Settling Conflicts in the Home (Part 2)
Why should you settle conflicts?
Your prayers will be hindered.
1 Peter 3:5-7 – When the husband fails to do his part and the wife hers, there will be conflicts and God will not hear their prayers.
Your home will fall apart if you don’t settle your conflicts. Mark 3:25 – “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” If a house remains divided against itself, it cannot stand! Your home will fall apart if you don’t settle your disagreements. Your marriage may end. Your children will be affected by the strife. Proverbs 13:3 – Destruction is promised to the ones who cannot shut their mouths.
Your words will cause wounds. You wound each other. Children have a little rhyme, “Sticks and stone may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” This is not true. Names and words do hurt! Proverbs 12:18 – Speaking sharp words pierce like a sword and cause pain. Proverbs 18:8 – Words can cause deep pain. Many arguments deteriorate quickly. By the end, each person is trying to hurt one another with insults or jabs. Sometimes, people will say things that will cause their spouse the most pain possible:
“I don’t know why I ever married you.”
“I never really loved you.”
Men have said, “Maybe the woman at work would make a better wife than you.”
When a woman was arguing with her husband about her mother, she said, “I love my mother more than I love you.”
“I think you are sleeping with someone else.”
These words are not soon forgotten and cause deep pain. Psalm 64:3 - The tongue can be sharp like a sword, ready to cut. Bitter words stick into a person’s heart like arrows. Notice what kind of people use such words (v. 2).
You may say, “I didn’t mean what I said.” Too late, you already shot the arrow. The wound has been made.
You wound your children. Sometimes the people you hurt the most during an argument usually have no part in the conversation. Who is that? Your children. Have you ever seen your children’s reaction when you were out of sorts? Too often parents are more worried about proving their point than they are about their children. In many cases, parents see their children’s reactions but don’t really care at the moment. Those little ears pick up on your words, tone of voice, and disposition. When you verbally attack your wife, you are also attacking someone’s mommy. When the wife shouts at daddy, the child feels bad for him. This hurts the child and causes deep pain. Think about your teenagers. They have a hard enough time dealing with their flesh. What do you think the strife in your marriage does to their attitude? Children tend to do as we do. Abijam was Rehoboam’s son, and the Scripture says that he “walked in all the sins of his father” (1 Kings 15:3). Sometimes, younger children start to blame themselves for the problems their parents have. Parents are so used to heaping blame on others that the children take it on themselves. Further, children are then caused to choose sides. They have to decide if daddy or mommy is right. Now the home is divided even more.
We typically apply the next passage to false teachers, but it could also apply to parents who sow seeds of discord in the hearts of their children, trying to put down the other parent. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17-18). Your speech may deceive the hearts of the simple—your children. They may begin to think badly about mommy or daddy because you deceived them.
Would you give your child a cup of poison to drink?
“But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). You might not give a glass of cyanide to your kids, but have you given them a dose of the tongue’s deadly poison? Would you allow your children to sit in a room with two poisonous snakes? You say, “No!” However, when you argue, you are both just like a poisonous snake. You are killing your child’s chances of growing up for God. “They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips” (Psalm 140:3). Your strife is infecting your children with the venom of hatred and bitterness. Soon, they will have the same attitudes toward you. Don’t argue in front of your children! Better yet—don’t argue! Oftentimes, during or right after an argument, one of the parents is still in a bad mood and starts shouting at the child for no good reason at all.
If you continually have conflict in your marriage, don’t be surprised when your children are filled with strife and walking in the flesh.
How should you settle conflicts?
Renew your mind. Ephesians 4:22-24 – Spend some time with God and confess your sin. Be sure that the new man is in control before you try to sort out your conflicts.
When you renew your mind, bad attitudes are changed to good attitudes. Bitterness will turn to love. Short tempers will turn to patience and longsuffering.
2 Corinthians 4:16 “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day”
We must be renewed day by day. Failure to have a good, consistent devotional life will ensure that conflicts will continue.
Be ready to listen. Many times people answer a matter before they have fully heard all of the facts. “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him” (Proverbs 18:13).
It is wise to listen before you speak.
James 1:19 – Here is golden advice for settling conflicts!
Be swift to listen to what the other has to say. Arguments don’t occur when one is listening and not responding.
Song of Solomon 2:14 – Love wants to hear the voice of the other!
Think before you speak. Proverbs 29:20 – “Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him” In the heat of the moment, you will be tempted to respond with a quick quip. Slow yourself down and think about your answer. Check to see if the old man or the new man is getting ready to speak.
Shut your mouth. Proverbs 10:19 – The more you speak when in an argument, the more you will sin. If you refrain (hold back) your lips from speaking, you will be showing wisdom. Proverbs 17:28 – Even if a fool will just shut up he is counted wise.
If you keep arguing, you are just proving you are a fool.
Are you going to settle the matter by shouting? Are both of you going to feel better by fighting?
Just learn to shut up. Close your mouth and don’t make matters worse. Wait until you have both calmed down.
Some are so foolish that when they try to discuss things later it only opens up the argument. Neither person is truly ready to fix the problem. Both are holding onto their pride so the contentions will never cease.
Ephesians 4:29, 31 – Don’t let bad things out of your mouth. Put evil speaking away!
Be in control. Ephesians 4:26 – When you get angry it is easy to lose control and sin even further. How could a husband and wife hit each other? They lose control. Ephesians 4:27 – Once you lose control, you have opened the door to the devil to step in. Do you really want to invite Satan into your marriage? Many couples have!
Speak kindly. Ephesians 4:29 – Change your vocabulary, tone of voice, and purpose in speaking. Try to build the other person up instead of tearing them down. Instead of criticizing, try complimenting. Instead of hating, try loving. Instead of shouting, try pleading. Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to each other. Some have so much bitterness in their heart that they don’t want to be kind. You are the problem!
Forgive. By definition, the word forgive means “to send it away.”
Ephesians 4:31-32 – Forgiveness is a decision.
It is a choice to put differences behind you and not bring them up again.
Jesus forgave us by putting our offences against Him far away – as far as the east is from the west.
Isaiah 38:17 – Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.
Notice the correlation between love and forgiveness. Remember that “Hatred stirreth up strifes” (Proverbs 10:12).
Forgiving is casting the offences of the other behind you and moving forward. Put it behind you! Forget about your rights.
You may say, “He/she doesn’t deserve to be forgiven.” We didn’t deserve Christ’s forgiveness, but He forgave us any way. As we have already seen, love will forgive!
Tell the truth. Ephesians 4:25 – Put away all lies! Tell the truth every time.
People lie all the time, and it is usually to protect themselves from something they have done wrong.
People lie so they won’t look bad. I have news for you, you are bad so there is no need to lie about it.
Apologize. An apology is not merely saying, “Sorry.” The meaning of apology has changed over the years. It used to refer to an excuse or defense for what others consider wrong. Merriam-Webster defines apology as “an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret.”
The process of getting right with one another is similar to getting right with God.
“O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips” (Hosea 14:2).
Be a peace maker. How often do we hear the words, “I am not going to go talk to her first, she started the fight.” Matthew 5:9 – The ones who are blessed (happy) are the ones who try to make peace. If both attempt to bring peace, it will be a happy marriage.
Don’t point fingers.As we have mentioned before, you can always find problems in each other because you are both sinners. However, good Christians help one another recover from their sin.
Get help. Psalm 1:1 –Don’t go to heathen relatives or friends for advice. The counsel of the ungodly is forbidden. You need godly advice.