Thursday, February 17, 2011

Conflict is Inevitable

There are few marriages that are conflict free. In fact, there are few relationships that are conflict free. The Bible says it this way:

James 3
Taming the Tongue

1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.

5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.


So, if we humans are essentially uncontrollable in what we say, conflict is inevitable. How many times have we opened our moth, inserted a foot and wished we had kept silent? Or, as some tend to do, give our mate the "silent treatment"? A cold shoulder is as painful and difficult as a sharp tongue.

Proverbs reminds us that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue." How we treat each other either builds up or tears down the ones we love. As the old song says, "We only hurt the ones we love..." Conflict, fighting and interpersonal pain is so awful because we care so deeply about our partner.

One time Don Paisley and I were attending a concert in Indy when we passed a very drunk stranger on the side walk. He stopped, looked at me and began to call me some very bad names. He also so included my mother in the diatribe. I was not upset, hurt or angry. Why? Because I knew he was drunk stranger who did not know me. However, had it been my wife I would have been deeply offended.

Those we love can hurt us much more deeply than a stranger. That is why family conflict is so painful and far too often ends in a divorce. In fact, in many marriages, the couple continues to fight many years after the divorce. Why? Because they are still deeply enmeshed with each other.

So, conflict is inevitable because we care so much.

No comments: