Summary: This is a message on how to use God’s word to build stronger relationships with all members of the family (even with those who don’t know the Lord).
2 Samuel 13:24-31 Tells of one of the most dysfunctional families in the Bible.
Consider this family :
The husband commits adultery.
His son (Amnon) raped his half-sister (Tamar, the sister of Absalom).
The husband did not implement discipline.
The full brother (Absalom) killed his half brother (Amnon).
The husband also committed murder to cover up his sin.
The family was divided all because a man failed to carry his relationship to God over into his relationship with his family.
The irony is that it is a family led by one of the most godly men in the Old Testament — King David.
My point is that even godly people may have family problems but there is great hope in the Lord for even the worst situation.
I) HOW TO HANDLE CONFLICT
Conflict can be constructive if you handle it properly.
Here are guidelines on how to have F.I.G.H.T.S.
F. ACE the other person, even if they won’t face you.
Don’t avoid conflict with the silent treatment.
I. GNORE the temptation to sidetrack – getting off the subject to avoid taking responsibility.
Admit your fault quickly and completely.
G. UARD your tongue – name calling attacks the person rather than dealing with the issues.
H. ISTORY belongs in the past – don’t bring it up.
God never brings up ours.
T. OUCH it shows you are on the same side.
S.TAY in there – finish the fight and don’t go to bed angry (Eph 4:26)
Resist the temptation to :
1) Blame – Take responsibility for your own actions.
2) Yell – Prov 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
3) Be selfish – rather be selfless even if the other person isn’t. Spiritually mature people aren’t selfish.
4) Change the other person – it usually doesn’t work.
Allow the Lord to make the changes in them – you persist in prayer. Rather, change yourself.
II) HOW TO IMPROVE FAMILY RELATIONS THROUGH COMMUNICATION
A quote from portions of a letter written to a family councilor :
“John and I were deeply in love when we got married. But then, something began to change. He received a promotion about five years ago, and that required him to work longer hours. we didn’t mind the extra time he was putting in. But it never stopped. Now he comes home late every evening. He’s so tired I look forward to his coming home all day ‘cause I have so much to tell him, but he doesn’t feel much like talking. So I fix his dinner and he eats it alone. (I usually eat with the kids earlier in the evening.) After dinner, Then he watches television for a couple of hours and goes to bed. Every Saturday morning he plays golf with three of his friends. Then on Sunday we are in church most of the day. Believe me, there are times when we go for a month or two without having a real, in-depth conversation. You know what I mean? And I get so lonely in that house with three kids climbing all over me. There aren’t even any women in our neighborhood I can talk to, because most of them have gone back to work. There’s no closeness or warmth between us, There we are, lying in bed, having had no communication between us in weeks. He hasn’t tried to be sweet or understanding or tender, yet he expects me to become passionate and responsive to him. I’ll tell you, I can’t do it. Sure, I go along with my duties as a wife, but I sure don’t get anything out of it. And after the two-minute trip is over and John is asleep, I lie there resenting him and feeling like a cheap prostitute. My self-esteem is rock bottom right now. I feel like nobody loves me… I’m a lousy mother and a terrible wife. Sometimes I think that God probably doesn’t love me, either“.
The #1 problem in families is not sex, money, children... it is lack of communication.
Communication is more than just talking. It is an effective sharing of feelings, thoughts, and emotions in a constructive manner that brings about togetherness in a family.
A) REASONS FOR LACK OF COMMUNICATION :
- Never learned how to communicate (no model).
- Fear being vulnerable because of rejection.
- Feeling like communication is impossible so why try.
- Feeling like I don’t have anything to offer,
my ideas are not interesting.
B) HOW CAN I COMMUNICATE BETTER ?
i) Be careful how you criticize -
If you feel you must criticize, follow these guidelines :
- Say 5 good things about someone before 1 criticism.
- Don’t criticize without offering a win/win solution.
- Criticize the problem, not the person.
- Stay in the present, stay on the subject, no dramatics.