Not all passages in the Bible are easy to apply to our life, especially when we’ve been hurt. Here is one that has hit me right between the eyes many times before:
Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs” (NIV).
When we’ve been hurt, it can be easy to harbor bitterness or fuel hate. But this passage is saying, forget your feelings of hatred toward others and live out love no matter what. This can seem easier said than done.
We resolve conflict by covering all with love
A heart like Christ’s will love your enemies and never repay evil with evil. True love will always esteem the other person more highly than themselves.
- If our marriage is falling flat, then most likely you’ve lost sight of what it means to be selfish, be it in the kitchen or the bedroom.
- If our relationship with our kids are contentious, them perhaps our own hopes and goals have imposed themselves on to the relationship rather than letting love be the bond that ties us.
- If our parents are more a duty than a delight to us, then perhaps we’re holding on to failures of the past and making too much of interruptions in the present all because we selfishly want our own life on our own terms.
Above all, Love
In the New Testament, Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” He wasn’t saying, love so you can get away with things. The idea is that you and I will sin, we will fail expectations of God and others. We need God’s grace to love well in light of our mistakes. If we love, we will be welcomed in love.
Listen, God’s grace to us allows us to have grace for others. The righteous heart longs to be reconciled, but the flesh of heart will harbor bitterness.
Also, When it comes to resolving family conflict, we need to remember that the way we resolve conflict sets an example for everyone in the family.
You want to leave a legacy that is peaceful, meaningful and impactful for God’s Kingdom? Then you must deal with family conflict well. Your kids are watching. Your grandkids are watching. Your nieces, nephews and siblings are all taking note of the way you live out your faith in your family relationships.
I get it, this is not easy. You may be thinking, Yeah, Josh, but you don’t understand what they have done to me!
I may not know your exact case, but I’ve been counseling and pastoring long enough to know that some of you have been so hurt by your family because:
- They cheated you out of your inheritance
- You’ve been misinterpreted and misrepresented
- You’ve been shunned for your personal decisions
- You’ve been molested by someone in your family… and no one believed you.
- You chose Christ against your family’s wishes
- Your dad said terrible things to you
- Your brother did something to your kid that you can’t fathom
- Your sister-in-law shatters your marriage every chance she gets
- Your mom never gave you her approval and still just takes and takes…
Here is the truth, you can’t make amends for the things that have been done to you without the help of God. When you understand that God has given you grace for the things you’ve done against Him, then you are going to be able to forgive what has been done to you. In God’s family, you’ve:
- Blame shifted hundreds of times
- You’ve promised to not do something again and you did
- You loved something more than Him
- You’ve lied to Him
- You’ve disobeyed just to get what you thought was better than what he had for you
That is hard to hear, but true. You and I have hurt our heavenly father more than we want to admit. And all the while, He has remained a faithful and loving father. He has forgiven you. Freed you from the guilt and shame. Held nothing against you. Always welcoming you home.
You can forgive because you have been forgiven. You can resolve family conflict because the conflict of your sin has been resolved with God, through Jesus Christ! Make it your goal to keep short lists with others and resolve conflict now!