Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A Gospel Centered Approach to Conflict - Part III

Perhaps you were able to identify your typical approach to conflict by reading Part I and/or Part II of this series.  So now what?

What if God uses conflict in your life and specifically in your marriage to make you more like His Son?  Consider Galatians 5:13-15 states:

 13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

For those of you who tend to be “attackers” reflect on a great line from Paul Tripp, “You will never know the peace of the King if you are trying to be the king.”  You have elevated your needs, your desires, your wants and your expectations to take precedence in your life.  Turn your self-centeredness over to God. 

For those of you who tend to be passive and withdraw, you are doing yourself and your spouse a disservice. God has designed marriage with the intent that we help one another to grow spiritually.   As an “avoider” and people pleaser I have spent much of my life running from conflict.  It has not served me or my God well.

Again drawing from the wisdom of Paul Tripp, he defines love as “a willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that doesn’t demand reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving.”

If you are an attacker there is no willing self-sacrifice, your domination is not for the good of the other but for your perceived good.  No reciprocation is needed because you are taking and not giving anything.  Your actions are only a love of self, not the other.

If you are a withdrawer you are sacrificing willingly but for self-centered reasons.  You want to avoid pain, to appease and keep the peace at all costs.  That is not for the good of the other but for your good.  You aren’t demanding reciprocation; you don’t expect anything, though you desire to avoid conflict.  You are not avoiding conflict out of your love for the other person but out of love for yourself.  Most likely bitterness and resentment has or will set in.

Whether you are an attacker or an avoider it is all about you, your needs and your comfort.  Being other-centered is one of the best ways to resolve conflict, however that doesn’t mean just giving in to the other.  It means going to the effort to truly understand one another’s position and attempting to arrive at a solution that would be pleasing to God.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a comment