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How To Repair A Family Conflict?

By bro Lee Tian Seng

We cannot avoid conflicts in the family but we need to recognise a conflict and resolve it. Conflicts happen when there is a clash of opinions, misunderstanding of intentions or when one person in the family hurts the feeling of another. How do we resolve such conflicts?

When family members or married couples quarrel, it is always about disagreement over some matters, big or small. It could be how money should be spent or who is not spending enough time with the children. It could be as trivial as which TV programme to watch. Where there is an obvious impasse, one could choose to give way to the other. There is no need to fight over a small matter. However, if it is does really matter to you and it is not about giving way, then it is best to talk about it. The purpose of talking is not to establish who is right or wrong but to understand each other’s point of view. So, it is best to be open and objective. Give ample time for each other to explain his or her view and express how he or she feels about it. We need to have a good understanding on why the conflicting issue affects both parties. With love and sincerity, one should venture to seek the other’s interest or needs rather than only being concerned about oneself. Talking also helps when there is a misunderstanding in the family.

Philippians 2: 2-4 - Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

When one person hurts the other by words or actions (or non-actions), it is best to resolve it by bring it up. The person who is offended should talk to the offender as what the Bible teaches. It make sense to me because at times one is offended but the offender is not aware of it. If you realise that you have offended your family member, then you should apologise for being offensive or careless. The purpose of bringing up the matter is not to establish who is right or wrong but to lovingly seek understanding and a closure to conflict.

Matthew 18:15 - Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.

After talking about a conflict, it is necessary to agree or compromise on matters in dispute than to leave it unresolved. If it is an offense, one of the parties should apologise and the other be ready to unreservedly forgive.

Ephesians 4:26-27 - “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.

Ephesians 4:31-32 - Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

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