II Corinthians 4:8-10
II Corinthians 7:4-5
A. Conflict Must Be Dealt With.
1. Conflict exists Universally --- jobs --- family --- school ...
2. It can neither be avoided nor ignored.
B. Conflict Diminishes Our Happiness and has the potential of Destroying Us.
1. Conflict has left us with Broken Lives and Emotionally Burned-Out people.
2. Conflict occupies a Major Amount of Our Time and Threatens --- Our Homes --- Our Communities --- Our Churches --- Our Own Sanity ...
C. Many lives have been wrecked by Poor Conflict Canagement.
1. Powerful people Crush the weak,
2. Fearful people Succumb to the bully,
3. Angry individuals Rebel with terrorism,
4. Timid people Withdraw in despair,
5. Others Escape into Fantasy worlds .....
D. God never intended for this world to be a pile of broken lives, paralyzed people, or a battlefield where people destroy one another.
I. The Adamic Nature Is Naturally Suspicious, Negative, And Distant.
A. Some people who are suspicious, negative, and distant --- rebel against everything:
1. Create trouble (conflict) for everyone,
2. Reject all affection and love,
3. Operate with a negative, independent spirit,
4. Their spirits are nasty and non-conforming,
5. They are a pain to themselves and others.
B. In conflict, Fear and Pressure --- makes even good people --- change their minds in serving God.
1. The Israelites were Joyful And Excited when --- after 430 years of praying --- God sent Moses to set them Free .....
2. However, this Joy only lasted until they came to the Red Sea --- where they again met with conflict.
3. They complained about the Foolishness of leaving Egypt (Something They Had Prayed For - 430 years) --- and Moses' crazy dream.
C. For Moses, the sea was only the beginning of the conflicts Created by --- "Going Forward."
1. His training and preparation had helped him learn how to:
a. Accept criticism,
b. Consider impossible odds,
c. Keep his wits about him,
d. Not panic when the going was tough.
2. Some Challenged His Leadership and even revolted --- Grumbling was common.
3. The Negative, Pessimistic Attitudes of these ex-slaves kept them in the wilderness an extra forty years.
4. Their Independent, Uncooperative, Undisciplined lives multiplied the Conflicts Moses faced.
5. For Moses --- moving forward meant taking all conflicts Seriously.
D. Did you know that most conflicts arise over who we are In Relationship To Other People.
1. Living in relationship to any other human being requires conflict management skills.
2. We must have a common Respect For Each Other --- harmony, not disharmony.
3. We must work for solutions, not destruction --- establish good will, not broken relationships.
4. The Christian faith should be Sensitive to the needs of people.
a. We are to love as we have been loved.
b. Love is the key that gives perspective to life.
c. Love must supersede money, status, or power.
II. Managing Conflicts Mean --- We Must Make Choices.
A. Life is not so much an achievement as it is a Pilgrimage.
1. We are always in Transition from "what was" to "what is going to be."
2. In other words, life is a series of Choices --- of growing --- of changing ...
B. The biggest choice that we have to make is to Accept --- the Love That God Offers in each new conflict.
C. We are Responsible for Our Choices --- God calls us Forward By Choice.
D. However, Impossible Demands are not our responsibility.
1. We cannot give what we do not have, any more than we can come back from where we have not been.
2. Peter recognized his limitations --- he Didn't Borrow money for the beggar --- Nor did he feel that he Owed The Beggar a living.
3. We need to recognize our limits --- to Accept Responsibilities Beyond Our Abilities is to create insurmountable Conflicts.
4. God expects us to give only According to our ability --- We Are To Give Our Best.
5. Our part is to be faithful ... With What We Have ...
E. Life is full of Impossible Demands --- sometimes these demands come from Within --- sometimes from Without.
F. Sometimes we Expect Impossible Things of Others --- our realistic demands, again, create Unnecessary Conflict.
III. Rejection Is Not Only A Form of Conflict --- It Is A Form of Death.
A. The first Response to rejection is Anxiety.
Rejection threatens your Self-Worth --- your Value --- your very Existence.
B. The second Response is to Reject the person who rejects you.
C. The third response to rejection is to turn the experience inward.
1. We may Withdraw like a turtle --- build a Wall.
2. People are more convinced by critical remarks than they are by Complimentary ones.
3. A survey in Clovis, New Mexico, showed that 70% of The Dropouts in the school had been isolated by students and sometimes by faculty members.
D. The fourth Response is to Run --- to Escape --- through sickness, alcohol, drugs, or through some obsession.
E. The fifth Response is to take a Balanced Look at life.
There is a Big Difference between Losing and being a Loser --- Being a loser is an Attitude that causes us to Give Up in despair and hopelessness.
F. Conflict can be either Good or Bad --- depending upon how You Respond to it --- It is one thing to Complain and Criticize --- it is far more important to come up with a Better Solution.
II Corinthians 1:3-5, "Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, THAT we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ."
G. If people rejected Jesus, that was a risk He had to take.
1. His convictions (and love) were more important than life itself.
2. He reached out to His friends --- but His friends could not handle the pressure of this rejection --- so they likewise left (rejected) Him.
3. Choices Have Consequences.
IV. Conflict Is Created When Our Intentions Are Misunderstood.
A. The World misunderstood the Intentions of Jesus.
1. The scribes, chief priest, and elders Failed To Understand or agree with His Intentions.
2. They found Jesus to be a real Threat to many of their cherished values.
B. Misunderstandings Are Normal.
1. Each of us has a Different background, environment, history, and tradition .....
2. These unique experiences Shapes Our Thinking .....
3. Every person has a Unique Perception of what happens --- we will not always understand one another.
C. Acquiring the desire and skills to Love People who Misunderstand Us and Radically Disagree with us is Not Easy.
Misunderstandings can be challenges to enlarge our perspective on life --- To think about Other People's feelings, interests, intentions, needs, and wants.
D. Misunderstandings do not have to Destroy Us --- nor do we have to use them as reasons to Destroy Others.
Misunderstandings can be the very basis by which Change and Growth take place in our life.
E. Many misunderstandings could be avoided if we developed some important Skills In Communication.
1. Love prompts us to Avoid, rather than Evade, misunderstanding.
2. Language is a very Clumsy way to communicate.
3. Take Time to Listen --- listen to what is meant.
4. Communicate What You Heard back to the speaker to check Your Perception.
5. Report What You Heard --- not "What They Said" --- you are not Arguing; you are seeking Understanding.
F. Hearing and accepting the others person's Meaning is a very important skill --- it is based on Love.
1. Relationship building is done only by people who will Play Fair.
2. Not all misunderstandings are going to be resolved --- Not All People Will Play Fair --- not all people have the Capacity To Love.
3. Even if you play fair --- there is No Guarantee of Fair Play by others.
G. We cannot control Other's Understanding of us.
1. However, we can control how we Respond --- We can be Authentic.
2. We can speak the truth in love --- Truth And Love Are More Important Than Winning.
3. We Can Grow through every experience.
H. How can the church overcome Conflicts?
1. The Purpose of The Church must be clear.
2. Deep loyalties will not be formed until there is a Common Conviction About Goals.
3. Pluralism is destructrive unless there is a Common Goal.
4. A church whose members hold Contradictory Desires will be Immobilized until they find a way to Resolve Their Differences.
5. Our goals and beliefs Govern Our Behavior.
6. Why Should Anyone Want To Go With Us If We Don't Know Where We Are Going?
V. What About Anger And Self-Pity?
A. Anger arises because conflict has gotten out of hand and We Feel Threatened.
B. Anger is an emotion found in every person --- and is expressed in many ways:
1. Information is withheld --- needed communication is prevented,
2. Cooperation is denied,
3. Reputations are ruined,
4. Careers are broken,
5. Friendships are destroyed ...
C. Anger is a powerful fuel for action.
1. Keeping in touch with God's Messengers, Our Heritage and our own Purpose In Life, helps us channel anger wisely.
2. These times of conflict can be the very experiences that makes us stop long enough to hear the still small voice of God.
D. Don't Waste Your Conflicts.
II Corinthians 1:3-4, "Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, THAT we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
A Search For The Truth