How does your family handle conflict? Are you a group of peace-fakers, peace-breakers or peacemakers?
In his book, Peacemaking for Families, Ken Sande writes that “we can be peace-fakers, denying that we have problems, always giving in, or becoming distant from family members. We can be peace-breakers, relying on manipulation, a sharp tongue and overt anger to compel others to give in to our wishes…The third option is to use the conflicts of family life to become peacemakers.”
In the Family Challenge worksheets FC – Following Jesus 5:12 , we are discussing the heart of conflict. The heart is naturally prone to conflict regarding all of our relationships. Pastor Mike talked about this in his April 29th teaching. Without Christ, we are not capable of any good or righteous thought, feeling, or action. The death and resurrection of Christ makes us righteous before God 100%. But if our righteousness is connected 100% to Christ, then what motivates us to continue striving to live righteously?
- The Holy Spirit gives us a new heart motivated to work through conflict – Ezekiel 36:25-27
- The Holy Spirit gives us the power to make choices that promote peace around us – Romans 12
- The Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom and strength to build strong homes – Matthew 7:24-29
Ken Sande goes on to say that motivated families can use healthy conflict management “drawing on God’s grace and practicing the powerful peacemaking principles He has given us in His Word.” They learn new habits that bring about peace
What are your responses to conflict in your family, and what habits need to change for you to become a peacemaker?
- Escape conflict responders are mostly concerned with appearances – they are peace-fakers. They avoid because it is easy, convent, and non-threatening. They live in denial of conflict by refusing to engage and resolve it. They manipulate by fleeing from the conflict mentally, emotionally, and physically. They are focused primarily on their own feelings.
- Attack conflict responders are mostly concerned with being right – they are peace-breakers. They will sacrifice any relationship to win. They are primarily focused on others and ignore their own actions. They manipulate with verbal assaults like criticism, nagging, slander, angry words, cursing and threats. They try to murder another’s spirit through words and actions. They will use any means prove they are right.
- Healthy conflict responders are mostly concerned with healing and strengthening relationships – they are peacemakers. They are confident to overlook minor offenses and offer immediate forgiveness (Prov 12:16, 17:14, 19:11). They resolve bigger conflicts with discussion involving confession and loving confrontation (Matt 5:23-24, 7:3-5, 18:15). They settle disputes of money, property or individual rights by healthy negotiation toward a mutual solution (Phil 2:4).