Finding God's Winning Spirit

Conflict Resolution (Someone Needs to be Jesus)

March 17, 2014 | Greg Smith | Marriage

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One of the biggest causes of divorce is the inability of couples to resolve conflict.  You would be amazed how many couples tell me that they are afraid of conflict.  I encourage my Christian clients to view all conflict as a spiritual battle. Here is my view of conflict resolution from the Christian perspective.

First, we must remember that the only thing we can control in any conflict is ourselves.  This means that before we focus on another we need to be open and honest with ourselves (the only thing that we consistently take to a conflict is us). We must be honest about our feelings and specifically identify our agenda.  More often than not we will see that most of our feelings are fear based, i.e. fear of failure, abandonment, rejection, etc.    

The second thing we must do is to address these fears in ourselves.  We are called to live out of faith not fear (Hebrews 13:6; Luke 12:32). These feelings of fear and doubt tell us more about the strength of our relationship with Christ than they do about the conflict with others.  Before we can focus on the conflict in front of us, we need to win the battle between the fallen nature of man and the image of God within ourselves.  We first must spiritually conquer our own fears.

Thirdly and finally, through faith, we must claim victory over our fears; this victory will allow us to move toward others with the love of Christ.  Real conflict resolution can only take place when we are at peace and secure – which only come from God’s forgiveness and grace. After all, compromise is grace-based; it is about sacrifice.

Only by accepting and internalizing God’s unconditional (perfect) love are we both free from fear and free to love others (1 John 4:18-19). Christians living spiritually are better prepared to resolve conflict because they have less at stake.

When couples ask me what to do to better resolve conflict in their relationship I tell them that someone just needs to become Jesus.  My point here is that if we live our lives as Christ did – confident in God’s love for us and genuinely concerned for the well-being of others – conflict resolution becomes simple. Sacrificial living takes the sting out of conflict. 

Ephesians 5 lays out the foundation for a good marriage which when examined is simply based on sacrificial living. We are told to serve one another first and then worry about ourselves. This is the ultimate cure for conflict!

This goes right along with a study our group is doing right now:"When Sinners Say I
Do" by Dave Harvey.
He illuminates Paul's point, that
we are all the 'worst of sinners'but forgiven. Out of thankfulness for what Christ has done for us, forgive as He does & live as He asks--look at our own sin first and extend grace also as He has.
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