Conflict in any form or degree is a strong weapon used by the devil to wage war against human families and thereby destroy the basic foundation upon which every family depends for God’s blessings, love, joy, security and indeed all sufficiency (Gen. 2:23-24, Gen. 1: 27 – 28)
These conflicts emanate from our behavior and manners (in part or whole) in what is done and what is not done in relation to other members of the family.
Since the family is a divine cradle of humanity where characters are moulded and posterity raised, the infiltration of conflict into the family must always be guarded against by every member of the family and where it has succeeded to permeate the protective walls of the family, it must be tackled (fought) and resolved responsibly through a reputable and credible source and materials – God and His words because if conflict is allowed to settle and flourish, its effect could better be imagined than felt.
It is a known fact that the peace of the church is largely dependent on the peace of each family that jointly constitute themselves into a congregation of the saints. 1Cor. 1:11; 11:22. It is in this wise that God in His words admonished and charged every head of the family (including their spouse) to rule their household well with tangible and intangible provisions of life (1Tim. 5:8, 1Tim. 3:1-12, Titus 2:1-5, Heb. 13:7, Prov. 31:10-12).
In as much as every member of the family is a potential agent of conflict, and or party to conflict in the family, it is hereby advised that every member should also be ready to act responsibly in resolving any conflict in the family.
Let us not forget that, a house that rises against itself cannot stand – Matt. 12: 25, 30. And also that, a family that embraces the fear of the Lord shall be blessed – Psalm 128: 1 – 6
In our discuss, we would rather dwell more on aspects that serve as lubricant on family mechanism towards reducing and subsequently eliminating conflicts than on arguments that tend to impede love, peace and God’s blessings in the family.
- DEFINITION OF KEY WORDS
(i) Couple – two persons (man and woman) associated in marriage
(ii) a. Group of parents and children
- Group of persons with common ancestry/source and common name (surname)
A fight, struggle, bitter argument;
To be in opposition or disagreement with.
(i) Quality of being resolute, boldness of determination
(ii) Show of great resolve – something one makes up one’s mind to do eg. to break up, separate into parts. To put amend to doubts and difficulties by supplying an answer.
- AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE LESSON:
- The lesson aims to examine spouse and their importance in conflict resolution; being able to resolve their differences first.
- Look into sources of conflict involving parents and children
- To emphasize on discipline; method and choice of discipline – Children
- To teach that expressing and practicing love and affection to children is part of resolving conflict.
- Look into sources of conflict involving relatives and family members
- How to solve these conflicts
- TYPES OF CONFLICT AND OPERATIONAL DIMENSIONS
- Blazing conflict
- Smoldering conflict
- Numbed conflict
Blazing conflict: Is a conflict that burns with flames and quite conspicuous; its effects are easily detected, seen and known by onlookers. Gal. 5: 17, 1 Kings 22: 18, 27 – 28
Smoldering Conflict: It exist and operates itself in an unseen, undetected and suppressed or compressed dimension. It is engineered and rooted in hypocrisy on the part of the culprit. Matt. 23:25.
Numbed Conflict: It exists in a dormant or inactive state due to absence of either a favourable environment or energizing materials or both. Though it often encloses itself and its potentials in a cyst-like material – a protective covering. It can sometimes be detected by preemption.
The children of Israel mistook the large heartedness of their brother, Joseph, for a numbed conflict or fight. Gen. 50:15. However, Moses was right when he, by preemption spoke in the ears of the congregation of Israel about the rebellious and corrupt ways of the children of Israel after his death. Deut. 31:27-29.
Paul the Apostle also brought to fore this type of conflict among the early Christians and the ways forward. Acts 20:29-31, 11Thess. 4:6. If numbed conflict is perceived, efforts should be made to uproot it before it robs the family of her progress and peace. Matt. 24:43, Lk. 12:39.
SOURCES AND AGENTS OF CONFLICT
- The Couple
- The Children
- Extended family members
- AVENUES OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION
- Strictly between the characters involved in the conflict. Matt. 18:15.
- The parents (couple)
- Through an arbiter – members of the family and faithful Christian
- The Church – 1Cor. 6:1-3
- The village
* Christians should not allow conflict in their family to degenerate to a level where the village is interested and also needed. However, if it does happen, Christians should present themselves as faithful servants of God with their faith and integrity always intact. Jms. 5:12.
* Don’t ever think that family conflict will be resolved on the second coming of Christ. Amos 5: 18, 6: 3
Resolution of family conflict should not be relegated to the background if we really desire to see God. Heb. 12: 14, 1 Pet. 3: 10 – 11
Some of the immediate causes of conflict in the family
- Selfishness and breakdown in communication
- Social and class influence (inordinate cravings)
- Family income and management
- Sickness and choice of course of treatment
- Silence, neglect and abandonment
- Disobedience/evil companionship
- Extended family members
- Lack of proper planning and covetousness – common inheritance
- COUPLE, THEIR IMPORTANCE IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION
Any family whose premier characters (couple) are not loyally committed to each other and the future of their family is most susceptible to conflict and crises – James 3: 16. In today’s society, loyalty in marriage is under attack; suspicion and compromise seem to be the order of the day. Christian couples need to rise up to the challenges of family conflict by seeing each other as a true mate and partner, by making their marriage a priority, by strengthening the bond and by building their family together as faithful and wise servants of God. Matt. 24:45 – 46.
- SOLUTION TO THE FIRST HURDLE (BETWEEN THE COUPLE)
The bible says that there is time for everything including a time to talk Prov. 7:1, 7. Set an appropriate time to discuss the problems or the conflict that the differences in you both has brought. Choice of good words is what is needed so that what should be a simple discussion does not escalate into crises. Prov. 15:4 and make no provision for a tale bearer in the family. Prov. 26:20.
* Make sure that mutual respect to each other is observed and maintained all through the session.
* Take the whole amour of God, pray and be watchful – Eph. 6: 12 – 18
* Be honest and truthful with your partner. Matt, 5:27, Col. 3:9-10
* Try to resolve the issue as soon as possible and do not stop communicating.
- MONEY: HOW TO MANAGE FAMILY INCOME
It may be difficult to talk about money but the advice is that money should not be allowed to generate conflict in the family. This therefore means that where necessary, money should be talked about in the family Eccl. 7:12. By consultations, plans will succeed. Prov. 20:18, Lk. 14:28
Leave inheritance to future generation through careful planning. Prov. 13:22
- SICKNESS: CHOICE OF COURSE OF TREATMENT
* Be concerned about the health status of the members of your family.
* Don’t be overwhelmed with anxiety when problems and challenges arise in your life. 2Kings 1:1-3, Phil. 4:6-7
* In everything, including sickness, let your request be known to God.
Phil. 4:6-7, James. 5:14-15, Eph. 5:11-12
* Talk to others (especially brethren) who may have faced a similar challenge.
* Take good care of yourself and reconsider your eating habit and pattern; even before sickness strikes
* Seek Medical attention from credible sources
- IMPATIENCE AND IMPROPER USE OF THE TONGUE
Impatience and improper use of the tongue are like inflammable substance and fire brought together. James 3:5-6.
* Cultivate the spirit of patience and power over your tongue one to another. Eph. 4:1-3.
* Reprove, Rebuke and exhort with all longsuffering. 2Tim. 4:2
* Avoid words that stab the spirit.
- RIVALRY AND UNFORGIVENESS
* Speak the truth so that you could be forgiven. Col. 3:9, Prov. 28:13,
* Make amends and repent 2Chro. 7:14, Matt. 3: 7 – 8
* Just as you were forgiven freely, forgive freely. Col. 3:13
* Forgive freely because sooner or later you may need to have others forgive you. Matt. 18:35, James 2:13.
* Our willingness to forgive does not mean that we support the wrong behavior. Jn. 8:7-11.
* Forgiveness is truly shown to somebody when the hatchet is buried including the handle. Prov. 17:9.
- BREAKDOWN IN COMMUNICATION
* Bridge the gap as soon as possible
* Make it easy for your children to talk to you; they must know that you will listen when they need to speak.
* Be patient with your children and always assure them of your love.
Matt. 13:7, 1Cor. 8:1
* Learn something from the way other parents are raising their children.
* Obey your parents in the Lord. Eph. 6:1-3
* Don’t keep evil companionship. 1Cor. 15:33
* Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers. 2Cor. 6:14
- DISCIPLINE IN THE FAMILY
* Discuss on how you will discipline your children (couple)
* Discipline does not only mean punishment, it also means helping your children to know the rules, its principles and usage. This understanding will help them to develop a healthy conscience that will not repudiate discipline. Heb. 12:9, Prov. 17:10.
* Chasten thy son while there is hope. Prov. 19:18, Prov. 13:24, Prov. 29:17
* Presenting yourself and conduct as an example of discipline is quite important. Acts 20:34-35.
* Give members of the family their due rights and attention.
* Remain responsive to reprove. Prov. 17:10
- FAMILY INHERITANCE
* Provide for your family and leave inheritance for them.
1Tim 5:8, 2Cor. 12:14
* Be a good example; speak to your household concerning what you have acquire and how you have acquired. Acts 20:33-35
* Take practical steps to forestall conflict in the future. Lk. 12:13-14
* Pray for wisdom in sharing family inheritance. Jms. 3:13, Gen. 13:2, 5-9, Prov. 15:16, Eccl. 5:6
- CONFLICT INVOLVING RELATIVES AND FAMILY MEMBERS (ABANDONMENT)
* Don’t abandon your parents and grandparents. Prov. 23:22, Prov. 7:6.
* Don’t depend excessively on your siblings; make hay while the sun shines. Prov. 28:19.
* Show concern to your relatives; maintain proper view of your relatives.
* Don’t exploit and take the large-heartedness of your relatives for granted.
* Be firm when necessary; set boundaries for them and graciously let them know; protect your family against infiltration.
* Every member of the family should see each other as a team mate rather than an opponent.
* Truth and sincerity must always be exhibited and appreciated.
* Since there is time for everything, an appropriate time should be set to discuss problems and conflict in the family.
* Make sure that time is spent to discuss the problem, tackle the conflict and resolve the crises as soon as possible.
* When it is your turn to listen, resist the urge to interrupt. By so doing, you will stand a good chance of being listened to when you take your turn to speak.
* Practical steps on how each party to a conflict should take to resolve the conflict should also be discussed.
- ESSENTIALS FOR CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND UNITY IN THE FAMILY
In place of half truth, speak the whole truth.
In place of denial and arrogance, own the fault and the mistakes.
In place of unwillingness to repent, make amends and repent.
In place of pride and unforgiving heart, forgive freely.
In place of grudge, show love.
In place of being lead by the flesh, be guided by the word of God.
In place of division, work as a team.
It is evident to us that the difference between a family without conflict and the one that is strewn with conflict lies in the willingness and the unwillingness of members of the two families respectively to work as a team and secure peace and other essentials for a functional family structure and hope for all.
Culprits in this matter should know that their action is a direct distortion of the divine concepts concerning marriage and family, Eph. 5: 28 – 30
The advice therefore is that every member of the family should work towards eliminating friction, conflict and crises in the family. In so doing, we will attract peace and God’s blessings to our selves, to others and indeed to the church.
May we remain responsive to this in Jesus Name – Amen.
UYO TOWN CHURCH OF CHRIST, 20 PAUL BASSEY STREET, UYO
SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE, 2017-ADULT
PRESENTED BY BROTHER ALFRED USEH