Declaring Peace At Home

Bible Book: James  4 : 1-3
Subject: Conflict Resolution; Marriage; Love; Family; Home

Many of you can remember the turbulent 60's and early 70's. Out of these times came the "peace movement." Many can remember Richard Nixon standing on the steps of air force one with his fingers raised in the popular "V" that became synonymous with peace. It was during this time that the peace symbol became popular. The hippie movement pervaded American life. There was lots of talk about peace but little of it. Times have changed but the situation has not.

Conflict is common and there is no place where it is more common than in the home. The home should be the center of peace. It is often the war zone rather than the peace zone.

Jesus warned of this. He said, "A home filled with strife and division destroys itself."

Conflict is inevitable. We are all different and because we are different we are going to clash. The key is conflict management and that is the purpose of the message today. We want to look at ways to restore peace to a warring home. We must begin by understanding the "root" of conflict.

The Bible answers the question, "Why do conflicts get out of hand?" James 4: 1-3, "What causes conflicts and quarrels among you? Do they not spring from the aggressiveness of your bodily desires? You want something which you cannot have, and so you are bent on murder; you are envious, and cannot attain your ambition, and so you quarrel and fight. You do not get what you want, because you do not pray for it. Or, if you do, your requests are not granted because you pray from wrong motives, to spend what you get on your pleasures." (NKJV)

I. Competing Desires

The cause of conflict, James says, is competing desires. I want what I want. You want what you want. We have competing needs and interests.

Illustration: Hot natured and cold natured. Spend and save. Driven and laid back. When a couple gets married they have many expectations and most will never be fulfilled. They are unrealistic.

Someone said marriage goes through three stages.

1. The happy honeymoon.
2. The party's over.
3. Let's make a deal.

James goes on to say that we don't have what we need because we don't ask God. We try to work out the situation in our own energy rather than the energy of God. When we do ask, we ask wrongly. That leads to the next thing we must understand about conflict.

II. Our Response to Conflict

A. My Way

That's what James is saying. We ask with one goal in mind, "The satisfaction of our own desires." This leads to murder. We kill the relationship. (God can resurrect relationships!) Too many of us see marriage as "My way is the only way."

B. No Way

I withdraw. I ignore the problem; avoid it at all costs. Nothing is ever resolved.

C. Your Way

I give in. I want your approval, so I pretend I'm a doormat and always give in to your wishes.

D. Half Way

This is compromise. You win some; I win some.

E. Our Way

We work together. The relationship is as important as solving the problem. That leads us to resolution of the conflict. We will look at some ways conflict can be resolved and peace restored.

III. Resolution of Conflict

A. Commit your Life to Christ

You can't have peace with people until you have peace with God. There is peace with God. There is the peace of God. Ephesians 2:16, "As parts of the same body our anger with each other has disappeared for both of us have been reconciled to God and so the feud has ended at the cross." When God's spirit is in control of my life and His spirit is in control of your life I can assure you Jesus is not going to fight with Jesus.

B. Carry the Conflict to God

James 4:2 comes back to life. "You quarrel and fight, because you do not ask God." Another person cannot meet all your needs. Only God can do that. When I want another person to meet all my needs I am asking that person to be God.

C. Check out Yourself

Before you start accusing others in your family ask yourself how much is your fault? Jesus said, "Why then do you look at the speck in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? Take the log out of your own eye first and then you will be able to see and take the speck out of your brother's eye."

Questions to ask:

1. Am I too sensitive?
2. Am I too demanding?
3. Am I unrealistic?
4. Am I insensitive?

You have to make a decision. James is pointing this out in his conversation on conflict. The ultimate decision in life is am I going to please myself, or am I going to please God? Too many of us as Christians are practical atheists. We say we believe in God but then we choose to ignore his direction for our lives.

IV. Confront the Issues

Conflict must be dealt with. Jesus was clear on this. "If you remember your brother has something against you leave your gift in front of the altar and go make peace with your brother."

Some of our biggest fights are on the way to church. My wife and I have a solution for that. We don't ride to church together! Seriously, some of you may need to put this message on pause and make up with your spouse. Reach over and take that hand. Wink at them from the choir. Blow 'em a kiss. Just make sure your aim is good!

V. Cease Using your Weapons of Mass Destruction During a Fight

A. Never Compare

"Why can't you be like?"

B. Never Condemn

"You always...," you never..."

C. Never Challenge

Like kids drawing a line in the sand.

D. Never Condescend

Don't belittle your spouse.

E. Never Confuse

Don't bring up unrelated issues in the middle of an argument.

VI. Change Your Focus

Move attention from self to the other person. From selfishness to unselfishness. Philippians 2:4-5 "Each of you should look out not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus."


Get help. There are many avenues in a church like ours: Couples I marry sign an agreement: In essence the agreement says, before our problems get too bad we will contact you and allow you to direct us to the counsel you deem best. Proverbs 15:12 "Conceited people do not like to be corrected. They never ask for advice from those who are wiser."

Recognition: We have a problem.

Reaction: It's worse than I thought.

Resolution: What are we going to do about it?