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Following Jesus – Conflict as accident or choice

Was it an accident or choice that caused conflict in our family? There are two different types of conflict that stem from our selfish actions or reactions – accidental conflict & deliberate conflict. In our house, most problems of conflict include both types

Pastor Mike spoke on June 10 about vengeance. He used several examples about personal heart issues and vengeance when teaching from Matthew 5: 38-42. It helps our kids when we admit our own failure to be righteous or respond in a righteous way. Talking about my own failure to bring peace, asking forgiveness from my kids, and asking for their prayer to help me respond better to conflict can be tangible way to following Jesus in my home.Great family talking points & questions to ask together in the car, at dinner or doing chores together:

1. Describe yourself.  What do you see?   How might others describe you?  If Jesus is your savior, how does he see you?

2. We have all had people hurt or offend us in innumerable ways.  Think about one of those occasions.  If you are comfortable, share one of those times.  What feelings surfaced then, and what feeling surface as you recall it now?  Revenge, justice, pity?

 3. How did you react then when it occurred?  Would you do anything different if it happened today.  Read these verses:  Proverbs 24:29, Proverbs 25:21, Romans 12:17, 21, 1 Thessalonians  5:15.  In this part of the Sermon on the Mount, is Jesus teaching anything new?  Whose job is it to repay evil?  (Deut. 32:41, Hebrews 10:30)

 4. Have you ever “turned the other cheek?” Who have you established a relationship with …that initially meant harm for you? How would life look if everyone in the church showered its enemies with love rather than revenge?

 5. Why does Jesus tell us to have a different “heart” attitude about the way we should act when offended?  (Read Peter 2:20-24) Mike said we should think faithfully, eternally and missionally about your responses.

 6. Now look at yourself as being the offender.  You just slapped Jesus across the face and instead of wiping you off the face of the earth, he holds out his hand to invite you to his home.  Does this change your perspective? Has Jesus changed your heart?  How?

Most of the time, we do not intentionally set out to harm someone else. Conflict caused by an accident can devolve further by bad choices by each party. Bumping into someone can cause them to respond in a way that brings conflict. What can be done in this situation to bring peace? Conflict can escalate out of control when responders continue to make bad retalitory choices involving tone, emphasis, blame, etc. Fruit from the Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23 can stop this escalation. A heart centered or rooted in loving and pleasing God can overcome accidental conflict through this fruit. It puts us in right perspective with the conflict in order to think faithfully, eternally and missionally in our homes.
  1. Love: Unselfish concern for others & desire to do good
    • Example: choosing to play game with friend even though you don’t want to
  2. Patience: Ability to wait without grumbling or complaining
    • Example: choosing to wait your turn instead of demanding to go first.
  3. Kindness: interested in the well-being of others: considerate and helpful toward them
    • Example: choosing to befriend someone who is different instead of teasing them for it
  4. Gentleness: compassionate toward others with a gentle voice and actions
    • Example: choosing to speak kindly to someone who speaks angrily toward you.
What about deliberate choice conflict?
This one seems less frequent yet harder to effectively manage well in our home. It is often accompanied by “What were you thinking!
Corlette Sande says, “Good choices come from a heart that wants to please Jesus, while bad choices come from a heart intent on pleasing yourself .”
What is going on in a child or adult that is deliberately choosing to hurt others? This is an abusive heart and needs to be addressed as such. Typically in our house it is a sign of lack of attention or boredom. Luke 6:45 says “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks.”
  1. Assess their behavior first by using HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired)
  2. Think through the following questions. What have they been watching, listening to, hearing or thinking that has caused these desires? Have we prayed through these desires? Has their been putting Truth in and defeating lies from satan? Are we spending time valuing each other and seeing each other as important and worthy?
  3. Pray through deeper issues of anger, violence and self-protection that may need professional help. Is there a greater physical, mental, emotional or spiritual issues here resulting in abusive behavior.
Practicals for getting to the root of emotion in the home:
1. Statements & Questions that probe the heart and validate emotions
We say these word in our house:
  • You may be angry, but you may not abuse others in your anger
  • You may be angry but you are holding us all hostage with your anger
  • You may be angry but you many not choose to harm us in your anger
  • You seem angry, but do you know the emotion that is causing your anger?
2. Being able to help children determine what is going on naming their emotions

Emotion chart: Very useful in trying to figure out what emotion in causing an angry reaction. Click here for an example. It is helpful to start with vocabulary to explain emotions. Find some help for that here.