This is the final of our 4-series blog on Family Conflict. In the first two blogs in the series, we visited the six causes of family conflict: 1) General Neglect , 2) Rejected Family Values, 3) Failed Expectations, 4) Self-Gratification, 5) Lack of Honesty, 6) Parental Favoritism.
In our last blog, we began discussing how to resolve family conflicts. One psychologist said that 90% of all counseling would not be necessary if people would learn to forgive each other. Forgiveness starts with forgiving ourselves, and forgiving God for making us the way we are, and finally forgiving others who have hurt or disappointed us.
When you want to resolve the conflict in your family, healing and reconciliation are possible. But it starts with desire. If you have been severely offended or the other party refuses to admit blame or simply refuses to come forward and ask for forgiveness, what do you do? Does the Bible tell us that we still have to forgive?
This is something I have battled with for a long time. There are places in the Bible where it says that you do not forgive someone until they come to you and ask and then you must forgive them. If they don’t come to you, you must still “Bless them”. Look at the example of Paul in prison. He sang and blessed his captors. Look at Stephen who, when they threw stones at him to kill him, he knelt down among the falling stones and prayed:
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit! Lord, lay not this sin up against them!”
We are called to bless our enemies, says Jesus. Why? Because they are a child of God and created by God in His likeness… just like you. There is still a chance they may see the light and your blessing is the only way that you can help. If you curse them, they can say that you are no different than them. Plus, cursing them and keeping a grudge will eat away at your heart and soul. It places you in a prison of resentment.
I believe that God calls us to bless those that do not come to us for forgiveness. That is the only chance we have of resolving the conflict.
There is a way of extending forgiveness or a blessing to others even when they don’t know they need it, don’t want it or are not here to receive it. Following are five steps to moving forward with your blessing.
- Make a list of people who have hurt or offended you at any point in your life and reconciliation has not occurred. Take your time so that you remember everyone.
- By each name, write the offenses for which you are holding these people guilty.
- Go away to some lonely, secluded place to talk to Jesus. Give Him your list. Verbalize that you are giving up on the bitterness and revenge and angst with the person. Set each person free from your anger or resentment to Jesus.
- You may need to express your anger, sadness, and hurt. Feel free to yell and cry and tell them how you were hurt. Tell Jesus that you are sorry for holding on to all of this and that you want His grace to set you free.
- Now, and this is very important, destroy the list! Burn it or tear it up but get rid of it. Make sure that when you get home you destroy any e-mails, letters or anything that reminds you of the offense. It is time to bury all resentment and all remnants of that resentment.
The key to the success of letting go is to give it to Jesus and ask Him for the grace to heal and be able to bless the person. Without His grace, the decision to let go will not be permanent.
There is nothing mystical about resolving family conflicts and repairing broken relationships. There are only two ingredients: One, the desire to resolve and repair, and two, a willingness to forgive if they come to you or blessing them if they don’t or can’t. I admit there are situations where counseling is advisable, but again as the psychologist admitted, 90% of the counseling would not be necessary if there was forgiveness.
Once this resolution is in place, Legacy Planning can go forward with the power of God’s hand and the unity of family: a very powerful combination! Traditional planning seeks to isolate the family problems and then plan and draft documents around the problems so as to contain them and not let them get any worse than they already are.
Our intention as Christian Legacy Planners is to heal the wounds, not simply bandage them. We long to be part of healthy, happy and functional families that believe only Jesus can heal. Pray now that Jesus will heal those wounds and give you the grace to do what is necessary to bless all those that have offended you or you have offended. Praise our precious Jesus for being our Way, our Truth, and our Life.
Download The Master’s Plan!
This is a book about transforming your family legacy – both today and in generations to come. It is for Christian families who want to eliminate estate and capital gains taxes, maintain their current lifestyle, pass on an appropriate inheritance to their heirs, maximize giving to worthy ministries, create healthier family relationships and leave a lasting legacy to impact God’s kingdom.
By Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring about significant impact for His Kingdom.