Family Conflict and the Holidays
The holidays mean time with family and friends and for most of us, this is the season we look forward to most. But for some of us there are unresolved conflicts that prevent us from experiencing the joy of the season. I know it's very early to talk about Thanksgiving and Christmas, but for some of us we need a little time to think and pray about what God's calling us to regarding these unresolved conflicts. In the coming weeks, I'd like to really examine some Biblical principles that might help heal our hearts and hopefully lead us in the direction of reconciliation.
When we look at the root cause for most conflicts in relationships, it's usually about unmet desires.
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. James 4:1-2
Do we desire to control the situation? Do we judge those who don't agree with our controlling demands? Do we "punish" these people? (Punishments can range from giving the silent treatment, name-calling, gossiping, or even making vague references in our Facebook status). Yeah, I'm guilty of some of those. Are you?
How do you respond when faced with having to see those people with whom you are in conflict?
Some of us practice "escape responses". Maybe we flat-out deny that a problem even exists. If you're like me, you might tend to run away from conflict. You might pull away from a relationship all together, leave a job, change churches, whatever gets you out of the same space as the person with whom you are in conflict. These escape responses feel like they're working for a while, but they aren't solutions to the problem - you merely postpone the inevitable.
Some of us practice "attack responses". Maybe you use intimidation to overcome a sense of frustration. Some people go as far as using physical force! But as we know, these types of reactions only make things go way worse!
The key to changing the way we deal with conflict is the Gospel. God made peace with us and between us by sending His Son to die for our sins, and then giving us new life through the Resurrection!
In the coming weeks, we'll look deeper into applying that principle in our own lives with our personal conflicts. As I write this series, I'll also be praying for those of us who have unresolved conflicts, which are keeping us separated from our families or friends. God wants to heal our hearts, and reconcile our relationships.
Lisa Strnad is an independent contractor in Christian media as a writer, marketing consultant, and public relations specialist. She speaks to Christian women's groups on the issues of motherhood, home schooling and raising a child with special needs. Lisa and her family make their home in Nashville.