Conflict is the result of two or more disagreeing parties. It is not always a negative thing for there to be conflict for it can help us to grow, learn, and change for the better. Since there are no two persons on the planet that are exactly the same, we can be sure that conflict will arise. Conflict can happen in any relationship and so it is bound to happen in the family life. The family is made up of many individuals with various thought patterns, values, and experiences.  There are husbands and wives that were raised differently but now they are trying to raise a family with two different sets of values.  There are siblings that because of their birth place in the family and their given responsibilities or because of acts of favoritism, they now struggle with competition, jealousy, and bitterness. There are grandparents that because of the era they grew up in do not understand or appreciate what the younger generation may value and vice versa.  So in a family, we will not always see things the same way or choose the same course of action.  And because of this, there will be conflict.  But how do we resolve our conflicts and maintain a healthy fellowship that is crucial to fruitful family relationships?  We look to the Scriptures.  We are to understand that the Church is the Family of God.  So how the Church resolves conflicts and maintains a healthy fellowship is to be the model for our natural families. In the Bible, there was a church in the city of Corinth that was full of division, discord, and disorder. Yet, the Apostle Paul gives them the great key to resolving conflict and maintaining peace within the church.  That great key is found in 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 8 that says, “Love suffers long and is kind, love does not envy, love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” Yes, we must use wisdom when the fellowship becomes abusive. Yet, in general, love for one another is the answer.  So the Apostle Paul concludes in 1 Corinthians 14:1 by saying, “Pursue love.”  In our interactions with our spouses, pursue love.  In our interactions with our children, pursue love.  In our interactions with our parents, pursue love.  In our interactions with our brothers and sisters, pursue love.  Love covers a multitude of sin. Love keeps marriages together.  Love keeps siblings together.  Love keeps families together.  In short, love says, “I will be slow to take offense and always ready to reconcile. I will treat you with the same respect and mercy, I would give myself.”  When we practice the love that is defined in this 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, conflicts may rise but love will resolve them.  Hurts may happen but love will heal them.  Disagreements may come but love will solve them.  Offenses may rise but love will cover them.  It almost seems too simple to be true but as we pursue love, we will see that it is the most powerful tool in resolving conflicts and maintaining a healthy fellowship that ensures fruitful family relationships.

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