Why does Conflict Happen?

Conflict was experienced by the first family God created … conflict among Adam and Eve and their offspring … and it is still being experienced in homes today, as well as in workplaces and churches and among nations. Who hasn’t at times wanted to throw their hands up in the air and exclaim, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Well, we can—with the empowerment of God and through our obedience to Him. His Word provides principles for peace that can bring about the supernatural result of reconciliation and resolution, from the board room to the bedroom.“Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

conflict1Where does conflict come from? People are who they are and act the way they act as a result of a combination of factors.

Personality: Our temperament/personality traits can work to your advantage or disadvantage depending on whether you learn to use them productively in resolving conflicts or destructively in creating conflicts. “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” (2 Corinthians 3:5)

Previous experiences: We were deeply influenced by our early family relationships through words we heard and behaviours we saw that gave us messages about “who we are” and “what we do” and how to respond to conflict. We can change the assumptions you adopted about yourself and about conflict resolution that are influencing our behavior today by identifying the messages we received growing up in our family and evaluating them as to whether they are helpful or harmful. “Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.” (Job 34:4)

Physical characteristics: We were born with certain physical characteristics such as brain chemistry that may be affecting the way we respond to the rush of adrenaline experienced during times of conflict.  We can have a thorough medical checkup. When experiencing a conflict, we may even want to have an evaluation about brain chemistry. Did you know that you can learn ways to actually change the chemistry of your brain if it is causing you problems in conflict resolution? “He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.” (Psalm 107:20)

Adopted behaviour: We may have unintentionally learned patterns of responding to conflict by following the example of significant people in our life and may be subconsciously modeling our behaviour after those who either attack or avoid conflict. We can intentionally unlearn a behaviour pattern by determining to learn new behaviours and by modeling ourselves after people who embrace conflicts as a fact of life and who find ways of productively resolving them. “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” (Proverbs 1:5)