CONFLICT RESOLUTION IN RELATIONSHIPS

The goal of this series to discover the secrets of great relationships, to challenge you, and above all equip you, to grow in your ability to conduct healthy, loving, lasting relationships.  

Today I want to address something that every relationship experiences, but not many use to their advantage. Conflict. 

When it comes to conflict we tend to have the same reactions as when we are threatened, we either experience FIGHT or FLIGHT reactions.

Who here wanted the argument to just go away, or felt an impulse to get away from the conflict?

And who had an uncontrollable desire to go sort it all out?

Conflict arises when two people disagree over their values, motivations, perceptions, ideas, or desires. 

When conflict is mismanaged, it can harm the relationship.

But when handled in a respectful and positive way, conflict provides an opportunity for growth, ultimately strengthening the bond between two people. 

By learning the skills you need for successful conflict resolution, you can keep your personal and professional relationships strong and growing. 

We need to learn to fight well, and that means we need a healthy approach to conflict

Healthy responses to conflict are characterized by: · 

·The capacity to recognize, and respond to, matters that are important to others.

· Sticking to the issue at hand

· A readiness to forgive and forget 

The ability to seek compromise and avoid punishing the other person 

· A belief that resolution can support the interests and needs of both parties 

Unhealthy responses to conflict are characterized by

· An inability to recognize and respond to matters of great importance to the other person 

· Explosive, angry, hurtful, and resentful reactions

· Bringing up past issues and clouding the present issues

 · The withdrawal of love, resulting in rejection, isolation, shaming, and fear of abandonment 

· The expectation of bad outcomes 

· The fear and avoidance of conflict

This morning I want to talk specifically about problem solving in our relationships.

Nehemiah was commissioned by God to re-build the walls of Jerusalem his home city, after it had been burnt to the ground, and its population taken into captivity. 

The Holy Spirit began to show me that many people here have had something destroyed by the enemy that was once a symbol of strength, security and community. The good news is that it doesn’t have to stay that way and God is in the business of rebuilding and reconciliation. 

One of the things that the book of Nehemiah highlights is that whenever you are passionate about building something of strength, there will be opposition to it!

1) Understand that conflict is normal and inevitable.

Some people try to avoid conflict at all costs, this usually comes from a deep fear rooted in past experiences. If you understand that Conflict is a normal, and even healthy, part of relationships, and that differences and disagreements are inevitable, learning to deal with them in a healthy way is crucial. You can use either conflict to strengthen a relationship, or it can break a relationship.

Nehemiah 6:9 They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued the work with even greater determination

You can allow conflict to intimidate you and to stop you building OR you can continue the work with even greater determination

2) Coming to the revelation that your problem is my problem.  

When you realise that whenever when there is a problem in a relationship, its not just one person’s problem. If you want the relationship to continue then you need to see it as your problem too.

When you realise this there comes a greater motivation to help resolve the problem.  You realise that you have a part to play in fixing the problem instead of merely pointing the finger or blaming.  Instead of waiting for the other person to get over it, fix the problem, or get their act together, you realise that as long as they have the problem you have the problem!

  • Some problems are impossible for one person to handle alone, that’s why God put us in relationships.  Each problem becomes easier to solve because there are two people working on it rather than one, Two peoples determination to get through, two peoples brains thinking of solutions, two peoples strength when things get tough. –accountability, support, encouragement, praise

10    If one falls down,

    the other can help him up.

    But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls,

    because no one is there to help.

 

  • The next time you have a problem you know there is someone who is going to understand, be there for you, you begin to realise you’re on the same team not in competition.  You begin to support one another’s weaknesses and play the game together.

3) Initiate communication

Things don’t build up to explosion point in your relationships.

  • I give my friends opportunity to share openly and honestly with me re; my faults.
  • I show my partner that I am serious about the health of our relationship 

Eg:  D and C who couldn’t talk to each other, so instead they prayed together and used their prayer time to raise the issues in prayer.

4) Idiosyncrasies vs Character

Get people to work out the difference. There is a big difference.

Accept the idiosyncrasies and deal with the character issues

  1. Never attack with personal words

When we have the revelation that words live forever we will use them differently. The words we speak don’t vanish into thin air after we have spoken them.  They live on in the hearts and Spirits of the people we have said them to.

Proverbs 12:18 There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing.
James 1:19-20 This you know, my beloved brethren But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

The words we say will either produce life or death in our relationships.  We need to make a commitment that in the heat of conflict we will not be personally destructive with our words, we won’t bring up the past, and we won’t belittle the person who we are in conflict with.  Conflicts are resolved when we attack issues not people!

If you have used personal words you need to apologise unreservedly!

 

6) Work out a plan before you enter the intersection, don’t wait until there’s a conflict

Its too late to work out where you are going to turn when a car is heading straight towards you, it becomes every man for himself.

Work out the areas in a relationship that are potential hazards and conflict triggers. Discuss a plan to navigate these and rules for engagement BEFORE a conflict arises.

We’ve seen that the risk of entering into friendships and relationships is a real thing.  Relationships take work, they need deposits from us in order to be maintained.   Building relationships at times may seem more like a liability than a pleasure, an assignment that none of us can safely or effectively complete, It may be tempting to remain aloof and alone, but the truth is that being alone is probably the most miserable existence of all. 

Ecclesiasties. 4
    Again I saw something here on earth that was useless:
8    I saw a man who had no family,
    no son or brother.(in other words a man without relationships)
    He always worked hard
    but was never satisfied with what he had.
    He asked himself, “For whom am I working so hard?
    Why don’t I let myself enjoy life?”
    This also is very sad and useless.

There is no one more lonely than the person who lives for themselves.  Even if they are successful, work hard, gain great wealth the Bible says in the end there is no satisfaction from this. This is because God made us for relationships with one another. Right from the beginning of time God said that it was not good for man to be alone, and so He created a friend and a companion for the first man Adam. God never intended for any of us to be alone, We were not meant to build monuments we were created to build cities. Monuments stand-alone, but cities in bible times were walled and built to encircle families. They protected, they gave security and community; relationships do the same for us.

In Nehemiah chapter one, Nehemiah who is an Old Testament type of Jesus Christ, weeps over the state of the city he used to live in, because its walls were broken down, and burnt and it had become a home for wild animals, not for people. 

Nehemiah 1: 2-4
I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem. 
3 They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” 
4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven

Jesus weeps over broken places and relationships in your life, things that have been damaged and pulled down that were once strong. There is no shame or condemnation, just affection and a desire to help you build again. It doesn’t matter how much destruction has gone on before, He has been sent by the king to help you rebuild.

 

Nehemiah 6:15-16 So on October 2 the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun. 16 When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God

 


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