Four Keys to Dealing with Conflict

August 6, 2018
Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.  Matthew 18:15   The man who sat in the office of psychologist Ed Fish was middle‑aged and quite successful.  He began talking about his daughter's forthcoming marriage, but instead of looking forward to it, he dreaded it.  Why?  Because he did not like the man she was marrying?  Not at all!  He liked him.  "I would really like to have somebody from the family at the wedding," he wistfully remarked. "Do you have any brothers and sisters?" asked the counselor.  "Two brothers."  "Why don't you invite them?"  "I cannot," he remarked, "we have not spoken to each other for years."  "What's the problem?"  The man sat there, cleared his throat and fumbled with the buttons on his coat as he told the psychologist, "You know, I can't remember."  That is the way conflicts develop.  Once a silent, undeclared war between family members or individuals commences, nobody wants to lose face and admit to being at fault. Fish recalls that on another occasion a woman sat in his office and said, "My mother told me the other day that when she dies, she would like to have three funerals."  "Three funerals?" he questioned.  "That is because she has three children who do not talk to each other." Something happens, and we withdraw.  We brood in anger and resentment which, like concrete, sets in bitterness.  Refusing to be the first to admit to wrong, we pull back.  Believe it or not, most family quarrels do not involve the family estate or who gets the title to the family business.  They involve petty issues that offend our pride but in reality, do not really matter and certainly will not matter a few years from now.  Yet relationships are fractured and people who ought to be close to each other become worst enemies.  In the next few moments, I will give you four guidelines which constitute a formula for resolving conflict, a formula that is guaranteed to work. Guideline #1:  Determine that life is too short to live with anger and bitterness in your heart.  Time does not allow me to quote medical authorities who would tell you that conflict is a killer, and it is not the other person it kills, it is you. Guideline #2:  Take the first step in resolving conflict.  Jesus told His disciples, "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over” (Matthew 18:15).  Jesus' advice is not only cross-cultural, it is counter‑cultural as well.  It is tough to say to yourself, "This thing has gone on too long already; I am going to do what God wants me to do and go talk about it." Guideline #3:  Learn to say, "I'm sorry; forgive me!" And then stop!  Do not ruin it by passing the guilt to the other person by saying something like, "Well, it was your fault as much as it was mine...."  That is true, undoubtedly, but when you are willing to accept responsibility by saying, "I'm sorry; forgive me," you have taken the path which Jesus trod in accepting our sins and failures, bringing reconciliation with our heavenly Father.  You will never reach so high as when you accept the responsibility of a broken relationship by saying, "I'm sorry, forgive me." Guideline #4:  Once you have dealt with an issue, consider it dead and buried.  One last thought:  Unless you live so perfectly that you will never, ever have to ask God to forgive you of anything, better learn to forgive, for Jesus said, "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14‑15). Resource reading: Psalm 1: 1-6

A Prayer for Your Family

February 27, 2017
Bible Text: Philippians 1:9-11 | Speaker: Darlene Sala | Series: Encouraging Words One day I ran across a prayer in the Bible that became my prayer for our children. Maybe you want to jot down the reference in case you want to make it the prayer for your family as well—Philippians one, starting with verse nine. The author, Paul, says, “This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:9-11). “Wait a minute, Darlene,” you may be thinking, “I can’t remember all that.” OK, let’s break it down into three thoughts we can remember. First, Paul prays that their love may abound. A strong home is not one in which family members have no faults, but one in which each knows how to handle in love the other’s failures. You probably heard about the mom who asked her kids for a Bible verse that tells how to get along with your siblings.  Immediately, one of them responded: “Thou shalt not kill.” Learning to settle differences and let love rule how we act is one of the most important things we learn in a family. The second part of the prayer asks that they may discern what is best. Teaching our kids to discern right from wrong and to have the backbone to choose what’s best takes a lot of hard work and prayer. Then, the last part of the prayer is that they may be filled with the fruit of righteousness. Nothing brings more joy to a Christian parent than to see their children living fruitful lives for the Lord. People often ask if our kids are in full-time ministry. I tell them, “Not as a vocation, but each is involved in some kind of ministry--missions, teaching, children’s ministry or evangelism. And that brings us joy.” Remember, that’s Philippians 1:9-11.  Check it out!

Protecting the Fragile Relationships of Your Family

January 19, 2017
Bible Text: Amos 3:3-4 | Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living Can two walk together, except they be agreed?  Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing?  Amos 3:3-4, KJV My son, Steve, is a rock climber, something that is much too much for me.  I'm like Sir Francis Chichester, who said, "I will lift mine eyes unto the hills but I will not take my carcass thither."  Anyway, Steve and two of his friends were climbing the highest peak in Switzerland when they stopped to catch their breath and noticed three climbers on the face of an incline a short distance from where they were.  As they watched, the lead climber suddenly lost his footing and fell. Climbers are joined to each other by a rope, and the way it's supposed to work is that if one falls, the other is anchored by pitons to the face of the rock, and he stops his fall.  But that isn't the way it worked.  The first one pulled the second one loose, and the two then pulled the third one loose, and the three of them tumbled over and over as they fell about 750 feet down the face of the snow and ice and landed in a heap below. Steve, much too far away to be of immediate help, held his breath wondering if any of the three were alive.  But those three climbers who fell were lucky; they had landed in a pile of snow and were able to get up, dust the snow off and walk away. You know, families are joined just that way ‑‑ they are all on the face of that mountain, joined by an invisible bond, and when one falls, everybody on that rope is affected.  Have you ever heard anyone say, "Well, it's my life‑‑I can do with it whatever I please!"?  Don't you believe it for a minute.  Everything that takes place in a family affects everybody else. Exhibit A:  Here's a man who is 40 years old.  He suffers from the 3 B's ‑‑ balding, bulges and bifocals.  He is having a mid‑life crisis.  He's got an assistant who’s a pretty blond, 27 years old and a divorcee who is lonely.  John just takes her to lunch ‑‑ nothing happens.  Just talk!  Before he ever touches her physically, he's committed emotional infidelity.  He's taken the intimacy which belongs to his wife and he's given it to someone else. Exhibit B:  A teen sacks groceries at the local supermarket and he's been saving some money.  He wants to buy a car, but Dad says, "No way!  You save that for college."  He says, "Dad doesn't have any right to tell me what to do with my money.  I earned it!"  Hold on for a minute.  If that kid is driving a car and it plows through a freeway fence and smashes into three other cars, who do they come after?  Dad!  Right? Everything that takes place in a family affects everybody else.  That's why you've got to respect and protect the fragile relationships of family living.  We are all out there together on the face of that mountain called life, and when one thinks he can exert his independence and do his own thing, every one is affected.  When one member of the family falls, we all go down together. Have you ever asked yourself, "What is it that really binds us together?”  A legal document?  The fact that our last names are all the same?   Or is the bond an invisible one which we find is woven with the strands of love, commitment, compassion, and care?   Surely, it is all of that plus a great deal more. Today's commentary is not a moral homily or an attempt by the program director to fill time in between songs or the news and what follows; it is a direct reminder that relationships bring commitment and responsibility, and to remind you that your family is important. Whether you are a dad, a teen‑ager, a wife, or a single parent, you are part of a family, and it's the quality of the relationship in your family which determines the quality of family living.  Think about it. Resource reading: Psalm 103
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