you help me be a peacemaker when there is conflict to be resolved.