Surviving Conflict

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I’m going to invite you to turn to Mark chapter 15 I’m going to let you know we’re not going to stay there together. We’re going to bounce around a bit. Stay, or excuse me, not marketing. Matthew, I’m sorry, Matthew chapter 15 we’re not going to stay there together. We’re going to bounce around a little bit because of the series that we are on there. If you’re busy with us, I wanna welcome you to Alpine Bible church. We’re three weeks into a four part series entitled this thing called love, examining the significance of relationships and what God desires for us in them. God created relationships for, for us to thrive in them and experience the joy of who he is through our relationships with each other because we’re created in the image of God. And so it’s important for us to understand the health of relationships and because relationships are important and because we live in the simple world, we know one of the things that we encounter in relationships as this little thing we like to call conflict.

And so today we’re going to try to talk about conflict without conflict. Okay? And don’t worry about escaping if you don’t want to talk about conflict already. I already told the ushers to lock the doors, so, so if you and your loved ones are at odds ins today just just spread apart down skin, they’ll do that. I want you to know that if we talk about conflict today, I am not here to berate or belittle anyone that you may have brought if you knew the series is on conflict right now. Really what we’re interested in is talking to you. We, we cannot transform other people’s hearts, but we can ask Jesus to work on our own and that becomes an important part in working through conflict because all of us know when it relates to conflict and involves two people. We talk about this idea of love, idea of law of is so important as it relates to the topic of conflict because it puts us in a position of understanding love.

When we understand love, it helps us to work through conflict well. And so when we talk about conflict this morning, the last two lessons really lay the precedent and the foundation for how we can approach conflict in the healthy way. You don’t even know this, but it’s been a three part series on conflict so far and I want to show you how all of what we’ve learned together relates to the idea of conflict. But before we get into that, just to lighten the room on some of the interesting things that happen in relationships and we know most specifically can happen in a marital relationship because that becomes the epitome of the depth where relationships are experienced. I have taken to the Twitter and have written down some of the interesting statements that were made on relationships and that interaction on social media. So these, this listen to this this morning it says an advice about marriage. Someone said this marriage is just texting each other. Do you need anything from the grocery store? A bunch of times until one of you dies. My wife wanted two kittens, but I’m the man of the house. So we got two kittens. Yep. Raise your hand if you got two kids and I don’t do that. Some of you are going to like their full husband. You were supposed to do something about the Groundhog under the deck wife. I did. I named him Lord Melbourne and he likes cocoa puffs.

Wife said, my husband is home sick from work today and it’s like having 1000 babies. Whoever laughs the hardest. Alicia. I told my husband I wanted a hedgehog. He said, we don’t need a hedgehog. Long story short, we’re picking it up on Thursday before I got married. I didn’t even know there was a wrong way to put milk back in the fridge. I like this one. This is me. The wife was saying, sorry, I’m late because I was finding all of the things that were in plain sight from my husband always tell her I don’t have enough estrogen to find these things and I don’t know what it is, but she’s capable. This is good advice for premarital counseling. Somebody said this for premarital counseling, couples should have to put together a tent. Yes. You said you ever done that. You know what that’s like. Oh, okay. So relationship conflict in talking about it, it’s, it’s important. Now, let me just give you a reason why love is love is intended for us to experience the depth of relationships and when we look at the reason for which God created us, when you come to church, I think our tendency is to think God created us for performance because for religion, religion, religion, and that is not biblical.

God doesn’t need you to do anything. Anything that you think that you are so important that you need to do. Rest assured God can do it better than you can right now. God wants you to glorify him in your life, but it’s not because he created you for religion. The way you glorify God in your life is through relationship. God created you for relationship. The Bible tells us, Jesus, two greatest commands. We shared this together. Loving God, loving others, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, love others. And so in those two commands, we see that it’s a relational command. In the new Testament, we find that there’s the new covenant in the new covenant. The Bible tells us that the spirit of God indwells us. And if you ask the question of what does that look like, how do I know the spirit of God’s indwelling me and what does that look like in my life?

How do I really know that I’m walking in the spirit? The Bible tells us the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness against such things. There is no law that tells us, but when you look at those, those fruits of the spirit, of the fruit, of the spirit, when the Bible is listing those, you’ll recognize that those, those aren’t legalistic law commands, but rather they’re relational statements, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness. That’s experienced relationally. And so when we talk about a series like this, this thing called love, sometimes we get in this place in life where like, I don’t want to about love. It’s too fluffy. I want to talk about theology cause I’m a Moran or whatever. I don’t know. I’ve never heard anyone say that but, but I know sometimes the tendency is when you talk about love, some people may look at it too fluffy, but this is, this is, this is important. Think about if your theology does not encourage you to further love God and love others.

Geology stinks because the intention of what we find when we discover God in scripture is to love him more and as we connect to God and our relationship with him, that that’s demonstrating our relationship with others. It’s, it’s leveraged through that relationship with people. When we transform our relationship with God, it impacts our relationship with ours. In fact, that’s what we’ve talked about the first two weeks and that even lays the precedence for conflict, resolving conflict, which we’re going to talk about in just a minute, but the Bible told us in John chapter 13 verse 34 love one another as I have loved you and the demonstration of Jesus is love. It’s that transformation in my love in Christ. It transforms my relationship with others. And which is why in Philippians two we looked at this last week, he said had this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who though being in the form of God didn’t hold it as something to be grasped, but he lowered himself to the point of a bond survey even to death on the cross. And so relationship with God transforms our relationship with others. And here’s the other cool part is our relationship with others affects our relationship with God.

Yeah, they’re not exclusive from each other. We don’t come to church on Sunday, worship God, and then take care of whatever else on Monday that that when you engage people in your life, the very way you choose to treat people can be seen and demonstrated as a way of worship before the Lord. And I would say it’s most important. It is most important in conflict because listen, anyone can love when it’s easy to love. Anyone can express the fruit of the spirit when it’s easy to do love, joy, peace patients. Sure I can be patient when nothing is bothering me and I can have joy when everything’s going my way and I can love when you’re lovable.

But the fruit of the spirit is demonstrated in my life, even in the darkest moments and and when the darkest of moments come in my life, I had the greatest opportunity to shed light into the beauty of who Jesus is. And so we talk about conflict and how it relates to our relationship with God and one another. I think conflict becomes one of the most important parts of demonstrating the goodness

God in my life. Now I say that I don’t want to tell you and be honest. I’m not saying it because it’s easy for me. It’s a struggle for me just because someone might call me. Pastor doesn’t make me free from sin, but I know what the goal is, honor Jesus and my relationships and I cannot change the heart of another person. Listen to this morning, we think about conflicts. It involves two people. We cannot change the heart of the other person. But here’s what we can do. We can talk about ourselves and how we interact in it so that at night when I go to bed, I don’t respond in such a way where I’ve shamed the relationship and I’ve dishonored God, but I can lay my head at sleep at night, resting easy, knowing then the midst of conflict. I’ve worshiped God and I’ve honored others and so your, your relationship with God impacts your relationship with others and your relationship with others affects your relationship with God and Malakai chapter two verse 14 it tells us the way that the husband treated his wife is seen as worship before the Lord. And first Peter five seven it tells, it tells the husband the way you’ve treated your wife will affect your prayers before God. In Matthew chapter 25 and verse 2324 it says, if you remember a brother has an offense against you, why you’re worshiping, leave that affair or leave that place of worship and go reconcile the offense with your brother.

Because your relationship with others has everything to do with your relationship, your relationship with God impacts others and the way you engage your relationships. In this world outside of Sunday is an act of worship and especially especially in conflict, we see the significance of that, right?

This is why over the last couple of weeks we’ve just laid the foundation of what love is. Love is a verb. It requires action and love is a now and we’ve got to find the source of love. We’ve got to understand our position in love. We’ve got to find a place that demonstrates our worth and to be loved and we we’ve found it in the Lord because God is loved and that gives us a place then to lay ourselves down to love others because God has shown us that we’re intrinsically value and from are invaluable and from our intrinsic worth because of who God is. We can let ourselves positionally in order to elevate one another to help them become all that God has called them to be. That’s what love is in our culture. We have horrible displays of love. Oftentimes when we say we love you, it’s because we, we like what you do for us.

We love you because the way you make me feel, but when you stop making me feel that way, then my love runs dry because my love really wasn’t love to begin with. It was selfishness. It was something other than the love, but it wasn’t love. The idea of biblical love is laying down all that you are for the benefit of someone else leveraging all that you are so that someone else can become all that God has called them to be. Love is about giving itself away. It’s not about what you get. It’s about what you give. And so we looked at that foundation of love, shaping our identity in the Lord as the source of love. And then recognizing and Philippians two where Jesus, it tells us no, he’s in the form of God. He took it as nothing to be grasped him. So what it was saying to us is that when Jesus walked in a room, he was the most important person in the room, but he never declared it. He never walked into the room and said, Hey guys, I’m the specialist one here. The specialist, the word I am at.

He didn’t even though intrinsically he’s the most important person in the room. Positionally he lowered himself so that the people in sin, the conflict creators could become what God had called him to be in him. And so that’s where for us, it becomes so important to understand our relationship with God because your intrinsic worth will determine why you even see the need to lay yourself down for the benefit of others. Because if you’re looking for love and other people, you’re going to use them and abuse them to get what you want. But when you find your loving God, his love never ends. And in that value that he places on you, you can lower yourself to elevate others because of the way Jesus has lifted you up. And it’s a lot of passion.

Love is important theology of understanding them, your theology and understanding of who God is should drive you to love others better. And in loving others better. It should better connect you to God. You get to display the goodness of God in your relationships, especially in the midst of conflict and if your theology doesn’t help you love, then your theology stinks because what God has created us for his relationship and what God desires for us to experience in our lives. This is a relationship that thrives and we’ve said this together to any, anyone with a pulse can fall in love, but it takes a plan to stay in love.

When you think about our culture, our culture is set up to not be successful in religion and religion. Our culture is not set up to be successful in relationship because a lot of what we emphasize in our society today is all about self, your rights and your needs and you being happy and it being all about you. The problem with that when it comes to relationship is for relationship to be healthy. You’ve got to die to self for the benefit of relationships so that you can become a, God has called you to be together. And so unless you’re willing to lay yourself down, what you end up is isolated and lonely because you make life about itself. But for relationships to succeed in and just survive and then thrive, it’s, it’s got to be about surrendering yourself for the benefit of one another. Not because you’re worthless, but position, being able to lower your yourself because of the volume of Jesus. And so the world gives us all sorts of ways to try to find love. You gotta love yourself and you’ve got to put you first and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Sometimes it becomes a horrible way in order to, to experience love. I would, I was thinking about this this, this past week of, you know, growing up an eighties kid, best generation, whatever that means, but growing up as an eighties kid, all the demonstrates that the examples I’ve had of love, both whether in relationship and real relationships or television relationships. One of my favorites, one of my favorites. I tried demonstrating this on my sister. I remember as a kid was this thing called Carebears. Embarrassed to say that, but Carebears what makes Carebears so great is that Carebears care.

You look at the, they got the emblem on their, on their stomach of exactly how they’re going to express that love. You know what I’m talking about? We don’t, we don’t worry about grumpy bear. Grumpy bear had a cloud. We won’t talk about him, but the rest of the bears, rest of the bears, they had care, bear love, and they cared. Right. But sometimes the conflict got so bad that that Carebears they’d have to get together to the fetus, conflict in unison. And so what they do is they’d lock arms and they would just spray law. You know what I mean? There was conflict and they can handle it for the most part, but no one could. No one could come against care. Bayer law, they spray that everywhere and it all just, I can tell you this though, it doesn’t work. Try that on my sister as a kid, I could not can nugget that. There’s different examples of love that you can demonstrate and, but here’s the, when we think about the Lord,

if your theology, it doesn’t drive you to better love God and love others, your theology is broken. In fact, I’ll go ahead and call it religious, which is also broken. That’s exactly what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 15 if you, if you follow this, I’m not gonna have time to go through the whole passage. I’m going to give you a skim. We’re going to go on rabbit trails today or just follow a longer trail of different verses because I want you to see how what we’re talking about today communicates itself through the whole Bible. But when you look at Matthew chapter 15 the Pharisees were constantly in conflict with Jesus. Not Jesus’ fault, definitely the Pharisee’s fault, but there was constantly conflict there. And Jesus is pursuing resolution in this and helping them to identify where that source comes from. But you see this conflict, the Pharisees have their theology, they’ve got their theology.

The problem is their theology is broken and Jesus points this out to them. So when you follow in 15 starting at verse one the Pharisees come to Jesus and they’re like, and all the people aren’t following the rules. Jesus, they’re bad. We don’t have anything to do with those people. In fact, if you read in Matthew chapter 23 Jesus writes the the eight woes against the Pharisees and when he writes the woes against the Pharisees, when he describes their struggle in with God and the woe is like a pronouncement of death when he’s writing this and then he’s acknowledging the two things they fall short in and one is in religious pursuit, they’re elevating themselves. I’m doing all these religious performances so I can be better me. It’s all about me and in turn because they’re making it about them and these things that they have to accomplish, they’re looking at the rest of the world that can live up to the standard and they’re saying, shame on you. You are beneath me. And so what God creates us for relationship, what they’re doing in the religious system is they’re elevating themselves and make it all about them. God’s just a secondary thing. They live the law under their strength. They, they’re not connected to God.

In fact, Jesus told him, Matthew seven verse 2122 they come to the Lord and they said, Lord, did we not cast out demons in your name and do all these wonderful works in your name? And Jesus says, depart from me, I never knew you. And so while they’re living this system of theology elevating themselves, Jesus has reiterating to them, listen, you’re missing the point. It’s not about what you do. I can do it better. I’m God. But he created them for relationship. And so they’re coming to God. And in Matthew 15 and they’re saying all these people doing bad things, look at how good I am. Look at how bad they are, devaluing other people, elevating themselves, which turns out is horrific in working in relationship the way God has called us to. And so Jesus then goes on and just starts to pronounce judgment on what they’re going through in their license. So he says in verse four he says, look, you guys are living your religion so much that you’re even violating against your own mother. And father and then he goes on and quotes Isaiah and he says to them, you are, you’re acknowledging me with your lips but your heart is far from me.

And so then Jesus just drives to the root of what the problem is and this is what he says, Matthew 1511 it is not what interests into the mouth that defiles the man. Look, it’s not the outward religious thing that God’s after, but what proceeds out of the mouth that defiles the man. What he’s saying is what comes out of you is a reflection of what rests in you, your heart, where you are in the very, the very fact that you are elevating yourself in devaluing people is exposing the idea that there is something broken in your heart, your heart needs addressed.

When it comes to conflict, the most important thing I think into reaching that resolution or at least opening up the door, we can’t always fix the other problem or the other person in that situation, but we can’t address ourselves. The primary thing that God drives after in all of that is your heart. And so the place to begin in conflict is your heart. In fact, the disciples come to Jesus after Jesus makes it statement. In verse 11 they say, Jesus, you’ve really offended people by what you said. They thought they were so great and now they’re all offended because they put all the boasts in themselves and then Jesus says this, verse 18 but the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart and those defile the man, and so what Jesus is driving at when it comes to living life, the way that he, he calls us to an experiencing relationship, the way he calls us to the police to begin rests in the heart. Proverbs chapter four it says this, watch over your heart with all diligence for from it flows the Springs of life. Psalms David wrote it this way. Search me O God and know.

It’s not the accolades religiously. That’s the way we look at things, right? Performing all of these things so that God thinks I’m great. It’s all about the accolades and when you live your life that way, what you end up doing is alienating yourself from people, which is the thing God calls us to honoring him in relationship. Ministry isn’t the end in itself. Ministry is the means to an end, which is to glorify God in our lives and encourage one another in relationship to him. That’s why we say as a church, what we’re after is for people to experience a transforming relationship and God that transforms their relationship with others.

Honestly, when we, when we fail to see that, that’s what makes religion just whatever word you want to insert there because it grossly devalues people and it makes us objects, makes us robots, makes us uninterested in the heart of another. The guy calls you to be an ambassador and being an ambassador to him means that you represent him in this world and your relationship to other people. Yeah, but the truth is is I’m going to look at, when we talk about conflict, the reason why it’s a struggle for us is because we have two innate responses within us that don’t produce healthiness in finding resolution to conflict nor glorifying God and the way that we pursue conflict. Yeah. In Genesis chapter three when Adam and Eve first sin, Adam and Eve do a lot of great things that teach us what not to do in life.

They create the first manmade religion. When they go put on fig leaves, they run and hide from God. All things that you do not want to do. You don’t want to put on religion before God. You want to just come expose more him. Let him put the perfection of Jesus on you. You don’t want to hide to Goddens from God and sin. You want to go to him and sin because he takes care of it at the cross. He died for that. That you could be reconciled him all bad things. Adam and Eve did, and one of the other bad things that they did is they also cause problems in their relationship with each other now only to experience problems in their relationship with God, but they also see problems in their relationship with one another. What Adam did is one of the things that we tend to do in our human nature because of sin and our tendency is this. It’s to blame others. Yeah, to pass responsibility though. God calls us to be responsible [inaudible].

Right? So it kind of works like this. You act like a rear end to me and that justifies my reactions back to you. Whatever you bring, I’m going to bring it bigger cause now I’m justified by acting the way I want to act because the way you act it to me, but the truth is you’re always responsible for you. Okay?

This is what Adam does in Genesis chapter three verse 12 the man said to God, the woman whom you gave to me, she gave me from the tree and I a, Hey my fault Therese, check yourself before you wreck yourself. Not a, like he’s pointing to the loan. It’s like, I mean, God would have never been me if it wasn’t for her.

You read something like this and you’re like, at least when I see you, I’m like, man, Adam grew up like, really? You still did it dude. And you know what God calls you to in relationships so that you can encourage one another in that moment and what you did rather than stand up and encourage her in godliness as you were a coward, you blamed and didn’t take any responsibility. You can’t control her.

You are accountable. Verse 13 and the woman said, at least she got a little bit better. The woman said, the serpent deceived me and I ate. I gotta tell you, if you’re going to blame anybody, just blame Satan. It just sounds better. Satan, when I was a kid, I had a cousin that was just destructive. She how she carried vengeance at a young age. She would break all my toys and then she’d tell me Satan told her to do it. I never caught, I never questioned her. I’m like, I believe you, you devil child. But, but, but you see he was passing the buck too. But here’s the problem. Eve, you’re still responsible. There’s always bad influences and there’s always excuses that we can throw out as to why we might do what we do. Restore responsible for you and you’re a peace in the midst of conflict to be an ambassador for Christ, a life for him because relationships are what the Lord is all about.

The Bible tells us that the journey begins by looking at our heart. If for the Pharisees, they needed to recognize that on all this religious performance, what it was doing was alienating them from God where they were alienated from God. No amount of performance is going to undo what needs to happen in your relationship with God because it needs reconciled. You need his forgiveness. I mean, any relationship you have in this world, when there’s problems in order to experience the homeless and that relationship again, you need reconciliation. You can’t work your way into that reconciliation. Another person has to forgive you. Same truth with the Lord. We’ve sinned against God. We’ve violated. We can perform all day long, all day long, and it’s still not gonna do any good. Why Sinead reconciled? That’s why Jesus came and so he’s saying to the Pharisees, look at your heart. In order to resolve and conflict, it begins in the heart to address the heart becomes the the pinnacle place for us to see the need for the reconciliation and relationship and where God can use us to be a light in the midst of circumstances that are difficult.

In fact, Jesus said in Matthew seven verse two and three for in this way, you judge, you will be judged and by your standard of measure it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but you don’t notice the log that’s in your own? I see Pharisees are saying, Jesus, look what they’re doing. They’re not washing their hands and we’re great. We’ve done all of these things. We’re above all these people and they’re bad. All the bad, bad people what God is saying in this passage, the journey to a healthy relationship with him begins by examining what’s in your own heart, where you are in light of God. Because by living this structure with no forgiveness and reconciliation in the Lord, now our relationship with God is no good that our hearts and connected to him and we, we understand the forgiveness that Jesus for gave to us. We’re not going to look at the world as a bad, bad world. It may be simple gonna look at the world as a place where the Lord can heal just as he healed us. And so rather than put ourselves away from them or hibernate from them, we actually run towards the struggles because we understand just as Jesus transformed our lives from the inside out, he can transform other people’s lives from the inside out, which makes conflict of beautiful place for God’s people to shed the light of the Lord in the midst of that trial.

Well, Jesus is saying in Matthew chapter seven is that all we tend to be as people, as we tend to be experts on judging others and poor reading ourselves, we’re in conflict. We’re often focused on others. But the reason we look in self is, is not only because of what Matthew says, but it’s also because of what James says. James goes, what is the source of corals and conflicts among you? It’s Eve ma, it’s my boss, it’s my whatever. What’s the source of corals and conflicts among you? And he says, not others. So not the source of your pleasures that wage war in your members. I mean this is what happens. Conflict only perpetuates because we reciprocate. And so when someone comes against us, we see it as a justification to raise ourselves up to fight for the injustice against my personal rights. And so we, we rare our ugly heads and we provoke conflict with more conflict.

And so what causes the coils and conflicts among you? It’s because we persist in the fighting of the conflict. It’s not the other person, but rather something’s going on inside of you. And so James four goes on and says this, you lost them. Do not have mean someone’s come against you and you’re upset by what’s taking place. So what do you do? You commit murder sometimes, literally, but other times the way that you respond is you’re so upset by what happened in that relationship that you come back to the other person with such visits that you just kill the relationship because your most important, you were envious and Canada obtained. So you fight and you’re coral.

What James is saying is our tendency in the mix of conflict is to kill. Why is this verse here? Because everyone that responds to conflict feels justified to behave however they desire because they’ve been wronged against. And so what James is trying to get us to recognize in the midst of conflict, that that’s no excuse to respond to what happens in our responses is recognizing that something in us is going as a stray. And so it’s important to address the heart because if we just react out of that, what we’ll end up doing is killing the relationship.

But God’s got you in a place in the midst of adversity and also be a light. So Proverbs 16 verse 23 and 24 says this, the heart of the wise instructs his mouth and that’s persuasiveness to his lips. Listen, the heart of the wise can read his heart. He knows what his tendency is. Tim sees the blame. A tendency is not to take responsibility. My tendency is to kill the relationship. Those are my tendencies. I want to check my heart and now I want to honor God and honor people in the way. And in fact, I want to worship God and honor people in the way I respond to how can I do this for this relationship that God can be glorified. And so the heart of the wise instructs his mouth and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Pleasant words are a honeycomb sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Listen, these verses aren’t saying don’t handle conflict. In fact, I would tell you the opposite is good handle conflict by not handling conflict is not good because what ends up happening in our lives and we end up building those like a mountain and then we finally tried to address them. There’s so many things to address that we just are overwhelmed by it. There’s some things we can let go in life. There’s other things that you didn’t address for the sake of the relationship. That’s what I’m saying. Avoid things we’re saying is appreciate the relationship to the point that you engage it in the right way. So James is talking about killing and Proverbs is talking about life and in fact in Proverbs 1821 it says this, death and life are in the power of the tongue. So in the midst of conflict, you are in a position to be used for God’s glory to use against it.

You can glorify yourself or you can glorify your Lord. You can speak life in Christ or you can speak death and I’ll tell you just for fun later today, I’ll pull out the book of Proverbs in the message or the message is a paraphrase translation and just read that and what it says about the tongue. I loved it. Listen to this. Verse 13 says, this, answering before listening is both stupid and rude. I can remember that it answer if we’re listening stupid. It goes through all the Proverbs 18 just talks about the wisdom of way we share, but it’s saying to us, you’re in a position to speak death or to speak. Life. James reminds us, our tendency is to kill God’s desires. For us to be life giving creatures. You think about what are we communicating when we react poorly to conflict James’s death. The reason it becomes death is because our desires often and reacting to conflict is to modify behavior and when your pursuit is to modify behavior without speaking to the relationship itself, without speaking to the heart of the other end, the relationship, what you produce is rebellion. Let me give you a few examples. Like as a parent, my kids aren’t perfect. You got that cliche pastor’s kids, right? They’re not perfect and some days they may drive me crazy.

How respond in those moments can be glorifying to God and I’d like to say I’ve always done perfect, but I’m sure one of them could give you an example but, but how respond in that circumstance shows what I’m after? Cause usually when my kids are routing and they’re obnoxious and they’re getting on my nerves, what I want to do is I want to run to the other room and I don’t want to just tell them how it is to modify their behavior to get what I want. Right?

The problem is when I, when I act that way, our actions are declaring to the other person, you are offensive. I I’m most important. I’ll get what I want and I will change your behavior because I am most important. I’m interested in modifying your behavior because I am the Lord and you have offended me. And so when you just pursued behavior modification, what you’re saying is, I’m the most important person in this room and you bow down to me. And the truth is, when we live that out, we may win the battle, right? You may get what you want, but you know, you lose the war. Because here’s what my kids learn. Yeah, I’ll do what dad wants because dad’s the authority and I, I can’t overpower that my dad’s a jerk and he’s not interested in me. What he’s interested in is himself and I can’t stand it.

And so at the moment I can get out from under his thumb. I am out of here and good reasons. And so when it becomes about behavior modification without relation, you create rebellion. But there’s a way in the midst of conflict I’ll share in a minute that you can, you can do in order to not just see a healthy result, but also speak to the heart to show that what’s significant is the relationship that God’s called you to and what you desire is to worship the Lord in the midst of conflict and honor the relationships so that you can in love, leverage yourself to become what God has called you to be in that relationship together.

Cause when you modify behavior but neglect the heart, you restore the relationship, create a rebel. God’s to get you in a place to both speak life and to experience the goodness of the relationship or to speak and to kill what the Lord may want to do there. How do you manage this before, before reacting, considering your heart? I think it’s important to ask two questions. What does, this is what I want, what God wants. So he cause in behavior modification, the thing that we’re pronouncing as Lord itself, I’ve been violated. It must be me that gets what I need. And so therefore you must bow down to modify your behavior to what it is my demands are and I will act like a beast to get it. So the question is, is what I want what God wants? Let me just just clarify what it is. God wants. God cares about you. God cares about them. God cares about your relationship to him. God cares about their relationship to him and God cares about your relationship together.

And so when you come to that question is what I want. What God wants. God, God wants to resolve the conflict. God, God wants you to experience the wholeness of the relationship. And so in addressing the conflict becomes an essential thing in order for relationships to thrive. So we’re not saying ignore the conflict, but when you’re worked up, you’re communicating, you have an unmet need. Well, we may be communicating in a way that’s not healthy because what the Bible calls us to do is lay ourselves down for the other person, for the relationship. When you strive to do that in conflict, sometimes the other person doesn’t respond well and so I think it’s important. One, don’t throw mud. You both end up dirty that way. I think it’s important to make it hard for people to hate you. It’s difficult to fight with someone when they don’t want to fight when they’re not fighting back. So make it hard for them to hate you.

The Bible tells us to bless and do not. I think it’s important to remember, remember not to take it all personal because the other person has has SIM problems going on the side of them and what they’re battling with. Maybe coming out on you, but it may not have anything to do with you until you talk to them where there are conditions that are harder as you won’t, you won’t even know who that. And when you make the conflict personal, it becomes difficult to help the circumstance. And so your security in Jesus and your intrinsic value in him becomes the important point in order for you to minister in that moment is what I want, what God wants. I think God wants you to experience the health of relationships and so then, then the next question becomes is the way you want it the way God wants it. We shared this example last week, but let me just reiterate it. It’s the way you [inaudible] you want the way you want it, the way God wants it to be in that conflict, the way you want to work it out as the way God wants to work it out. Because when it comes to addressing conflict, you can be totally in the right and still be totally wrong in the way you respond.

Meaning someone could have done something wrong and you are completely justified in and responding to it because you’ve been wrong against, but it’s the approach that you take that demeans the other person and the Gates. Then the resolution that you can meet in the conflict, in any reconciliation to the relationship. Example, a married couple spouse does something that the other one didn’t think should have happened. There’s better ways to do it. The spouses completely in the right. It should’ve happened a different way. And rather than communicating that in a way that was honoring to Jesus in a way that’s loving, they belittle them. What’s wrong with you? You didn’t do it like this. Your LMS stuck next time you need to do this and this and this and this and this. And you just belittle. So it’s not just that you’re in the right and what you’re saying, but the way that you’re communicating it is wrong. And so the question is not only is what I want what God wants, but it’s the way you want it. Worshiping the Lord and honoring to others. It’s the goal for us attitude what you want, the way God wants it.

It’s your attitude, Nicole, is to pursue what Jesus desires in a relationship and pursue the way Jesus desires it in the relationship. Your relationship with God affects your relationship with others, and your relationship with others will affect your relationship with the Lord. God’s got you in a place to speak life rather than death. So here comes maybe the more important question. How do you respond when the other person’s aggressive?

How do you react when the other person is the problem is not you, but it’s the other person. Right. And that’s, that’s probably the most important question cause I know, I know all of us, we’re perfect, right? We all been in conflict and we’re like, I’ve been there and it’s not me. It’s them. So how do I respond in that conflict in order to bring out the Lord’s best in that moment? How are you reacting? The other person’s the aggressive one. Well you can attack them and kill them. And James said that in Florida chapter four you could do that or, or you could care better love them, spraying you to death. I don’t even know how this do won’t work. How do you respond when the other person is aggressive?

You know the silver lining, when someone’s angry towards you, when someone’s better on someone’s Benz bull, when someone gives you the silent treatment and all of those things. If there is a silver lining to find the silver lining, is this, that they’re still communicating and they’re not communicating in a healthy way, but they are communicating what they’re communicating? Is that there is an unmet need somewhere somehow some way they felt violated against [inaudible]. And so when someone’s aggressive towards you, you fill that kind of that conflict. At least in that moment, what you’re recognizing is there is some communication that’s happening. And so this becomes a place for you to find an opportunity to leverage the position that God’s got you in, in order to speak to the heart rather than just modify the behavior. And so learning how to respond here becomes important. So when someone’s aggressive, this is what you say, you need to open up your heart and expose theirs. And this is what you say, the way you just reacted made me feel unloved or underappreciated. What just happened? Made me feel unloved and underappreciated. Okay. Exposing my heart, how I feel. And then you look at them because your concern isn’t just modifying their behavior but their heart. So you say, is there something that’s happened that’s made you feel unloved or an underappreciated?

Well, I’ll tell you, when you asked that question to a heart that’s stressed or angry or Vince for just going through a difficult time, it’s being ex reciprocating your relationship. What you’ve just done is open Pandora’s box, right? You’ve at least started to talk about the relationship and my heart feels this way, unloved, unappreciated. Is there something that happened that made you feel in love? And I appreciate you’ve just, you’ve just opened Pandora’s box. So for you, the warning is be ready for how they respond and when they respond, here’s what you don’t do. Don’t make excuses, but you don’t understand why I did that. Or you don’t understand, or, or, or I did that because, or I’m completely unjustified, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Don’t just don’t do that. That’s not the place to do that. You’ve just invited them to share what’s on their heart. And so you say, I hear you.

So you want to acknowledge before then that you’re listening to what they say and you value where they are in their place. Rather than make excuses, you just, you acknowledge that you hear their feelings and where they’re coming from and if you want to take it a step further, here’s what you can say to honor the relationship. I’m so glad you felt comfortable enough to tell me. Out of all the places that you could have said that, that here between us that you felt that you had enough freedom to just share that with me because I care about you. I’m so, so thankful that you shared there. I usually conversations go one of two places. If they see that you’re not defensive, number one, this is hopefully what happens, but if they see that you’re not defensive and that you’ve let down your walls, they’ll start to let down. Conflict and resolution can be worked out how to care for one another, but in other circumstances when they see that you are not irritated with them, sometimes in the vengeance they just want to keep amping it up to try to provoke out of you the same emotional response they have of which you can say, now I really value the relationship and because I care about you, I can tell where they are right now. It’s just full of a lot of energy and I want to be able to take a step back and maybe when it comes down a little bit, let’s let’s talk about this because of where where you are and I care about what God wants to do between us or I care about you and our relationship together and so have the opportunity to, to just step back from that relationship and then re-engage the topic because you are concerned with the individual. The desire is not to modify behavior. The desire is to address the heart because of the dressing, the heart. You can find within that relationship with one another how to better honor each other and in turn the behavior will be modified because the goal is to honor relationship. Let me just leave you with these two thoughts. If you think about what we share this morning and I’m just wanting to know, it’s just an outline.

Well, it’s an outline that shows us how about open up conflict in order to experience what God desires in relationships so they can begin to grow and thrive. Pulling out the heart. Our tendency is to blame, not take responsibility to put self first in the kill. And Jesus, his desire is to lay self down because of our worth in him and speak to the heart. Because what God’s after isn’t performance. What God is after is the heart and we in the midst of that conflict can honor and worship the Lord and we can honor the relationship. And though it may not fix thing and though it may not change the other person, here’s what you get. You get to lay your head down at night knowing that you’ve worshiped the Lord and honor people, which is what God desires for your life.

And the reality is when you look at an outline like this, maybe you’re like me, where you think of all the examples outside of Carebears that you’ve learned that probably don’t want to emulate. Probably make headline news more than a godly description. You know? And so when you think about living life this way, you’re not going to naturally want to do what we shared today because we’ve said what the human tendency is to blame, not take responsibility, to kill, to put self first. That’s what are often asked to do in conflict. But when you consider what God’s desire is for relationship, this at least puts for us an idea of what God wants us to strive for together. Because to be honest, not perfect.

I can, I can share this stuff. And I can tell you after I share this stuff, I can make this my goal and then I can walk out of here and I can fail. But in failing, here’s what I get to do. I can go back to that relationship and I can say, I dishonor God and I dishonored you. This is my desire. I’m not here to modify your behavior, not here to control you. I’m here to leverage all I am for all that God’s called you to be. And I do that when I lay myself down and I speak to your heart and not just try to force you to change your life because I am interested in your heart and what God wants to do in it. And the more I’m honest with that, and the more I keep reminding myself of the goal and the more I work through passages of scripture to see what the Lord says, the more I find myself walking in this path to experience what healthy relationships are about. So I say all this. So when you walk out today and you guys fight before you get to the car, I don’t think that’s going to happen. But could you got to get your kids? But where you go maybe happen, I don’t know.

You don’t say, Oh look, you failed that he gave the sermon. You’re supposed to be perfect from here on out. You know, you don’t just kill each other over that and modify your behavior. You are not good. Cause it’s some worse words there. But ah, but rather you say this, man, you know what? I think we just blew it there because what God cares about is what’s happening here in us. And so this is our goal. So we can strive in that together. Why? Because God created us for that, to worship him and to honor others, their understanding of who he is. You’re created for relationship. Conflict is a beautiful place to acknowledge the glory of God and the way the Lord works through it. And rather than give up some, encourage you to keep fighting.

Building Bridges