Book Review of Conflict Free Living by Joyce Meyer

A book about finding peace in relationships

If you find your life full of conflict and unsatisfying relationships, Conflict Free Living by Joyce Meyer is for you. This book is all about relationships: how to have satisfying, peaceful and love-filled relationships that are mutually edifying.

Joyce usually writes from personal experience. She says on the first page of this book that conflict almost destroyed her life and her ministry. Through diligent Bible study, especially passages pertaining to peace, Joyce began to understand how she could find peace in her life and her relationships.

Joyce says learning to resist conflict and strife is the key to peace and happiness in relationships. She quotes numerous Bible verses pertaining to peace such as Psalm 37:37 which say “Mark the blameless man and behold the upright, for there is a happy end for the man of peace.”

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Conflict Free Living: How to Build Healthy Relationships for Life
Conflict Free Living: How to Build Healthy Relationships for Life

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Author Joyce Meyer speaks from personal experience

One thing that attracts people to Joyce, her books, and her ministry is her willingness to be so open about her own failures and shortcomings. This makes others feel she is on their level instead of looking at her as a spiritual giant on a plane that they could never attain to. For example, in her books she frequently talks about how much she and her husband clashed in the early years of their marriage. Conflict Free Livingis no different.

In chapter nine of Conflict Free Living entitled “Disagree Agreeably and Magnify the Positive” Joyce talks about the conflict that arose with her husband Dave because of their differences. She goes on to say:

"One day in the midst of a verbal quarrel, Dave looked at me and said, ‘Joyce, I am doing the best I know how to do.’

"‘Well, so am I,’ I responded.

“We were finally just plain tired of picking on each other all the time and bickering. We actually shook hands. ‘Dave,’ I said, ‘I want you to know that I accept you today just the way you are. I believe that you are doing the best you can.’

‘Joyce, I accept you today the way you are,’ Dave replied. ‘I believe you are doing the best you can, too.’

“That was a new beginning for us! We finally started allowing each other freedom to be who we are.”

Freedom needed in relationships

“People need freedom in order to grow. But God can’t change a person if we stand in His way. God could not speak to Dave because I was too busy speaking to him. God could not change him because I was trying to change him. God needed my faith, not my help. Set the people in your life free, and trust God to make whatever changes are necessary.”

She also had to experience a similar epiphany with two of her four children which she discusses in the following chapter. She had intense conflict with her oldest son Dave for many years because he was so much like her. She says:

“After I forgave (son) Dave (for not meeting her expectations) and told him that I loved and accepted him, our relationship began to heal and change. Not long after that, God called him to go to Bible College. When he graduated from college, he married and spent one year on the mission field in Costa Rica. When he and his wife returned from the mission field, he took a job with us. He is now a key leader in our ministry.”

And finally: “The very things that I struggled with so much in his personality as a child have become the biggest blessing to us in his role in our ministry.”

Lack of peace begins internally

Joyce points out that strife often begins within a person, and relationship conflict is often an outgrowth of inner turmoil. To have peace, one must learn how to identify the symptoms of strife such as: pride (defensiveness), bitterness, hatred, judgment and criticism, deceptions and lies, anger, rebellion, unrest, and fear and negativity.

Pride often manifests itself in an unwillingness to admit we are wrong. Destructive words often follow, but soft answers and a gentle tongue promote peace. Humility is requisite for peaceful relationships. Strife in relationships also inhibits God’s blessing. We need to forgive offenses and look out for the interest of others while trusting God to look out for our interests.

Sometimes conflict stems from an individual’s feelings of insecurity and low self-worth which manifest themselves in self-hatred and self-rejection. Joyce says that if we don’t get along with ourselves, we won’t be able to get along with others. The other person (often unintentionally) either reminds us of what is missing in ourselves or what we don’t like about ourselves. How can we make peace with others if we can’t make peace with ourselves?

The book is written from a Biblical perspective and includes many Bible verses as references and encouragement to trust God to change us and help us with our struggles.

This is just a sample of the wonderful gems to be found in this book. It is probably one of those books that needs to be read more than once or referred to every so often to fully grasp the principles that are presented within.

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