How to Handle Conflict in the Family

No family is perfect. Remember what Abraham had to endure after impregnating Haggar (his wife’s maid) and she began despising Sarah because she was with child while Sarah had none and Abraham had to chase her away on Sarah’s insistence? That is the epitome of family drama!

Or when Jacob and his mother conspired to steal Esau’s blessing (Genesis 27)? Or when King David committed adultery and had Bathsheba’s husband killed so he could have her (2 Samuel 11-12)?

Drama and conflict in the family has existed since time immemorial. But God wants us to set aside the drama we have gotten accustomed to begin to have a close relationship with our family members . He did not put us in our families for us to avoid hanging out with because we can’t stand them.

I know that many of us (I included) have been hurt by our family members and we feel like we cannot forgive them. But one thing that I have learnt is that it is up to myself to begin the healing process by letting go of every negative thing that I may have experienced at the hands of my family members.

And it starts with forgiveness. We have let it go of the things we’ve carried as we repent for holding grudges against them. There is nothing that cannot be forgiven, we just have to ask the Holy Spirit to help us with the difficult stuff .

“Bear with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgive each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” – Colossians 3:13

As we forgive them, let’s also remember that we have also played a part in hurting them. And we probably have to go back and as for their forgiveness as well. If you feel led to text, call or even go in person to apologize for the part you played in hurting a family member please go ahead. Let’s be careful not to hurt each other and strive to leave in peace as family because none of us can change the families we were born into.

For those that are parents, strive to be a good role models to your children.
I never even realized it till the other day, but a lot of my behavior (both good and bad) was influenced by my parents. And I now have to unlearn the negative things that I picked up from them over the years. See, children learn by imitating their parents

Jesus best illustrates this in John 5:19 when he said that, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.
I learnt this from my daughter who is always imitating everything I do. Because she sees me putting on high heels and lipstick she also insists on doing the same. And I realized that what she sees me doing, to her that is the right way to go about things. So I have to be very careful with the way I behave because she is watching me.

So parents, what you teaching your children? Whether you realize it or not, they are watching you and how they turn out tomorrow is dependent on the example you are setting, both good and bad.

Children, it is your duty, no matter how old you are, to respect and honor your parents. Whether you are 14 or 50, if your parent is alive, whether your father is an alcoholic/drug addict or irresponsible, you must honor them.

Proverbs 23:22 Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.

Colossians 3: 18-21 best summarizes how we should live as a family

Wives, be subject to your husbands [out of respect for their position as protector, and their accountability to God], as is proper and fitting in the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives [with an affectionate, sympathetic, selfless love that always seeks the best for them] and do not be embittered or resentful toward them [because of the responsibilities of marriage]. 2

Children, obey your parents (as God’s representatives) in all things, for this (attitude of respect and obedience) is well-pleasing to the Lord (and will bring you God’s promised blessings).

Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or exasperate your children (with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by favoritism or indifference; treat them tenderly with loving-kindness), so they will not lose heart and become discouraged or unmotivated (with their spirits broken).

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Ben White

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