TLP 368: The Spiritual War in Your Home, Part 14 | biblical conflict resolution for your family, part 2
Join us as AMBrewster unpacks the final 3 steps of Biblical Conflict Resolution for Christian families and unveils an important discovery.
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Discover the following episodes by clicking the titles or navigating to the episode in your app:
“Four Family Loves” series (starts in episode 128)
“The Communication House” (episode 38)
“Teach Your Children to Apologize” series (starts in episode 238)
“Forgiving Your Children” (episode 240)
“A Parent’s 5 jobs” series (starts in episode 184)
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Has there been any conflict in your home recently?
Likely — if your family is anything like mine — your family has experienced sibling conflict, parent/child conflict, and probably even spouse conflict over the past few days. And the more people you have living in your home, the greater the chances are that there has been conflict.
So, I’m glad you’re back for part 14 of our Spiritual War series which just so happens to be part 2 of our Biblical Conflict Resolution episode.
I hope you now understand how conflict plays into our daily spiritual warfare. And I hope your family is better able to appreciate how resolving those interpersonal confrontations is all part of God’s plan for your family.
I look forward to unpacking the second half of the steps necessary for reconciliation, but before we do that, please allow me to invite you to check out our TLP Store at TruthLoveParent.com.
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And, while you’re at TruthLoveParent.com, you can download our free episode notes from our blog, Taking Back the Family.
Now, let’s talk about Biblical Conflict Resolution.
Last time we laid this necessary foundation.
And since you all know that the next point obviously has to do with speaking in love, I’ll take the time to mention this:
Truth can be spoken in a non-loving, even hateful way. It doesn’t glorify God, but it can — and is often done. But it’s absolutely impossible to speak in a loving way if we’re not speaking the Truth.
Satan, the World, and the Flesh would have us believe that being loving is never telling anyone that they’re wrong — feeding their own personal delusion. But lying to people is anything and everything but loving.
I strongly encourage you to work through our “Four Family Loves” series with your kids. It’s unfortunate that children are want to blame their parents for being unloving when they actually are being as loving as God. It’s vitally important that we create a family dictionary that lines up with God’s plan for our families.
So . . .
4. We will never resolve conflict to God’s glory if we don’t speak lovingly.
This involves soooooooo many things including speaking truthfully. In “The Communication House” study we boil a loving response down to four things: humility, patience, kindness, and forgiveness.
We’ve already discussed the importance of humility, and will talk more about it later. We’ll also spend some time talking about forgiveness.
So, for this point, I want to highlight two facets of loving communication. One of them we’ve talked about before, but the first one is something new.
A. We must speak cautiously.
When people have neither prepared their minds nor made the time, chances are they will run headlong into the confrontation, tripping over their own words.
This is why Proverbs 12:18 warns us, “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
When there’s a conflict in your home, you are required by God to speak into it. I’m not saying you’re required to quell every one or fix every one, but — as the parent — you are required to have a hand in leading your family members to reconciliation. This is just as true if you’re not one of the ones involved as when you are.
Would your children say that when you insert yourself into their confrontations that your presence is “healing”?
Unfortunately, I think it’s fair to say that in most of the homes on our planet, conflict and confrontation definitely feel more like the rash thrusts of a sword than they do healing. And the consequences of such speech is just as harmful.
Speaking cautiously is the same as walking cautiously. My family and I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. There is more hiking and adventuring to do here than I think I could do in a lifetime. One of the most beautiful aspects of living here are the countless waterfalls.
But you have to be careful. The hikes can be treacherous and cavorting in and around the falls can be deadly. In situations like that, you must be cautious. Caution involves moving slowly and carefully considering every footstep and handhold. It involve deliberate inspection of the surrounding area and being alert to any dangers.
Cautious speech is identical. Mindless rambling is akin to sprinting full speed along a precipitous ledge on wet rocks! Take your words slowly; carefully consider each one. Is it Truth spoken in love? Are you using your word the way God would use your word?
James 1:19-20 gives us the same picture of cautious and purposeful speaking, “Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”
We’ve talked a lot about anger on this show. For those of you who haven’t heard those episodes, I’ll link some of them in the description of today’s show.
One of the things we learned about anger is that it’s not always sinful. In fact, the real problem is not that you’re angry, it’s how quick you became angry.
Proverbs 14:17 says that “a quick-tempered man acts foolishly,” and Proverbs 14:29 reveals that “he who is slow to anger has great understanding.” Four times in the book of Proverbs alone we’re told how valuable it is to be “slow to anger.”
Why slow? What does the speed of your anger have to do with anything?
If you react without thinking, you’re reacting in the flesh. You’ll never accidentally glorify God, and anything we do mindlessly is going to be motivated by self-worship.
Slow, deliberate, cautious anger is presupposed to have become angry because of careful consideration of the offense and what God has to say about it.
On the flip side, sinful anger is never allowed.
B. We must speak kindly.
This is something else we’ve discussed before. Our “Parenting Angry Children” series was such a blessing and so incredibly helpful in understanding what God means when he describes sinful anger and Christ-honoring kindness.
Please listen to those episodes if you haven’t already.
But let me take just a moment to explain that the kindness in Ephesians 4:32 is probably not what you’re imagining. Ephesians 4:31-32 reads, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
To put a very fine point on it, the word “kind” in verse 32 is designed to contrast with the word “bitterness” in verse 31.
I don’t have time to explain it all here, check out the “Angry Children” series, but the Greek words translated “bitterness” and “kind” can just as easily be translated “wickedness” and “goodness.” To be kind — according to Ephesians 4:32 — is to be good, virtuous, mild, pleasant, and gracious. It’s a word that beautifully sums up all that is good.
This includes speaking Truth in the most loving way possible. It includes everything in I Corinthians 13 and the rest of the Bible.
I would go so far as to say that what God means by “kindness” is a powerful, all-encompassing term that’s so much bigger than what we mean when we tell our kids to be kind to each other.
Before we move to our fifth point, let me read two passages that I believe illustrate well what kind speech look like:
I Peter 3:8-11 says, “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For, ‘The one who desires life, to love and see good days, Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit. 11 HE must turn away from evil and do good; HE must seek peace and pursue it.’”
And Colossians 3:12-13 tells us, "So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.”
And speaking of forgiveness . . .
5. We will never resolve conflict to God’s glory if we don’t request and grant forgiveness.
Last time as we discussed making the time, we saw God’s opinion concerning handling sin from both sides of the fence.
In Luke 17:3-4 we see the importance of conflict resolution from the perspective of the one against whom the sin has been committed, “Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
Tied to the command to rebuke we see the immediate secondary command to forgive — in the case the individual repents.
Then in Matthew 5:23-24 we see the responsibility of the one who has done the sinning: “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”
True Christ-honoring conflict resolution will always involve reconciliation, and reconciliation requires repentance and forgiveness.
We don’t have time to discus the details — what it means to confess, apologize, and repent — we have other episodes that go into great detail about that — so I would encourage you to seek those out.
For now, we must accept that all Christ-honoring conflict resolution will always involve the requesting and granting of forgiveness.
To be clear, if one side is ready to forgive, but the other is too prideful to acknowledge their sin, the conflict has not been resolved.
However, if the offending party is ready to confess and repent, no resolution will be enjoyed if the offended party refuses to forgive.
In spiritual warfare, we must be working toward reconciliation at every point. This is the grand responsibility toward which all Christian parents have been called.
And — on most occasions — this will not involve one party waiting for the other to admit how they were 100% wrong while the other was 100% right. As the imperfect and incomplete creatures we are, in most conflict situations we are both right on some points and wrong on others.
We may speak the Truth without love. We may not speak the Truth consistently throughout our argument. And our family member may do the same.
Therefore, we must not enter into conflict prepared to accept forgiveness alone. We must always be ready to seek it as we discover where we have been wrong.
Do you remember the first and second points? Sometimes we need to start the apologies by not being thankful for the conflict, asking forgiveness for the log in our own eye and not dealing with the log in our own eye. We may have to repent for not seeing the real spiritual enemy because we weren’t utilizing the real spiritual weapon. And we may need to ask forgiveness for not making the time.
I also need to mention that all truly born again Christians will confess, ask forgiveness, and repent of their sin. Yes, they will repeat this process over and over until they day they die, but no blood-bought believer will ultimately refuse to repent.
We’ll talk about this more in a minute.
On this show we regularly remind all of us that we are called to be intentional, premeditated, disciple-making, Ambassador Parents. That last part about being Ambassadors comes from many Scriptures, but the one I love the most is II Corinthians 5:18-21, “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Our personal highest calling in this grand spiritual war is to stand against sin and Satan. But when it comes to those whom God brings into our lives, our greatest calling is to help them stand against sin and Satan.
We help our family members and our spiritual brothers and sisters to stand firm on the battlefields of the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life.
And when they fall, we do what Galatians 6:1-2 and James 5:19-20 command: “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” “If any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
And it’s this Truth that perfectly transitions into our final point.
In order to resolve conflict to God’s glory, we must prepare our minds, make the time, speak the Truth, speak lovingly, and request and grant forgiveness.
6. We will never resolve conflict to God’s glory if we don’t invite assistance when all of our Christ-honoring attempts to resolve the conflict fail.
What do I mean by that? Just because you’ve said everything you can say and your family member has refused to see God’s will and repent, doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.
There’s on more step that must be taken.
Consider Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:15-18, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.”
That is consistent with everything we’ve learned, and it sums up well our desired response.
However, “16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
“But, Aaron, isn’t getting outsiders involved in our family affair inappropriate? Are you suggesting we may need to bring our family members before the church?”
It’s not really about what I’m suggesting. What is Christ saying? Is this passage really to be understood solely within the context of one adult Christian to another?
Matthew 18 starts with a call to conversion that comes from the faith of a child. It then describes a person who would cause a little one to stumble in his faith — someone who would be used by Satan and the Flesh to tempt someone to sin. Jesus says, “it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Jesus then talks more about stumbling blocks and goes into the famous passage about radical amputation. “If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.”
Then verses 12-14 talk about the precious nature of one lost sheep. The shepherd would be willing to leave the 99 to seek the one that is lost.
The whole passage is about how beautiful an obedient believer is and how wicked they are who would cause them to sin.
And then Jesus transitions into the verses we read earlier.
No, Jesus is not talking solely about what some may call “Church Discipline” or “Excommunication.” I believe that’s a far too limited understanding of the text. This passage refers to any and all discipline . . . or, should we say, discipleship.
That means that — assuming my son is born again— if my son sins, I must go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to me, I have won my brother. But if he does not listen to me, I need to take one or two more with me, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, we must tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to us as a Gentile and a tax collector.
This is a massive topic — one we can’t cover in all it’s detail here — but let me say that nothing is more important that the saving of a soul. Those who would put the soul danger are wicked and deserve to die. We should be willing to sacrifice everything to save a soul, even if that means going to extremes and getting others involved in order to help that soul be reconciled to God.
Yes, it may result in my child refusing my conflict resolution, the correction of godly men and women, and even the loving intervention fo the church. And yes, I may have to accept the fact that — in that situation — my child is not born again as they may have previously professed.
But Jesus would have us take that final step in order that the church may better understand the spiritual plight of this individual. It’s not so that we refuse to communicate with them. It’s so that we can interact with them as we would any other unbeliever — we lovingly share the Gospel with them as the salt and light we’re called to be.
This is the point to which I alluded earlier. Jesus Himself makes it clear that someone who refuses to be reconciled in the face of biblical conflict resolution must be treated as an unbeliever because believers don’t act that way.
And this is my seventh and final point:
Our role in the spiritual warfare of our family members may best be described as discipleship.
Within a military context, we may refer to it as the process of making, equipping, and supporting a soldier.
In a family, it’s making, equipping, and supporting a born again follower of Christ.
If you have not listened to “A Parents 5 Jobs,” you need to make that your next priority. That series sums up the grand totality of what it means to be a parent, but it perfectly describes our role when it comes to engaging the Flesh in other people.
As Ambassadors we use the Bible to teach, reprove, correct, and train. Each of those steps are absolutely vital in making, equipping, and supporting your children and your spouse in their spiritual warfare.
And Biblical Conflict Resolution — in a nutshell — is the reproof stage of discipleship.
Can you imagine? The second stage of parenting, the instrumental step that comes right before reconciliation, counsel, and training in righteousness is the stage we neglect or do so poorly.
It’s no wonder we’re not seeing more victory in the spiritual warfare in our homes.
Now, before we end, allow me to read Colossians 3:1-17 for a beautiful description of the goal, mindset, and method into which God would have us mature when it comest to interacting with the flesh in ourselves and each other: “1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. 5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— 11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
I’m very much looking forward to our final episode in this series. In a way, I’m sad that it will be coming to an end, and yet I know that every episode we produce deals with our spiritual warfare in one way or another.
I’m looking forward to it because it’s about the only way your family can have the ultimate victory in your spiritual war.
Until then, if you need assistance in resolving conflict in your home, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com, or give us a call at (828) 423-0894.
Remember, if we want our children to grow up into Christ, we must parent in truth and love.
To that end, join us next time as we look at what it takes to be a conquering family.
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