Family Conflict : Why it happens and what can reduce it.
When conflict stikes the home
Conflict is something that comes to every household. It does not matter if you are rich or poor, if your family is large or small, it does not matter if you children are grown or at home. Every member is not alike and therefore there can rises conflict from this. In the family of God, however, we are all treated the same. There are no children that are given more love than another
It is time to bring restoration back to the families. It is time to take those that have done wrong and those that have offend and take them back in. The verse above says that if you cry out to him he will restore it. There are many things that can pull a family apart but there are two things that can bring a family together:
- There has to be a genuine love for the family unit
- There has to be a want for the unity
The things that cause division are:
- Self-indulgence and self-service - this is when you throw out everything for yourself
Genesis 25: 19-34
From the beginning you see that there is a struggle in the family. This continues to a climax at the end of the chapter. Interestingly enough Abraham was considered a righteous man. One would think that the two would grow up content with each other. However, let us look at verse 28. There is a separation of love on this family. There is one that loves one child and one that loves the other. This is a problem that we have today. In a family of multiple children it is so easy for the parent to choose one child that they adore. The other children start to feel lesser than the other child. This causes strife between the parents and the children.
- Stressand being worn out.
A mind that is constantly thinking of the burdens of life does not think clearly. Discernment is not prominent when the family is in a state of exacerbation. Nor can the family function as a unit when there is stress and when people have no energy to put into the unit. How many times has conflict been caused just because the members of that family just do not have the energy to go on? When the family gets in a starved state then they will give up important parts of their family (such as a birthright) for something trifle (such as a bite of meat).
What is interesting about the passage of 25-34 is that the birthright was not Esau's to give away! The birthright was entitled to Esau but it was actually the properly of Abraham until he passed. It would be like us disputing a will that has not been written yet. Let us look at the folly in this as we tend to do the same thing in other areas concerning our family. See in that time the oldest would get a double portion of all assets that were owned by the family. There was also a blessing that would be bestowed. To modernize what he did let us consider: A man that puts another thing (money, another woman, their job, hobbies, etc.) before God and their family has sold there double portion for those things. The double portion would be the family members that come from the children and their children and so on. The love that comes from the family is hindered and does not continue on if it is stopped up. The blessing is of course grandchildren and their children. The blessing is the association in the community of one's sons/ daughters with your family.
- The competitive nature of the World is brought into the household
In the world it is inevitable that we have to strive to get by. Mothers and Fathers both have to work to keep food on the table. In a job one has to outperform the other employees in the job for advancement. Even those that work for themselves have to be better than the competition if he/she wants to stay in business. The world pushes the individual for more and more and more. Unfortunately, this competitive nature seeps into the household. Instead of sharing in the things that would bless the family, most family units have the mindset that they need to get something to give something. Instead of a partnership with the wife or husband the two act like partners in a business with each parent competing for the most affection from their children.
So what do we do?
Let us go back to the first verse Psalms 107:19-22. If we cry out to God then he will hear us. The bible also tells us to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all you ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight." I do not want to just give you scriptures though. I am not saying that scriptures are not important. However, actions do speak louder than words and so here are a few biblical things that you can do to secure and strengthen you family unit:
- Treat your wife or husband as you think God would treat you (Ephesians 5:22-25)
- Do not let the sun go down on your wrath (Ephesians 4:26) - this means that one must swallow one's pride and talk things out. Families crumble and marriages fall apart because there is not a strong area of communication. The problems boil and pressurize until the lid blows off and the damage is too great. By talking to each other about the things that anger us then the issue is resolved and brought to the light. What is more is that we need to LET THINGS GO after they are discussed.
- Discipline your children (Proverbs 23:13) - I know that this is a big NO NO in today's world but it is biblically sound. A problem with the family unit is that children have taken on the role of the parent and the parent has not established the authority in the home. A home that has a sound system of authority (God, Father, Mother, and then children) will be a house that prospers.
- Try to establish peace in all situations (Hebrews 12:12-17) - This is not saying that you should tolerate sin. NO on the contrary. One should try to establish peace in all situations. Sometimes peace requires separation from the problem (for example: if there is an individual that is determined to live a sinful life that you know would negatively weigh on your family then there may be a need to separate oneself from that person if after confronting that person they refuse to change.)
- Go to church - The bible tells us not to forsake the assembly of the brothers. There is something that can be found in the company of live people that genuinely care for the wellbeing of you and your family. A television does not provide this. Another thing to consider is this: In a time of need which would be more preferred, a telephone line that could or could not answer immediately to provide counsel or a local individual that can come to you in your time of need.
- Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) - Ideally this would mean to pray all day long. However, the reality of it is that most of us cannot do this. Should one strive to do this? Yes. If we are like most people we cannot keep our mind in a state of prayer long enough to do this. I would encourage the individual to try for at least once a day to pray, and do not just do the I need prayers, but also do a little thanking.
The family is the second most important thing in our lives after God. We should strive to keep it together and conflict free.