God’s Plan for handling Family Conflict

Key Scriptures:  Genesis 4:1-12; Psalm 133; Colossians 3:12-15

There are times in our lives when family members don’t get along – but what are we supposed to do about it?  We can learn through this lesson that, although there may be conflicts, God wants each of us to take responsibility for creating and maintaining peace in our relationships within our families.

Genesis 4:1-7 describes two brothers coming before God with their sacrifices.  God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, but rejected Cain’s.  Some scholars have suggested that God accepted Abel’s sacrifice because it involved the shedding of blood and rejected Cain’s because it didn’t.  We don’t know for sure; but we do know, however, that there was definitely an issue in the heart of Cain.  Read Genesis 4:7 and see God’s loving warning to him: Be careful what you do because sin can get the best of you.  Perhaps Abel brought his offering with a heart of true gratitude and Cain had a heart of obligation.

What role did sin play in Cain’s actions?  How does sin in our own life lead to conflict within our family?  Think about how family conflict can arise, and what happens when issues are not resolved.

Genesis 4:8-12 tells us that Cain then murdered Abel, and he lied to God about it.  When God confronted him Cain finally came to his senses and realized that separation from God would mean his own death.  What types of things could “kill” a relationship?

In almost every conflict there is a choice:  to forgive and be reconciled or to hold grudges, hate, and seek revenge.  Psalm 133:  David talks about the benefits and blessings that go along with living in harmony with others.  In Colossians 3:12-15, Paul emphasizes forgiveness, and that it is essential to peace.  Those who walk in righteousness, practicing a life of love, enjoy a harmonious existence, despite the differences.  Those who who follow their selfish desires live in stressful discord.  

Think about being clothed in love, mercy, forgiveness, and humility might look like.  Think about whether you might need to seek or grant forgiveness within your family.

Don’t be extra sensitive or overreact to tough situations.  Harness the situation by using Godly wisdom and God’s Word consistently; to be grounded when you are confronted by conflict.