Family Feud

Inevitably, we all have conflicts. Proverbs 27:17 says as iron sharpens iron so does a brother. It is natural that there will be some tension and rubbing but the problem comes when rubbing turns into stabbing.

Much of the arguing we do has little to do with the real issue, until we have a family argument and it goes straight to the heart. If these family problems are not dealt with properly, they can go from internalised emotional tensions to becoming our beliefs about our family members.

I believe it is God’s intention to bring hope to relationships that we feel have become lost causes and help us focus on how we can bring resolution. Click To Tweet

The core value we need to have in our mind when we enter any conflict with a family member is humility. Humility is the heart posture of love and honor. Humility requires vulnerability.

Jesus is the ultimate example for everything in life. In Matthew 11:29, He says of Himself that He is gentle and lowly in heart. This is what allowed Jesus to take on other people’s burdens and rest to their souls.

Take a moment to reflect on how you handled your previous family arguments. Were you lowly in heart or high and lofty having a point to prove? Did you just have to win the argument? Jesus was humble and He was able to bear the burdens of others souls. We need to do this in our families.

Some may feel like a particular person has gone too far but remember Jesus was willing to die on the cross for us, knowing full well that most of us would still continue to hurt Him. He did it anyway. Jesus humbled Himself even though He was the One who was right. Be like Jesus. Be the first to be humble. Be the first to be vulnerable even if that means you might get hurt.

If we want to have reconciliation, we have to have humility and vulnerability. Click To Tweet

The second part of the framework for resolution is the value of the relationship itself.

John 3:10-16 shows how God relentlessly pursued an eternal relationship with us through sacrificial love. The way we express value for the relationships in our family is by treating people the way God treats us and thinking about them the way that God thinks about us.

Having value of a relationship means you are prepared to confront behaviors and situations that threaten the health of the relational connection in an honorable way.

Romans 14:19 encourages us to pursue how to communicate and bring value to one another, rather than focusing on an issue at hand.

With the framework for resolution set, we can go into some practical steps towards making it happen.

  1. Make a safe place for giving and receiving feedback, (Ephesians 4:25-32). The goal of exchanging feedback is to give each other good information about how we are affecting each other in an arena of truth.
  2. You have to tell people what you are thinking; even if you think they should already know it.
  3. Address how you are experiencing the person’s behavior, not what you think about their motives or character.
  4. Trust the other person to care about your feelings and needs, and be willing to adjust to protect the connection.
  5. When listening, try to identify the need or what is going on in their heart, more than the specific problem, (Proverbs 20:5).

When you listen, not to win an argument but to identify a need, solutions will take place.

When you choose to think about how people are experiencing you, rather than how angry you are at them, it opens the door of possibility to reconciliation and resolution. Click To Tweet

We need to have real conversations that address behaviors, not identities and persons.

Sermon by Bryson Still; Blog by Edward Gardiner