Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Conflict Resolution

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.” Richard Bach, American author 

Because of our global society, family encompasses more than relatives. Often, as Bach alluded to, family becomes those you share common ideals, goals, and daily life experiences.  

Biological families are unique. Though squabbling amongst the members is not uncommon, they rally against outside attacks. You can usually rely on family to “have your back” in a tough situation. 

But why does it take a tough situation for this to occur? Despite our differences in personalities, life choices, and goals, why do we allow conflict to enter what should be treasured relationships? The simple answer is we’re human. We won’t have perfect relationships this side of heaven. 

I was saddened after reading an article about singer Robin Gibb’s funeral. This excerpt from his brother Barry’s eulogy was particularly poignant.

"Life is too short. In Robin's case, absolutely too short. We should have had 20 years, 30 years of his magnificent mind and his beautiful heart. We were laughing all the way. Sometimes crying. God knows how much we argued. Even right up to the end we found conflict with each other, which now means nothing. It just means nothing. If there's conflict in your lives - get rid of it." Barry Gibb (last surviving member of BeeGees) 

If there’s conflict in your lives – get rid of it. Those words should resound like a gong in our minds and hearts, if we’re in conflict with a friend or loved one. Embracing the simple excuse of humanity doesn’t lead to resolution. Instead, would you take a moment to lift up that person in prayer? That’s the first step toward forgiveness and reconciliation.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…If you love those who love you, what reward will you get…And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that?” Matthew 5:43-47
Pray for those who persecute you. Ask God to help you love difficult people with His love.
Pray for your own shortcomings. Sometimes conflict is a simple clash of personalities or perspective on life. Respect those differences and try to find common ground. Ask God to show you positive steps toward eliminating your part in the conflict.  

Resolving conflict doesn’t ensure reconciliation. Sometimes prayer is the first and final step—for now.  

You might scratch your head and say, “What?”  

God created us as unique individuals. Even the most harmonious relationships will hit rough patches. At times, we have to agree to disagree, depending on the gravity of the situation. This is especially true in unhealthy relationships. Sometimes we have to walk away. God will reopen the door, if the circumstances change.  

If you’re in an abusive relationship, seek help and find a safe way to leave. Your safety trumps salvaging the relationship.  

Still, even the most difficult person and situation can be prayed for.  

As we go to the Lord in prayer, I encourage you to do the impossible. That person who hurt you, the one you’re at odds with, the one you feel you’ll never reconcile with—lift them up to the Lord. Ask God to bless them. Email me confidentially, if you’d like me to pray with you.  

Please share any prayer requests in the comments section below that you’d like others to pray about. Remember past requests for health, employment, mental health issues, and unstable housing situations. You may access the archives for the specific requests. 

Our song this week is “Who Am I?” by Casting Crowns. Join me in worshipping Our Father as we go to Him in prayer. 


God bless,


  1. Great post- love that song!

    Who am I? I'm God's beloved child! Who are you? Either my brother or sister or a potential member of my family...I must treat you as such.
    Not you literally, but I assume you get that :)

    1. Thanks, TC. I agree completely. If we look at difficult people through God's eyes, it's easier to show them love.

  2. so sad about robin gibb - i can't believe that all but one of the beegees are gone. more of our youth gone. the point you make with his brothers words and the scripture runs true especially for me because i have been estranged from my brother since right after the deaths of our parents. i have forgiven him and i pray for him daily but i do not feel we can ever have a relationship because of his issues - if i avoid him because i do not want to be part of his drama am i wrong? just would appreciate your opinion.

    prayer requests:
    thank the Lord for tony getting some work and just pray that for him. long daily drive and stressful positon.

    pray for my father in law, billy maye, he is in early stages of Alzheimer's and has been acting out quite a bit lately. also pray for my dear mother in law, jeanette maye, who is his care taker.

    1. Betty, I don't know what caused the split, but I would classify what you have described as an unhealthy relationship, if your brother's drama has a negative effect on you. Continue to pray for him and ask God to mend things between you two. Perhaps in time, things will work out. Ask yourself if you would feel the same as Barry after Robin's death, if something happened to your brother. However, as I stated above, getting rid of the conflict doesn't guarantee reconcilitation. I've had to draw boundaries in some relationships, too. It's not pleasant, but sometimes it's necessary. Praise God for Tony's job. I will continue to pray it gets better or something else will come along. I'll also pray for Tony's parents. Being a caregiver is tough.

  3. Great reminder to really really pray for those we are in conflict with. Thanks.

  4. Really great stuff in this post, Laura. I'm at the pray and wait stage in one of my relationships because the other party is not interested in reconciliation. Life can be tough, but prayer always helps.

    1. Thanks, Gail. I'm in a similar situation, as probably many people are. Prayer always helps. God bless you.