Practical steps to aid in conflict resolution
~~Video Coming Soon~~
- Traits of Wholeness
- Reconciliation Review
- Being a Peacemaker
- Addressing Conflict
- Path to Avoiding Conflict
- 3 Unhealthy Communication Practices
- Strategies for Addressing Conflict
- Your Witness
- Turn to The Father
- Ephesians 4:15
- Hebrews 12:14
- Romans 12:18
- Psalms 141:3
- Proverbs 28:13
- Colossians 4:5-6
but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, that is, Christ
Through our discussions on anger, we have discovered that different people have different views on anger and conflict. Some view anger and conflict as bad. Some think it’s okay to be angry, but it’s bad to show it. Some feel that expressing anger and having conflict is normal and necessary, and may even use it as a tool to get their way. And yet others are entertained by conflict and start arguments to amuse themselves or to relieve boredom.
Regardless of what we think of conflict, resolving conflict is an important skill that we need in order to navigate through life effectively.
You have to know how to resolve conflict
- In romantic relationships
- At work
- In Bible studies and small groups
- With your kids
- With your neighbors
But nobody taught you how to do it.
The Bible calls for us to be peacemakers, yet Jesus puts a high value not just on forgiving, but initiating reconciliation. Many of us prefer to ignore the difficult issues and hope that they will go away. But we are also called to speak the truth (in love) regardless of the outcome.
We need to learn to confront problems with other people in a biblical way.
One of the major aspects of wholeness is becoming mentally and emotionally healthy in your thinking. The other aspect involves how you relate with other people.
Traits of Wholeness
We are in our series called Seeking Wholeness
How can we be _______ healthy
Dealing with life’s current stresses and also being healed from experiences/wounds of the past
We’re not just supposed to have eternal life
- We’re supposed to have: joy, peace, patience, and self control here on earth
Learning not just what The Word instructs us to do, but learning how to implement it in our lives
Traits of Wholeness
- Not seeking external approval / validation
- Living by values and principles
- Setting Boundaries
- Taking ownership of your responsibilities
- Living with purpose and passion
- Healthy relationships with others
- Not losing control of your emotions
- Free from addictions
- Addressing Conflict with truth and love
- Not critical or Judgemental
- Not jealous
- Genuinely applaud the success of others
- Forgive those who have wronged you in the past
- Know that you’re worthy of receiving love
- Not afraid to fail
- Able to manage irrational fear, worry, and anxiety
- Selfless encounters with others
- Not manipulating others trying to control their actions/reactions
- You care about how others feel - empathy
- Don’t give into peer/social pressure
- Can communicate directly
- Don’t take responsibility for other people's emotions
- Take responsibility for your own emotions
- Slow to anger
- Ability to maturely express your wants, needs and desires
- Being led by the Spirit
God’s View on Anger
Our goal is not to be angry at the right thing…righteous anger
God asks us to be
- Slow to anger
- Don’t stay angry long
Chronic Anger causes
- Health problems
- Damaged relationships
Leave Your Gift at the Altar
You need to initiate reconciliation when you have said something in anger
Not reconciling impacts your relationships with God
Harmony in your relationships is more important than giving your offering
Forgiveness vs Reconciliation
Forgiveness says you don’t owe me…
- An apology
- Accepting the blame
- Admittance of wrongdoing
- An explanation
Reconciliation is restoring the relationship
You can have one without the other
Steps to Reconcile
- Ask God for wisdom
- Focus on reconciliation not “winning”
- Do your part
- Choose the right time
- Begin with what’s my fault
- Avoid offensive language
- Don’t respond harshly
- Seek to understand before seeking to be understood
- Listen to their heart and perspective
- Don’t dismiss their fears
- Don’t be self-centered
Being a Peacemaker
Pursue peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
How can you be a peacemaker?
Ignoring Conflict: False Peacemakers
When, out of fear, we avoid conflict… We become false peacemakers
If you don’t say something when your spouse is coming home late from work because you want to be like Christ, but you can give them the cold shoulder… You are a false peacemaker
If you are on a budget and order something small at a group dinner, but someone suggested splitting the bill if you don’t say anything… You are a false peacemaker
Someone asked you to marry them but you aren’t completely decided...but you say yes to avoid embarrassing them
Going to see your parents on holidays when you don’t want to
Not telling someone how their behavior is killing your relationship because they have had a tough life
True peacemaking doesn’t happen by saying what is wrong is right
Peacemaker vs Peacekeeper
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people.
Example: Russia attacks the Ukraine
- Keeping peace doesn’t mean you let them take the country
- You have to initiate peace talks
Example: Peacekeeper missile
- Designed to retaliate against an attack
Peacemaking is not
That’s not peacemaking… That’s cowardice
it’s not about always letting the other person get their way
This is what it means to be a “peacemaker“ instead of “peacekeeper“
Importance of Addressing Conflict With Your Spouse
The number one determiner of success in a marriage is the ability to resolve conflict
When you don’t resolve your conflicts you’re putting thin layers of resentment between you and the other person
Sometimes you can help people be free of something if you confront them and not just let them keep getting by with it
Skunks and Turtles
In every marriage there are:
- Skunks and turtles
When there’s an argument skunks stink the place up
They let everyone know when they’re unhappy
Turtles go into a shell and hide when there’s conflict
Conflict is Necessary
Conflict is not a bad thing
if you don’t have conflict… You don’t have a real relationship
Healthy relationships are marked by conflict
Hard conversations are not fun… But they are not optional either
If you fight all the time it might mean that you haven’t learned how to resolve conflict
You Need to Address Repeating Issues
Time Won’t Fix It
Time doesn’t heal all wounds
- Getting shot
It gets worse
You wouldn’t need to go see a doctor you could just sit in the waiting room
“Time heals some wounds…others need to be treated”
Problems With Not Addressing the Issue
- Hiding our vulnerability
- Closing the door for reconciliation
Path to Avoiding Conflict
Checking out assumptions
Our assumptions are misrepresentation of reality
you leave the window open for believing a lie
We shouldn’t take on the role of judges for others
sometimes… We think we know what they’re thinking
- … So we are weird towards them
- … So they think we think…
Clarify Your Assumption
Tell the person you want to check out in assumption that you think they are making
Do I have permission to check out an assumption I am making
- I think you think…
- I assume you are thinking…
Is this correct?
Example: so are you thinking that because he took care of our uncle that he should get to live rent free for the rest of his life?
We don’t want people to think we are silly
It often has nothing to do with you at all
Because we don’t want to confront the person…we go to somebody else… And make the problem worse
Voice Unspoken Expectations
We expect other people to know what we want before we say it… Especially if they are invested in the relationship
Of course you are coming to the family event… We are important to you aren’t we?
I never knew the job involved all of that… You never told me
My adult son should know that I need him to come over and fix things. I shouldn’t have to ask.
I expected that a good marriage just happened naturally
I’m the only one caring for my aging parents… My siblings expect me to do everything.
If she really cared about me… She would call me
In a good church everyone should be friendly and supportive when someone is hurting
Expectations are only valid and they have been mutually communicated
Expectations need to be
Become Aware of Your Triggers
An emotional trigger is an intense reaction to something in the present that reminds us, consciously or unconsciously, of an event in our history
We haven’t healed from a wound from the past
We end up treating someone with who we are in a relationship now as if they were someone from the past.
Tom’s wife wanted to go away for the weekend with her girlfriends.
- Tom got upset
- It reminded him of early feelings of his parent’s emotional unavailability
Theresa’s husband was watching television instead of parenting her children
- she gets very angry
- She attacks and belittles him
- unconsciously it reminds her of her father that left her when she was seven years old.
- leaving her and her mom to fend for themselves.
Establish Rules of Fair Play
In a relationship you need to establish ground rules of “fair communication“.
- You need to take some words and say that they are off-limit
Example: during the cold war we agreed that certain weapons were off limits
- No WMDs
- You know what words will push their buttons
Example: narcissists find out what your insecure about
3 Unhealthy Communication Practices
Silent Treatment / Stonewalling
You were having an argument
You recognize your part in that fight, and you apologize
They know that you want to hear them apologize or tell them that it’s OK everything is alright
They purposely withholds that assurance so that you can go a while in an uncomfortable and maybe feel insecure about the relationship
You naturally worry about how long they’ll be angry with you
They withdraw and don’t talk to you for a while
This leaves you to fret about the state of the relationship
They are giving bare minimum answers with little or no detail
Why People Give the Silent Treatment
Why do people give the silent treatment?
“You hurt me, so I am going to hurt you back.”
They’re not going to be satisfied until they feels that
- you’ve been shamed enough
- that they’ve extracted enough pain from you
- they have taught you the lesson than that they’re trying to teach you
hope that they will break down and concede to their wishes.
This means that your body releases so much stress hormone that you dip into your survival instincts
- flight, fight, freeze, or fawn
- they freeze
- lose your relational instincts (problem-solving, humor, affection, etc.).
Solution: take a break and self-soothe by deep breathing, walking, exercising, etc. It’ll take about 20 minutes for stress hormones to leave your body.
Other Reasons People Are Silent
Not necessarily the “silent treatment”
- Avoid conflict
- Not blow up
It’s harmful if done passive-aggressive
- doesn’t acknowledge that they were hurt
gives the appearance of right doing or compliance with a covert negative behavior that’s harder to see
They need to punish you when they are angry
This type of toxic behavior is hard to change, but it can change if the person is willing to do some work
How do you respond when someone gives you the silent treatment?
- ignore them and walk away
- Give time to process their anger.
- Some people need some distance when they are hurting or angry
- Don’t seem bothered by the silence
- Can break the silence because it doesn’t seem to be having the desired effect
Calling them out on the silence is not going to help
Story: my ex didn’t give me the silent treatment
3Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
keep watch at the door of my lips.
Contempt is criticism because that comes with an element of superiority; one person expresses discontent by also using shame and mean-spirited sarcasm to put down another person.
Solution: Describe Your Own Feelings & Needs
Solution: “I Feel” message
How to communicate your needs when you feel angry
I feel ___ when you ___
I feel angry / hurt / disappointed when you…
- I feel hurt when you pay more attention to the kids than me
- I feel hurt when you give more of your energy to work than me
- I felt disappointment when you forgot our anniversary
- I feel rejected when I want to draw close to you physically, and you give me the cold shoulder
- I feel afraid/belittled when you shout and raise your voice
- I feel left out when you call a meeting with all the supervisors and I’m not included
- I feel hurt when you don’t share with me what you share with other people
- I feel kind of rejected when I text or call you and I don’t hear back from you for a couple of days
I feel __ when you __, I wish…
- I feel disappointed that you didn’t trust me with that information…I wish you could …
- I wish we could talk calmly about our schedules
Defensiveness is a reaction to (real or perceived) criticism
Defensiveness looks like:
- Taking on a victim mentality
Be Open to Criticism
Relationships implode when you can’t process your anger. It will accumulate.
We should have the attitude that you can say whatever you want to me.
- I may not agree with what you’re saying.
- I may not understand what you’re saying, but you are not going to pay a price for saying it.
If you love someone and are trying to meet their needs you shouldn’t be threatened to hear a complaint from them.
Although some people use criticism/complaining for manipulation/control
Take Responsibility For Your Part
13One who conceals his wrongdoings will not prosper,
But one who confesses and abandons them will find compassion.
Try taking responsibility for your part of the conflict, even if you believe you only own a small portion of the issue.
Validate the other person’s perspective of the situation, even if you disagree with them. This will help you both de-escalate and determine a solution that gets the unmet need met.
5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Your speech must always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
Story: honk at someone because late to church
If you are angry and cursing… No one will see God in you
What response will let them know I’m a Christian?
Conflict isn’t an opportunity to display our anger. It is an opportunity to display our self control.
Being a Christian means restraining our response to anger and yielding it to God spirit
The greatest opportunity for Christians to display their faith… A situation of conflict
Turn to The Father
The Father is with you during your conflict - a Michael Jr
Learn how to resolve conflict and restore relationships With Rick Warren
Emotionally healthy spirituality
Poor communicator or the silent treatment question: how do you deal with it?
Dr. Tracy Marks
Confrontation is necessary
You don't have to fear conflict
Bethel Transformation Center
Proverbs 18:17 ESV
The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man's foes [shall be] they of his own household.
The first cause of conflict is self-centeredness
- The second cause of conflict is pride
- Humble people don’t get their feelings hurt, prideful people do and
- when my ego gets wounded then we have conflict
Through overconfidence comes nothing but strife, But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.
Secret words that will resolve any relational conflict
- “I’m sorry… I was only thinking of myself“
1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.