Why do we fight?

James 4 1-10


Resolving conflictJames asks the question “What causes fights and quarrels among you?”

I think this follows on from yesterday, making wise decisions – wise decisions, listening and understanding reduce the conflict in our lives. 


What causes conflict?


Our own needs – what we want comes first…

I want my own way.

I want things on my terms.

I want, I want, I want..

It’s selfish – being selfish is putting yourself first, not considering another person.

But actually fighting or arguing is a fact of life, we are never going to get on with people 100% of the time but have disagreements is a natural part of life.  It’s how we resolve the conflict that is important. 

You think you are right and I think I am right – how do we resolve that?  Firstly, once you start to raise voices and tempers flare you have lost the argument and anger has taken over.  That’s not a nice feeling for anyone. 

It’s important to remain calm – even if that means to walk away and come back. 

Then try and find words that don’t put each other down.  Use words that explain how you feel?  I feel frustrated.. due to.  Allow each other to speak and it’s important that you both listen.   

This is the wise choice.

Sometimes, it’s not both people pulling in different directions, sometimes it is one person looking for a fight, perhaps someone is jealous of you and wants to put you down and make you look silly, or makes fun or your ideas at a meeting..

This kind of behaviour needs dealing with but it requires you to take control.

You decide whether you want to fight or not.

You need to decide whether you want to deal with it there and then.  Do you have the time? Or energy? You have to decide whether this fight is worthwhile? Whether you win or loose it is going to end up making you feel bad. 

How do you not fight, not react? How about just ignoring it.  Pretend to do something else.. or just look at the person – right in the face.  No words.  Just look straight into their eyes.   Try it and see what happens.  Don’t explain your actions. 

Or smile at them.  Nothing else.  Look at them and smile.  Again don’t explain.

They will soon run out of steam and if you don’t react they will soon get fed up with taunting you.

If someone says something designed to hurt you, then instead of reacting why not say something completely different.. for example if someone tells you that was really stupid, did you leave your brain at home this morning.. you could simply say, Did you watch that programme last night it was really brilliant…

That way you are completely ignoring the rude remark, and they are stood there wondering if you heard them.. it makes them feel a bit stupid..

Nobody can force you to have a conversation about something that you don’t want to.  Nobody can make you argue.  People can go on and on at you.  Trying different things to make you angry and react.  But you just need to practice keeping calm.. count to ten in your head.  And again diver the conversation talking about something completely different.. a t.v. programme, a magazine article, etc don’t let them take you somewhere you don’t want to go. 

And if they say ‘Don’t change the subject’ just agree with them.  Yes I am.  I have heard that be creating a diversion and talking about different subjects helps diffuse situations, I didn’t think it would work but actually it does, if you keep on going they will soon feel a little awkward.  As they haven’t got the attention they wanted.

These are wise ways to keep yourself from getting into an argument to stop a fight.  It’s helpful to learn a few tactics, and perhaps role play with the children, to help them see you don’t have to listen to others when they are being nasty to you.  You don’t have to end up in an argument and it can actually make you feel a lot better than an argument would make you feel.
"Strife, infighting, conflict, outbursts of anger and contentions.  These are things that are far too common in churches making the church look just like the world." Maybe it's time we learnt some wise ways?

Jesus did this kind of diversion tactics – think about the woman who was going to be stoned.  What was Jesus doing?  Did he shout?  Did he argue? Did he tell them to stop and explain why?

No.  He sat on the ground, very quietly drawing.  He used one line quietly.  He didn’t even look at them.  But when he looked up every one of them had gone. 

Perhaps a lesson for us all.

J




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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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