Enrich Your Family Life, Part III
"Don't sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil."1
As noted yesterday, wherever people live together some conflict is inevitable. Keep in mind, however, that many reactions to conflict are overreactions caused by unresolved conflicts from the past. For instance, if you had a "nagging" parent and your partner even appears to be "nagging," chances are your old feelings will be triggered and you will overreact.
When we overreact, the overreaction is always our problem. We need to accept responsibility for that and not blame others. Otherwise, conflicts will remain unresolved.
To admit that one is overreacting is being mature. To blindly act out those feelings is immature. Instead, when anxious emotions are triggered, don't deny these feelings but say to yourself, "How would I act in this situation if I weren't feeling so upset?" Then try to act accordingly and then verbalize your feelings without blaming the other person for them.
If overreaction is a pattern of your behavior, do not hesitate to seek help from a competent counselor. To admit need for help is also a sign of maturity.
Forgiveness is another essential quality in healthy relationships
"Many marriages are gradually eroded and eventually destroyed because one person is unable to forgive," says Norman Wright. "A person who continually brings up something his spouse did or said in the past continues to punish the other person and erects a wall of coldness."2
As God forgives us when we confess our wrongs, we also need to forgive each other.3
Clear communications, doing things together, handling conflicts creatively, and forgiving each other are all vital for family harmony. However, the most important need is to put God at the center of your home. He can make a much better job of it than you can if you will daily commit your life to Him and follow His divine order for the home.
Research has shown that families who are deeply committed to their Christian faith have a much better chance of having a happy marriage and home. A good way to start is by going to church every week as a family.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, whenever I have a conflict with any friend or family member, please help me to communicate effectively without overreacting or playing the blame game. And where I've been hurt, please help me to deal with my feelings in a creative way and forgive the one who hurt me as You have so freely forgiven me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
NOTE: This series on the family is adapted from the online article, "Enrich Your Family Life" by Richard Innes at. http://tinyurl.com/enrich-family-life.
1. Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT).
2. Family Life Today, January 1980.
3. See Colossians 3:13.