Conflict: The Gateway To Deeper Intimacy
Conflict and arguments have the ability to strengthen or destroy relationships. On one hand, healthy conflict can facilitate deeper understanding, trust, connection and respect – true intimacy. Conflict done in a healthy and righteous way can actually lead to deeper intimacy as openness breeds openness and wounds from a friend can be trusted. On the other hand, arguments can be unhealthy, causing frustration, hurt, disconnection and hardened hearts.
Purpose: Resolving Conflict
What happens when you put two sinners together? They sin. Conflict will happen in the church. Conflict will happen with your Bible Talk leader. Conflict will happen in a marriage. Conflict is not a sign of a bad marriage, a bad church or a bad relationship. Not resolving the conflict is!!
Question? Are you totally resolved right now? If not, why? Get resolved asap.
There are four ways to deal with conflict. Three are awful, one is awesome!
1. Avoid the Conflict
• This is a relationship or situation in which one person always takes wounds and does nothing for the sake of peace. This does not work. It builds bitterness, which explodes in time.
2. Win the Conflict
• This is a relationship or situation in which the person always wins the argument, even if he or she is wrong. One person is determined to win and put the other person down. There is no humility. It is the opposite of avoiding the conflict, but equally bad.
3. Make a Sinful Peace Treaty
• This is what Ananias and Sapphira did. It was wrong. It cost them their salvation.
Acts 5:1-11: “Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”
When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.”
God killed them because they both agreed to sin against God. This is not the way to solve a conflict in any relationship.
You both agree to not give your contribution or not go to church.
You both agree not to expose each other’s sin (porn, drinking, contempt, gossip).
You bully your wife or husband after she or he confesses your sin.
You withhold intimacy as a wife or husband in an attempt to get him or her back for exposing your sins.
You refrain from exposing your wife or husband for fear of withheld intimacy.
You are struggling with the same sin as your brother (or sister) so you don’t challenge it with righteous indignation.
4. Resolve the Conflict
This is the only way to really solve a conflict. What does it take to do this?
Proverbs 18:13: “He who answers before listening– that is his folly and his shame.”
Both sides need to listen to each other and not interrupt the other person.
b. Do not get angry
James 1:20: “for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”
Anger fuels the conflict more
c. Help the other person not be angry
Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Kind words can do this. If one side is angry it makes it much worse if both are angry
d. Accept correction
Proverbs 10:17: “He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.”
Proverbs 15:5: “A fool spurns his father’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.”
Proverbs 15:10: “Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path; he who hates correction will die.”
God opposes the proud
e. Take responsibility
The best way to do this is by asking for forgiveness for what you did wrong and forgiving.
Matthew 6:14-15: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
f. Get discipling
Not all conflicts can be solved by the two people involved.
Proverbs 15:22: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
g. Draw the person out
Proverbs 20:5: “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.”
Ask a ton of question. Ask why several times. Learn to restate the area of conflict when the person shares. Also learn to say, “ Tell me more.”
Person A: “Ok … so I really want to understand what has upset you.”
Person A: Oh … I see … so from your perspective the way I spoke was hurtful? Ok … tell me more.
Person B: Yes, exactly, it was very hurtful.
Person A. I see that what I said hurt you. My apologies.
H. Use humor
Downplay the conflict by being lighthearted and funny.