Lesson 9

How To Determine The Root Causes Of Conflicts

1. Does the conflict reveal that I have wanted to be the "boss" of my life?

The essence of sin lies in our refusing to make God the center of our lives. We look to Him as a helper
on whom we can call when we get into trouble.  We should look to Him as Lord of our lives.

Matthew 15:8  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but
their heart is far from me.

Our decisions are based on natural inclinations. They seem logical and right to us, but are contrary to
the principles of scripture.
A major indication of trying to be our own boss is resisting the authority God has placed over us.

Action to take:

Check your relationship with God.  Are you saved?  He cannot be your Savior without being your Lord.

Confess your stubborn will to Him, and dedicate yourself fully to His will and the authority of His Word.

Demonstrate your dedication to God by doing that thing or those things you know God wants you to do
but you have been unwilling to do them.

Thank God for the problems He uses to show us what happens when we try to take charge.

2. Does the conflict reveal that I have an attitude of pride?

How can we detect pride?

Pride reacts when we are corrected. It accepts praise for things over which we have no control. It does
not admit mistakes, but excuses them. It resents limitations God has given us. It has no use for those
who do not agree with us.  It refuses to seek counsel from others.

A proud person focuses not on what has been done for him, but on what he thinks should have been
done for him.

Proverbs 13:10  Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

Action to take:

Ask forgiveness for pride. This will humble you and give you more grace.

Thank those who have been used of God to improve us. A spirit of gratefulness will displace a spirit of

3. Does the conflict reveal that God is not the primary delight of my life?

When we do not make God the center of our lives, we diminish the potential joy and fulfillment He has
planned for us. Whatever we put before Him becomes an idol to us, and we tend to build our lives
around them.

Even the things He gives us can become idols to us if we value them too greatly. When we grasp too
tightly to them, He allows  disappointments and problems to come in order to motivate us to transfer our
affections back to Him.

Psalms 27:4  One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of
the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

Action to take:

Be sure to dedicate all that you have to God. It then becomes His property.

Give thanks - Use every pleasure and enjoyment of your possessions as a reminder to thank God for His

If we find ourselves desiring something, we should pray for it.

How do you respond when a special delight is taken away?  Do you feel a sense of loss? Realize that
God feels that way when you neglect Him.

4. Is the conflict a direct or indirect result of moral impurity?

If we excuse any moral impurity in our lives, God will not only raise up conflicts against us, but will also
not hear us when we pray.

2 Samuel 7:14  I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the
rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:

Psalms 66:18  If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

God requires purity.

Moral impurity decreases the sensitivity of our minds, wills, and emotions.

Many parents are grieved by the problems in their families, but do not realize that when they have
impure thoughts, words, or actions,  they are bound (by Satan) and are unable to provide the spiritual
protection for those under their care.

Action to take:

Have you learned to hate evil? We learn to hate evil by understanding the far-reaching consequences of

We must remove from our homes, and our lives, all sensual books, magazines, music, or any other
things we have provided for the fulfillment of our lower nature. ( see Acts 19:19-20.)

We must completely repent. Repentance means to agree with God about sin. It is not just confessing our
sin but turning away from our sin and giving  God complete control  of our lives.

Walk in the Spirit.

Galatians 5:16  This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

His Spirit fills our souls as we consciously allow Him to control our minds, wills, and emotions. His Spirit
becomes strong in us as we become aware of and obedient to all His promptings.

Develop the disciplines of prayer, fasting, memorization, and meditation.  When we fast, we increase  our
sensitivity to the promptings of God's Spirit, and when we build Scripture into our lives, we are able to
resist the devil (using the Sword of the Spirit).

5. Does the conflict reveal that I have neglected past warnings of the Holy Spirit?

When God speaks about something and we don't listen and respond, we will often come into conflict
with others about the matter.

Action to take:

Don't grieve the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to remind you of anything that you once felt convicted about but are
still doing.

Purpose in your heart not to defile yourself by doing that which you know grieves the Spirit of God.

Also, go back and do those things that God has been prompting you to do.

1 Samuel 15:22  "... to obey is better than sacrifice,..."

Ask God and those whom you have offended to forgive you for not being obedient to the Holy Spirit's

6. Have I complicated the problem by being disloyal?

Gossip is sharing detrimental information with those who are not part of the problem or part of the
solution. Slander is telling the truth with a design to hurt.

Proverbs 16:28  A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

Action to take:

Confess any disloyalty to the person to whom you were disloyal. Let them know that God has convicted
your heart. (Better for them to hear it from you than from others.)

7. Does the conflict indicate that there are more people involved than I realized?

Problems are often more far-reaching and complicated than we imagined.

Action to take:

List those who are directly or indirectly affected or involved in the conflict.

Then contact each one and seek forgiveness.  

Ask for counsel concerning your blind spots (areas that you may not see about yourself). And show
genuine appreciation for their input.

8. Does the conflict reveal the lack of a servant's heart?

One who has a servant's heart becomes excited about making someone else successful. When we
serve others, we are giving them what they need without expecting anything in return.

A true servant goes the extra mile.  He does it for the Lord's approval, not man's. Then, he experiences

Romans 12:21  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Only as we repay evil with good will the bitterness leave our lives. By doing this, we are making an
investment in another person's life.

Action to take:

Give God all your human affections. If we don't, we begin to parcel them out to those individuals and
objects that bring pleasure to us, and then we serve them as long as they continue to please us.
Whenever such self-serving is tested, we are quick to change our affections. Thus relationships are

Dedicate yourself to be a channel of God's love to those whom He wants to love through you (even
though YOU may not love that person).

Ask God to teach you how to express His love to others. Be open to receive His instruction and change
some things in your own life. God can give you creative insights on how to express His love through
words, actions, and attitudes.

Purpose to thank God for whatever responses come from those whom you are serving. Sometimes it
may not be pleasant. Expect some testing of your sincerity or motives.

9. Is God using this conflict as a pressure to lead me to greater godliness?

God may be stirring things up just to bring you to a greater level of maturity. A strong indication of
spiritual maturity is the ability to demonstrate the love of God to those who mistreat us.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

If we fail to see the hand of God working through others for our ultimate improvement, we will become
bitter and resentful toward them.

Action to take:

When others criticize you, realize that God has allowed it to happen in order to put you in a special
"classroom" in order to induce you to greater discipline.

Humbly and sincerely ask your critics for their insights as to how you can resolve those areas in your life
that need improvement. (Who knows? You might learn something. Too often, your friends tell you what
you want to hear. Your enemies will tell you the truth about you (sometimes). All of us can use some
improvement, whatever the source may be that affects the improvement.

10. Does the conflict reveal a bitter spirit in me?

A bitter spirit is often an indication that our true motive was to get rather than to give.

We may say that our bitterness has been caused by hurt feelings, but the incident has probably just
revealed the bitterness that was already inside us.

Action to take:

See how God is working through the one toward whom you are bitter. He actually intends to benefit your
life and build His character in you through it.

Clear up any part of the conflict for which you may be responsible. What may seem like 10% wrong in your
eyes may be 90 % in the eyes of the one whom you offended. Only as you clear all the guilt will you be
able to forgive and get rid of the bitterness.

Ask them to forgive you for your bitter spirit and for not giving them the love you owe them.

Romans 13:8  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another:...