Thursday, August 11, 2011

Afraid of Conflict Resolution

Posted by Hannah at 11:01 AM

The Light of GodI will admit at times I get apprehensive about being ‘real’ around certain people.  I used to be REALLY bad at that, because I was taught that you should always be the sugar sweet person at all times. 


That means instead of voicing your opinion about why something makes you upset?  You have to stop, think, and possibly go a different route to voice this – or you know not to voice it at all. 


Why?  People tend to point out your attitude as they see it, and wish to deal with that more than the substance of the point or hurt in question.


I’m not going to say that it’s a bad thing to watch your tone and approach.  I will say at times we tend to go a little to far in that realm.  If your approach isn’t ‘just so’ that is what is pointed out and concentrated on more than the true hurt that people need to deal with.


The Wartburg Watch recently had an article called the confessions of a SGM Pastor.  They speak of two awful stories about people within a fellowship that found out their children had been sexually abused by another party within the fellowship.  The principals that church followed were to help bring ‘peace’ among all parties.  The problem is in order to have this ‘peace’ they basically avoided dealing with the circumstances completely.  The families couldn’t speak of the hurt and betrayal they felt over the molestation, because to the church it showed their lack of forgiveness.

These were situations where the family of the victim and the family of the perpetrator were friends. There were pre-existing, close relationships. As they’re trying to sort these things through, when relational conflicts arose between the victim’s family and the perpetrator’s family, we unwisely used a Peacemaker model for conflict resolution. This resulted, put them on an equal plane – get the log out of your eye, get the log out of your eye, go for the speck, go for the speck – this resulted in the victim’s family being corrected when they should have been gently cared for as sufferers.

I read this and I thought of the many stories we have all heard not only that dealt with this issue, but also the theme of the blog – domestic violence in the church.  This is more doctrine that fact.


How often are men, women and children asked to look at their own sin before they speak about verbal abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse?  I think of Tina Anderson , and how she was asked to own 1% of the sin of her being raped.  How many stories have read over at Danni Moss’s Blog, Because It Matters in which she spoke of boy and girls being molested by people in the church, and adults feeling very justified in attacking the children to defend the adult.  How these children were running after the molester to be with them – thus they must have wanted it.    How the adult in the church was a 'Godly’ person, and just made a mistake.


How often do we hear hints of BE more submissive, watch your tone and approach, and make sure you are ‘encouraging’ to the person that is abusing you verbally, emotionally or physically? 


We don’t do well in gently caring for sufferers.  When a spouse or child are being abused we see more often than not how we need to realize a relationship is 50/50 in fault, and we never attempt to deal with the dangerous brokenness of character – or obvious sinfulness of that person.  We are asked to look for the GOOD qualities, and don’t be so nasty that all you see is the BAD ones! 


Yes.  There are always assumptions about your motivation, character, and how you dealt with things so far.

The Equal Plane


How can people honestly place abusive acts from individuals and their victims on equal planes? 


It makes about as much sense as people stating to the starving in countries that are rift with corruption, “Why don’t you just move?”  It doesn’t matter if the resources aren’t there to move.   Although if someone is trying to make a point they will search for individuals that DO have the resources, and didn’t move to make their point.  They don’t seem to grasp their point still hasn’t been made.


I honestly think people don’t understand the principals that the bible speaks of.  It is possible in a overall healthy and regular course of life that YES you need to look to yourself before accusing another.  It’s a good thing to approach the brother you felt sinned against you, and settle things between you if you can.


Hinting that you must place a murderer  and the victim’s family into the realm of ‘take the speak out of your eye’ or ‘approach your brother that sinned against you’ before you can grief, be angry, feel hurt, betrayed, and all the rest of it that comes along?


That dear people is called stuffing, and its not healthy.    You must deal with those emotions, feelings, etc.  That doesn’t mean you marinate in them all your life, because YES you must find a way to move forward.


Here is example of nonsense that seems to be regularly given.



Question 5: My husband is both verbally and physically abusive. Some friends say I should just forgive and submit. Others say I should get out. What does the Bible say I should do?

Answer: The Bible calls us to love our enemies and do all we can to resolve conflicts in a way that will lead to complete forgiveness and reconciliation. It also teaches that we should submit to those whom God has placed in authority over us. But neither of these commands cancels other biblical principles that apply to domestic abuse.

Matthew 18:15-20, Luke 17:3, and Galatians 6:1-2 clearly command us to lovingly yet firmly confront someone who is caught in a sinful habit pattern. There is nothing in the Bible that says a wife should not follow these passages. If your husband is sinning against you through verbal or physical violence, God says you should do everything in your power to help him repent. If you cannot confront him safely on your own, you should go to your pastor and ask him to talk with your husband (Matt. 18:16). Or you could appeal to your husband to go to counseling with you. If he refuses to respond to counseling, then you should ask your church to exercise discipline in an effort to bring him to repentance (Matt. 18:17-20). (If your pastor is inexperienced in dealing with domestic violence, encourage him to read the CCEF booklet on Domestic Abuse).

If your husband refuses to respond to church counsel or discipline, and if you or your children are in danger of serious harm, it is appropriate to separate temporarily and seek help from the police and civil courts (Rom. 13:1-5). Sometimes a violent man has to face civil consequences before he sees the seriousness of his behavior.

Even while you pursue these avenues, you also need to follow other biblical commands with regard to your own heart and conduct. While nothing would justify abuse on the part of your husband, Jesus still calls you to take responsibility for your contribution to the situation, even if it seems small (Matt. 7:3-5). As God enables you to change things you may be doing that aggravate conflict in your marriage, it may be easier for your husband to submit to counseling and make lasting progress in controlling his anger.

As God brings repentance and confession to your husband, you can grant forgiveness and experience a genuine reconciliation in your marriage, thereby demonstrating the redeeming power of God's love and forgiveness.

If you notice they concentrate TO MUCH on forgiveness, and no true mention of healing.  They state you need to take the log out of your eye, and yet in the first breath state you are not responsible for the abuse.  Lets not confuse people here huh?


Its well known WHY  you WOULD NOT place a victim and their abuser in the same counseling session, and yet the victim here is encouraged to do so.  


Domestic Violence is not an angry problem.  Anger is present, but it is only a symptom. 


The way abusers handle anxiety, conflict resolution, or just life in general is up to them.  The way the above reads is that victims have not made a good enough effort to calm the storm.  They are responsible for being willing to learn ‘spiritual pixie dust ways of healthy’ conduct with a dangerous person. 


YET, There is no true acknowledgment of the danger the victims are dealing with. pinching-the-light


Normally, victims are afraid of abusers because they are unpredictable – among other things.  If counselor gets deep enough with the abusers they realize there is no visual ‘switch’ that sets them off.  So this junk about learning about what it is that you do that aggravates the conflict?  It show their lack of knowledge of what they are dealing with.


Remove Your Log and Blame Shifting


I think we all know at this point that both abusers and victims have their own separate issues.  One of many main issues with victims is lack of self worth that had been crushed, and also codependency.  Part of breaking the habit of codependency is losing your habit of being responsible for other’s feelings, actions, etc.  A codependent tends to own things that are NOT theirs to own.  There is no line in the sand between what is your part, and what is their part.  They tend to own all of it – if not most.


They feel responsible for the person NOT being happy or content or whatever label you wish to use.  The above advice doesn’t recognize these traits, but encourages them to use the traits instead.  Can we say what a dumb way to approach things?!


There is no vision towards recognizing the line in the sand between their actions, and the abuser’s actions.  They already have a unhealthy sense of responsibility, and the above basically validates it.  You have to stop and ask yourself WHY in heaven’s name would they want to do that??  Its because they seem to think they understand abusive dynamics, and clearly don’t.  Sadly, not uncommon.


They are basically giving the same unhealthy message to victims that it is their fault, and the blame shifting begins.  There is no true ownership of their abusers faults, actions, and behaviors – its also something shared.  That’s nonsense. 


When the abusive party comes home from work in a bad mood, and kicks the children’s toys across the room upon entering the home?  SCREAMS that they hate toys being around, etc?  All of a sudden the rage starts.


What normally happens with parties that love this peacemaker stuff?  They ask the family if it is true the spouse hates toys on the floor when they come home from work.  How you need to own that part.  That validates the abusive party, and invalidates the harm that happened that evening.  They don’t see that adds to the conflict, and does nothing towards ‘resolution’ which would be true ‘peace’.


We can only be responsible for our own actions, and abusive people don’t do that at the beginning.  They may say, ‘sorry’ but then quickly remind everyone if they hadn’t done this, that or the other they wouldn’t have exploded.  That’s a non apology.  There is no repentance there.  The above advice almost tells you that you are to give benefit of the doubt, or they will question your motivation towards reconciliation.


The church in question at the beginning of this article?  They may have started to take their own log out of their eye, but time will tell how genuine it is.

As they’re trying to sort these things through, when relational conflicts arose between the victim’s family and the perpetrator’s family, we unwisely used a Peacemaker model for conflict resolution.

Its sad how often we see this.    Find a way of making peace, but conflict resolution?  That doesn’t happen until you DEAL with the conflict.


Recently, on there was a thread about a wife confused because her husband had brought something up she may or may not have done A MONTH ago!  It was an action that all agreed was out of character for her, and the parties that were with them don’t even remember the event he claimed happened.  She doesn’t either it either.  She didn’t feel comfortable with an apology for something she didn’t do, and her husband was upset.   


Another aspect of this ‘peacemaker’ model is people telling her that she should apologize anyway, because someone has to offer forgiveness.  How this would be a way to show love and service towards your husband.  How Jesus took shame, mocking, etc.  How is that for manipulative?


This is really DUMB advice as well.  Notice that they didn’t advise her to find out what the TRUE conflict was, but find a way of making it go away.  There was someone in that thread that mentioned – it has be both at fault here.  How?  No one has a clue, but it still has to be both SOMEHOW, SOME WAY!  So he felt in conclusion she needs to repent of some mystery sin that may or may not have existed to make peace.   


That’s is NOT biblical conflict resolution.  That’s being lazy, because you don’t want to go any deeper than the surface stuff.  You don’t accuse your spouse of something no one remembers happening, and then demand apology – then think if you get one all is well with the world.  Something has to be bothering this man that has nothing to do with the mystery sin, because most in a healthy relationship aren’t going to marinate on it for a month before they bring it up.  If people don’t remember it happening – then get mad because they don’t remember?  Its immaturity that wasn’t brought up as well.


If you think about this long enough?  They basically broke one of the first rules of the peacemaker model as well.  They held on to the circumstance of sin for a month, and held it against the spouse and family.    It seems once the sin is brought up – then use the model.  You don’t need to if others don’t being up conflict.   Yes, that makes absolutely no sense at all.


Certain posters were MORE upset over her not giving PEACE in their eyes compared to actually resolving what was happening.  They were not interested in what was really happening – just apology and move on.  Did they ask WHY she brought it up and why it was so confusing for her?  Nope.  Didn’t go in that direction either.


This isn’t peacemaking.  Its avoiding.  Its diverting.


Resolution and Peace


john-bible-godThere seems to be a lot of speeches about how we are take the penalty as Jesus did, and you are reminded how he was mocked, beaten, accused as an innocent man.


Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”


Can we apply the principal Jesus is speaking to here to all the sins that have been placed upon us?  No.  At times people do indeed know what they do.


When we pretend that everyone that sins against us are on the same level as those that Jesus is speaking about?  There will be no peace.


We have to stop and ask ourselves HOW Jesus would respond to one of his inner circle that accused of something he did not do.  How would Jesus respond if one of his inner circle sinned against him – besides the sins that were written about.


John 3:19-21 (Phi) "This is the judgment: that light has entered the world, and men have preferred darkness to light because their deeds were evil. Everybody who does wrong hates the light and keeps away from it, for fear his deeds may be exposed. But everybody who is living by the truth will come to the light to make it plain that all he has done has been done through God."

Heb 4:12-13 (Phi) For the word that God speaks is alive and active; it cuts more keenly than any two-edged sword; it strikes through to the place where soul and spirit meet, to the innermost intimacies of a man's being: it examines the very thoughts and motives of a man's heart. No creature has any cover from the sight of God; everything lies naked and exposed before the eyes of him with whom we have to deal.

John 12:35 (NIV) Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going."

Ps 32:5 (NIV) Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord," and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Pr 4:18-19 (NIV) The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.


Notice the passages concentrate on the individual, and not percentages!  He wishes to deal with substance and not generalities that are made by man.

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