walk in the word
26Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. 27Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. —proverbs 4:26
We believe that family matters; that’s why we let God’s Word speak into family matters! I mean, I know what it’s like at our house. People are going through some things. The specifics may change but the dynamics are the same. Sparks fly and conflict erupts. Having conflict isn’t what defines a family; it’s how you handle conflict that really defines who you are as a family.
So the word conflict, not surprisingly, comes from the Latin conflictus. It means the act of striking together, opposing action that results when two things are incompatible. That’s conflict. Incompatible opinions, clashing actions, contradictory demands in the home, cross-purposes and desires—these incompatibilities produce conflict.
Now, let me note here that I’m focusing for the moment on negative conflict. Not all conflict in the home is negative. Sometimes conflict can be necessary, constructive and helpful when it leads us to solve some things. But I’m thinking about negative conflict. I’m talking about tears falling, hurtful words, multiple issues, wounding others, and stifling honest expression. Conflict itself is inevitable. But negative conflict can be very destructive and ultimately devastating if we don’t get a handle on it.
So how do we get a handle on conflict? The book of Proverbs in the Old Testament is full of wise counsel about identifying, avoiding, and settling conflict. It encourages and directs our efforts to evaluate conflict. Proverbs 4:26 says this: “Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.” Think about where this road is taking you. You are on a path. Ponder your patterns of relating. You have certain ways of behaving. You have certain priorities in your marriage, in your family, and if you are not married, then with your parents, with your siblings. Take a minute or ten to evaluate.
Look at that word established. It means decided, intentional, and thought-through. The reason we have to evaluate conflict is that we often live life on automatic pilot, without considering how our past experiences and upbringing have shaped our actions. There’s nothing like marriage to teach you that there’s more than one way to look at things! Evaluating conflict helps us realize that our way is not necessarily the right way.
The willingness to honestly evaluate conflict demonstrates very clearly how submitted you are to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, His way is the right way.
Prayer: Father, I recognize that I often don’t evaluate conflict because I assume I’m right. But if I insist on my way, I immediately come into conflict with You, because I intend that my life should be about Your will and not my own. For this reason, teach me to be open to evaluating conflict in my life as a doorway into deeper obedience to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
brought to you by change partners