TLP 535: Biblical Conflict Resolution, Part 1 | prepare your worldview


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TLP 536: Biblical Conflict Resolution, Part 2 | prepare your reaction

You cannot control another person. This means that you can't force anyone to be reconciled to you.
All you can do is your own part. Parenting isn't about us. In fact, parenting isn't even about our kids.
Parenting is just one way Christian dads and moms are to worship God. So welcome to the Truth Love Parent Podcast, where we train dads and moms to give
God the preeminence in their parenting. I'm overjoyed that you are joining us for our newest biblical parenting series called
Biblical Conflict Resolution. I pray this content will not only help you resolve past conflict, but also avoid future conflict.
The exact same steps necessary to fix the problem will also protect you from the problem in the first place.
As a biblical counselor, so much of what I do involves conciliation and reconciliation. It may be between spouses, parents with their children, fellow church members, or long -time friends.
Conflict affects everyone, and when we don't respond to it correctly, any relationship can be destroyed.
So let's start by laying a foundation for the series, and then address our first point. The first foundation stone that must be laid is a correct understanding of what conflict really is.
Merriam -Webster has two main definitions that will fit our understanding of this topic. The first definition is fight, battle, or war.
The second definition has two facets. A. Competitive or opposing action of incompatibles, antagonistic state or action, as of divergent ideas, interests, or persons.
And B. Mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands.
Now, these definitions are fine, but for the sake of this study, I believe it's important for us to be more specific in how we define conflict.
If you search for the English word conflict in the Legacy Standard Bible, you will find four instances, and each of them are translating a different Hebrew or Greek word.
The first is used in Jeremiah 50 .24 and has the idea of engaging in strife. In other passages, the word is translated content, mobilize, provoke, stirs, strive, and wage war.
The second word translated conflict is found in Daniel 10 .1. This Hebrew word refers most often to an army, war, or warfare.
It's translated in many ways, but hosts, armies, and army are the most often used translations for the word.
Philippians 1 .30 uses a Greek word that refers to a contest or struggle. It's translated fight, opposition, race, and struggle.
And finally, Hebrews 10 .32 uses a word that only shows up one time in the New Testament and denotes combat or a contest of athletes.
Still, though, the meanings of these Hebrew and Greek words fail to be as specific as we require for this conversation.
I believe the missing element is part of many of these definitions and understandings, but I think we need to shine a spotlight on that particular element instead of merely assuming its existence.
I'm going to expound on this more in a few minutes, but for now I want to propose that we understand the word conflict, as we are going to use it in this series, to refer to situations that involve sin.
It may be coming from everyone involved in the conflict, or it may be coming from only one person, but there is definitely sin involved in the confrontation.
If there is no sin, we're not going to refer to it as conflict. Therefore, number one, conflict always involves sin.
You're going to see why this specific understanding is so important in a few minutes, but let's move on to the second one. The second foundation stone that must be laid is number two, resolution is one -sided, but reconciliation is two -sided.
You cannot control another person. Even though you may be able to pick up your toddler and place her in a playpen, you are not truly controlling her in any meaningful way.
You have absolutely no control over her mind. What she believes, thinks, and desires may be influenced by you, but you can't make her believe, think, or desire anything.
She must willingly choose to do the right things in the right ways for the right reasons. This means that you can't force anyone to be reconciled to you.
All you can do is your own part. Whether you were the person who sinned in the conflict or not, we're going to see that God expects each of us individually to resolve our side of the situation in Christ -honoring ways.
Therefore, please don't come to this series expecting that the information you're going to learn can be used to change anyone else in your family.
Yes, if they learn it and submit to it, they will be changed, but you have no control over that. First and foremost,
God expects you to deal with your own heart. We talked about this a few episodes ago in our
If You Want to See Change in Your Family, You Absolutely Must episode. By the way, any episodes
I reference and more oftentimes can be found linked in the description of today's show. So those are the absolutely vital truths we must believe if we're going to be able to approach this topic of biblical conflict resolution in a valuable way.
Now before we get into the meat of today's episode, you should know that today's show is being brought to you by Faith Tree Biblical Counseling and Discipleship.
Faith Tree is the counseling arm of Evermind Ministries, and you can find our really powerful online courses on the
Evermind app. One of those courses is called Suffering Well. I originally designed the course for a group of men who all had terminal diagnoses.
However, even though this particular group was dealing with medical suffering, I presented the material so that it applies to every kind of suffering.
This includes the suffering that comes with relational conflict. There are 12 sessions ranging from 30 to 60 minutes each.
Each session also comes with life work and additional resources. We discuss what suffering is, the reasons we suffer, the various responses to suffering.
Then there are eight sessions where we get super practical, and we finish off by studying suffering in the book of 1
Peter. The course normally costs $50, but you can get it now for only $25. There's a link in the description.
If you don't have a free account on the Evermind app, be sure to make one. Otherwise, you can directly add the course to your resources.
If you're not suffering now, you will be at some point in the future. Suffering is unavoidable, but Suffering Well demands intentionality.
Add the Suffering Well online course to your Evermind app for only $25 today. Okay, let's talk about why we're requiring that conflict always involves sin.
There are three main facets to biblical conflict resolution—preparation, timing, and content.
The first four episodes are going to deal with the preparation phase, and the first way we must all prepare for conflict is to prepare our worldview about the nature of conflict and disagreement in general.
If we enter conflict with the wrong beliefs, we will never be able to resolve it. You can't correctly solve 2 plus 2 if you write down 2 plus 1.
In the same way, we must view disagreement and conflict correctly. So, here's how we all need to prepare our worldview for biblical conflict resolution.
Believe that disagreement is not inherently bad. Let me tell you, my friends, the vast majority of family conflict and strife in my own home, the home of my friends, and the homes of my counselees rarely starts as a matter of blatant sin.
It normally starts with a simple disagreement. But that disagreement becomes conflict and creates strife when the participants within the disagreement start sinning against each other.
Why does this happen? Well, it all begins with the reality that nearly every human being hates to be contradicted.
We hate it when others disagree with us. We hate to be told we're wrong. We hate for it to be intimated that we're wrong.
And that's exactly what disagreement is. When someone disagrees with us, whether they say it directly or not, it's clear that they don't think our opinion, view, or way was right.
They disagree. But disagreement is not inherently bad.
In fact, in many cases, disagreement is not only good, it's biblical and right and necessary. But if we view all disagreement as conflict, then we'll never be able to resolve true conflict in a
Christ -honoring way. Now, in order to biblically understand this truth, there are three key ideas we must embrace.
Number one, disagreeing with God is always a sin. Psalm 119 .160
teaches that the sum of God's Word is truth, and every one of His righteous ordinances is everlasting.
In John 17 .17, Jesus asked the Father to sanctify them in the truth. Your Word is truth.
These verses and many others establish the fact that everything God is, desires, and says is 100 % accurate and true.
Therefore, to disagree with Him will always result in us being wrong. And disagreeing with God always grows from some sin of some kind, the most basic of which is disbelief.
The fact that disagreeing with God is a sin is illustrated in Matthew 18 .15 -17 where we read, If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private.
If he listens to you, you have won your brother. 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.
What's going on here? Well, there was a disagreement between how the person was living and how God said that they should live.
Instead of submitting to God, he sinned, and that sin needed to be confronted because he was categorically wrong in what he did, and he was wrong because he was disagreeing with God.
1 Corinthians 11 .17 -22 says, But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse.
For in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you, and in part I believe it.
For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you. Therefore, when you meet together, it is not to eat the
Lord's Supper. For in your eating, each one takes his own supper first, and one is hungry and another is drunk.
What? Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink, or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing?
What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you. There are two important truths here, the first of which reestablishes what we've already learned, where God has defined his expectations, it's wrong to disagree with him about how things are done.
But the second is quite interesting. Verse 19 reads, for there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote these words to help us understand that there absolutely must be disagreements in the church between those who are disobeying
God and those who are not. It's a sin to disagree with God, but it's not a sin to disagree with the person who's disagreeing with God.
But what about disagreements between people that don't seem to be delineated biblically? What if the
Bible doesn't specifically talk about how a person is to dress, act in certain situations, what they're to wear or eat, or the types of entertainment they like?
For example, most of you already know that I don't like most sports. I don't enjoy watching them and I don't really enjoy playing them.
Now, I thoroughly enjoy spending time with the other people who are watching or playing the game. I love the relational aspect of the experience, but I will rarely ever choose on my own accord to watch your average sporting event.
Is it okay for me to disagree with you about that? Yeah, it is. Number two, disagreeing in areas of liberty is not a sin.
Romans 14, 1 through 23 is a lengthy treatise on the types of food that Christians were choosing to eat or avoid.
Verses 2 through 4 read, And one person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.
The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.
Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls, and he will stand, for the
Lord is able to make him stand. The passage goes on to address the different observances among God's people.
I strongly encourage you to read the whole passage. You will see that it is completely acceptable for two or more brothers and sisters in Christ to disagree with each other about equally
Christ -honoring diets and holidays. This principle is illustrated for us in Acts 15, 36 through 41.
I am going to read this passage in its entirety. After some days Paul said to Barnabas, Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaim the word of the
Lord and see how they are. Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also, but Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work.
And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.
But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Which of them was right? Well, we can't know. All we know is that even though Paul didn't want to take
John Mark with him on that journey, he later spoke very well of both Barnabas and John Mark in 1 Corinthians 9 .6
and 2 Timothy 4 .11. Was it a sin to reject John Mark's participation in that missionary journey?
We can't say, but we know that Paul and Barnabas disagreed. Now as long as they didn't sin in their disagreement, it was perfectly fine for them to disagree on this point.
It was acceptable for Paul to not take John Mark, and it was perfectly appropriate for Barnabas to take him.
Now some will point to the phrasing, sharp disagreement, to imply that there was sin involved between the two of them, thus turning the disagreement into conflict.
However, we can't conclude that from the text. The Greek word translated sharp disagreement in this passage is only used in one other passage in the whole
Bible. It's used in Hebrews 10 .24 where it commands us, let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.
That's right, the word stimulate is the same Greek word. I highly doubt that any of you are wearing what
I am wearing right now. You don't live where I live, don't go to church where I go to church, and probably didn't eat what
I ate today. You also likely don't enjoy the same games, movies, and music.
You may not observe Halloween, and you probably don't hang out with any of my friends.
And all of that is completely okay. We can disagree on any and all of those points in a
Christ -honoring way that absolutely will not involve conflict. It won't cause strife. There will be no sin.
Now that doesn't mean we couldn't choose to sin in our disagreement. We might sadly embrace pride, unkindness, impatience, cutting words, and hatefulness in our disagreement, but it's not required simply because we disagree.
And this is right where our society exists. I'm sad to say that so many Christians exist in the same cultural misunderstanding on this point.
Our American culture believes that to disagree with a person is to hate him or her. People don't understand how those who have strong disagreements can be friends.
The very presence of disagreement is an invitation for raised voices and unkindness. That's why our final point is, number three, sinfully disagreeing on any topic is a sin.
And from here on out, we're going to refer to this kind of disagreement as conflict. First Corinthians 13, 1 says,
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
God is not glorified if we're being unloving. Even if our words are biblical, sinful hatred, which is the antithesis of biblical love, makes our speaking those words a sin.
And let's not forget the powerful truths taught in James 4, 1 -4. What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you?
Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and you do not have, so you commit murder.
You are envious and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may be spended on your pleasures.
You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God?
Sinful fighting is always the result of spiritual adultery, otherwise known as idolatry.
Therefore, in order to avoid conflict and resolve it when it arises, we must recognize that disagreement is not inherently sinful.
Yes, it is a sin to disagree with God every time, but we have great liberty in how we of our lives and that disagreement only ever becomes sinful when we choose to inject some other sin into the disagreement.
Now I know this is a parenting podcast, so before we finish up today, I want to address a question that is likely on a number of your minds.
Can we, the parents, really say that it's okay for our kids to disagree with us? Is that ever going to be all right?
Let's break this down. When parents and children disagree. 1. Are they disagreeing with us about something that is clearly biblical?
If we are being ambassadors of God and holding our children to the expectations God communicates in the Bible, then they are ultimately not disagreeing with us so much as they are disagreeing with God.
So yes, that disagreement is obviously a sin. It is conflict. But I hope that you can recognize that the element that makes this disagreement a sin has nothing to do with the fact that they're disagreeing with you.
But what if it's not a clear biblical command? Is it a sin for our kids to disagree with our views on curfews, the value of certain foods, clothing styles, music, etc.?
2. Are they disagreeing with us about legitimate areas of Christian liberty? I acknowledge that I am potentially opening a huge can of worms.
In order to navigate this point to God's glory, we have to assume that none of the disagreements we're discussing in this section are inherently sinful.
If the Bible is clear on a point, then any disagreement removes it from this category and lands it in the previous.
Also, I'm just going to pull all these examples of disagreements from my own family. There have been times where my children, specifically my son, has believed that a different curfew would be best for him.
My wife and son enjoy coffee. I hate the stuff. I would completely ban it from my home if it were up to me.
My kids also prefer other foods that I don't like and don't like some foods that I do. My kids don't always wear outfits
I would wear. I'm not saying they're immodest or inappropriate in any way, but they're just not my style. My children mostly enjoy music that I enjoy, but they have some music preferences that they prefer, which
I do not. On the other hand, my wife absolutely loves music that I just despise. Again, I don't hate her music because of the sinful content, but simply due to the style.
Now, to what degree is this disagreement appropriate, and when might it cause issues?
Letter A. As long as we're not disagreeing with God, basic disagreement is okay.
Letter B. Disagreement doesn't permit disobedience. It doesn't matter what curfew, music, dress, food, or entertainment preferences my family has.
If I tell them they are not allowed to stay out past a certain time, listen to a certain kind of music, dress a certain way, eat certain kinds of foods, or engage in certain forms of entertainment, then they would be disobeying if they did.
That in and of itself is a sin. The disagreement's not a sin. It's the participation in something they were told not to do.
But I have to ask this question so that we can really work through it. Is it still wrong for them to disagree even if they're following the rules?
No, not inherently. It's actually a sign of maturity to be able to disagree without sinning, and I want my children to become mature, so I definitely want to teach them how to do this.
I've been in this situation on many occasions. You probably have too. When my former employer and I would disagree,
I would tell him why I disagreed, but I always assured him that I would do exactly what he wanted me to do whether I disagreed with it or not.
Now, obviously, we're talking about non -sinful issues. Not only was he my employer, he was also my friend, and I believe it's our ability to love each other despite our various disagreements that strengthened our friendship.
So yes, your children have to obey God all the time, and yes, your children have to obey you whether they agree with you or not all of the time.
But that doesn't mean that they aren't allowed to hold to their own opinions in areas of liberty. And I know this point right here will be the real sticking point for some of you.
You recognize that disagreements all too often lead to sinful conflict. You know just how hard it is to submit to a rule when you believe there's a better way.
And let's be honest, some of us simply hate the fact that our kids think we're wrong about something. But here's the thing.
You can't force your child to agree with you. You might scare them or strong -arm them into pretending to agree with you, but if they think they should be allowed to stay out past midnight or wear a certain style of clothing or listen to a certain style of music, or they just don't think that Brussels sprouts have to be cooked every single night, very little you're going to say or do is genuinely going to change that disagreement.
That is, unless they change their own minds about the topic. And yes, quite often, they do need to change their minds on the topic.
Their preferences are often the result of immaturity. And yes, it's completely appropriate and necessary to influence your children toward maturity.
For example, your kids may not share your love for certain vegetables because your kids are immature and don't appreciate healthy foods.
They need to grow out of that. And it's completely appropriate for you to require them to eat their foods and teach them how eating said foods pleases the
Lord. But the inherent reality that they don't happen to like the food is actually okay, as long as they're glorifying
God in their disagreement. Your kids' immaturity may cause them to only ever want to wear t -shirts and warm -ups, though it's not inherently a sin to do so, assuming where they're going doesn't have a dress code.
A mature individual recognizes all the benefits of dressing for the occasion, so definitely teach your child to be mature, but don't make the disagreement the main thing.
When you engage in war over the sheer presence of the disagreement, you're attacking the wrong thing and thereby putting the focus where it doesn't belong.
It's not about your preference versus theirs. It's about obeying God, which includes obeying you and growing in their spiritual maturity.
So we're going a little longer than I planned today. Let me close with a couple reflection questions. Number one, how do you respond to sinless disagreements?
If you hate them, if you just hate it when people disagree with you over non -sin issues, please understand that response is revealing immaturity and pride in your life.
It's actually just throwing into sharp relief your own sin. Thank God for shining his light on it and start addressing it today.
Number two, what do you need to do differently to respond correctly to sinless disagreements?
Maybe you need to start spending more time with people who don't think like you on every point and learn to love them the way
God does. Maybe you can sit and listen to their point of view without feeling the need to debate them on the topic.
Maybe you can maturely engender Christ -honoring relationships around what really matters and ignore the superficial disagreements.
Again, I am not talking about clear sin issues. This is not some spineless empty attempt to say we all just need to be unified and tolerant.
No, sin needs to be addressed all of the time, but the fact that someone occasionally drinks a glass of wine or a woman wears modest pants or someone uses a different version of the
Bible or they prefer alternative forms of medicine, none of that should cause division in the body of Christ.
Thanks for taking the time to listen to today's episode. I hope you'll listen to every episode in this series and I pray each of them will challenge, encourage, bless, and equip you to be more
Christ -honoring parents. Please share Truth Love Parent with your friends and never hesitate to reach out to 2Counselor at TruthLoveParent .com
or call 828 -423 -0894 if you need individualized family counsel.
Now that we've laid this groundwork for preparing our belief system for biblical conflict resolution, on our next episode, we plan to talk about what it looks like to prepare our minds for conflict.