As parents, let us remember that it is first and foremost in our home that our children will receive the most meaningful teachings of their lives by seeing us live, manage and resolve our conflicts and also by observing the way we act with each other.
One of the great issues in our pursuit of unity within our families is our ability to handle conflict. Too often, families find themselves at one of two extremes.
• Those who flee all forms of conflict and perpetually live in the unspoken, mistakenly believing that approaching a problem shows a lack of love.
• Those who get bogged down in forceful conflict with blame and hurtful words, systematically amplifying even lesser problems without respite or the prospect of hope and resolution.
The apostle Paul is very direct in dealing with this complex and sometimes tense subject of conflict management. We must no longer be children, but we must learn to speak the truth with love in order to grow. So the question the Spirit asks you is this: “Have I grown? Have I progressed in my ability to be calm and to resolve conflicts since I began walking with God? Have I made progress in my capacity to forgive?”
If the question of how you handle conflict were asked of your spouse and children, what would they say about you? "Daddy has a hot temper… Mom often criticizes others..."
Or would they say, “My husband, my wife, my father, my mother are not perfect, but I have seen them make progress through the years. They do not return evil for evil; they find and bring about peace. The sun does not set on their anger. They don't allow grudges to take root in themselves”?
We must no longer be immature children. We must no longer lie to get out of having to deal with problems. We must learn to grow in every aspect of our lives. As scripture says, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:14-15).
Dear believers, let us love our families and one another by learning how to graciously and lovingly speak the truth.
Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.