Pastor Michelle Paxton, Aug. 2017
Dealing with conflict is probably the hardest thing to do, in any situation.
As you know, I am blogging in response to our Pastor’s sermons through this risky topic of sex in the bible based off of the Song of Solomon. Pastor Gary preached about conflict over a week ago, and let’s be honest, it has taken me this long to write about it. Conflict is hard; it is not easy. The part of the bible story we covered is based on conflict in a marriage, but this idea of conflict and how we deal with it can be applied to all of the relationships we have. My history in dealing with conflict is to brush it under the carpet, never to see it again. But, I really do see it again. I either see it in anger & anxiety in myself, distance in a relationship with someone I love, or just in an all-out fight. You know, God has a funny thing he does with me, maybe he does this with you too? He never lets me stay in the place I am, especially when it’s not a good place. God has given me some really good, real life opportunities to learn how to address conflict in my life, in all of my relationships. Dealing with conflict in a healthier way really started in my marriage. My husband has taught me so beautifully how to deal with conflict in a much better way. I won’t go into that today; that is for another time.
This conflict was surprisingly, or really not so surprisingly, about having sex. He wanted to have sex, and she was tired and ready for bed! Sound familiar? Looking at our lives today in the 21st century, the top three issues of conflict in marriage are Communication, Changing goals and Sex. Can you relate to any of these? My husband and I sure can. Especially the communication one. In church we are focusing on sacred sex in intimacy, but I took away from this sermon the general idea of dealing with conflict in my marriage, and in all my other relationships as well.
In this story out of Song of Solomon, the young women goes to her friends to talk about the conflict with her husband. I can relate. I go to my best friend with a lot of things, especially conflict with my husband. Usually it’s after the fact, “Can you believe he had the nerve to…”, and then we end up laughing about it. Who do you go to when you have conflict in a relationship? Do you go to a trusted mentor, pastor, counselor or close friend? Remember that when we go to others with conflict we are having in a relationship, we are putting that conflict, those negative thoughts we are having, on that person we are going to. So now, that person’s view may be skewed regarding the person you are in conflict with. This story really made me realize how important it is to go to a trusted mentor, pastor or counselor with conflict issues that I cannot deal with on my own.
This also leads me to another thought that my pastor brought up: Thinking the best of others. When we are in conflict with someone, not agreeing on something, it is easy to be negative. So, when you choose your mentor, pastor, counselor or friend to go to with your conflict, where are they going to direct you? Let’s look at this story and see what her friends did. Her friends pointed her back to her husband. They asked her what made her fall in love, what she loved and admired about him. They did not let her get side tracked from her marriage, from her relationship. They brought her back to thinking the best about her husband, setting aside the differences, and responding to the conflict in love, not in anger. This, you all, is the key to relationships! This is the key to not seeing our world end in divorce, broken families, and broken relationships. Is anyone perfect? No, they are not? Can we strive to see a change in our culture, in our cities, in our nation, in our world for better relationships, for better people? Yes, yes we can! We can strive to see that by starting with our relationships. We can pursue conflict with honest love, thinking the best of the other person. We can practice forgiveness, we can set an example for our children, we can teach our children what dealing with conflict looks like in love and in respect.
We can be the examples of change in this world; we can choose to deal with conflict in a healthy, mature, Godly way!