This past Sunday in our series on blending families we dealt with the subject of handling conflict. One point made is that we should discover that potential causes of conflict before hand in order to as Barney Fife would say, “nip it in the bud”. This week we will look at some cause of relationship conflicts and how we can handle them.
1. Read Genesis 25:19-34. Who was partial to Jacob? Esau?
2. For what does Esau trade his birthright? In Old Testament times the birthright dealt with the material inheritance from the parents. The inheritance was divided into the number of sons plus one, with the oldest son getting the double share. By virtue of being the oldest twin Esau would receive the double inheritance. However, we see here that he trades away his birthright).
3. What sin do you think motivated Jacob to force Esau to trade away his birthright? What sin motivated Esau to give up his birthright so foolishly? Who do you think was more in the wrong?
FAITH STEP: In what areas of your life have you allowed greed to hurt your relationships? Esau “despised” or did not value his birthright. Are their some blessings God has given you that you have not valued? Are their blessings from God that you are forfeiting in order to get some temporary pleasure in the present at the expense of losing future blessings? Ask God to help you to never give up future blessings for present temporary satisfaction.
TUESDAY: SHOWING PARTIALITY
1. Read Genesis 27:1-42. (Blessings pronounced by the head of the family were considered binding in Patriarchal times. In this passage an aged Isaac seeks to put his in order by giving his blessing to Esau. ) Remembering Genesis 25:28 – Who was Rebekah’s favorite? Isaac’s favorite?
2. Who “cooks up” the plot so Jacob can steal Esau blessing?
3. What resulted from the parents’ partiality (See verses 41-45)?
FAITH STEP: In what relationships (at work, school, home or church) have you felt overlooked or favored? Are their relationships where you have been guilty of showing partiality? Read Genesis 32:1-21 and 33:1-20 and see how Jacob and Esau's relationship worked out. Are there some grudges, resentment you need to put behind you? Who is it you need to meet this week and patch up a relationship?
WEDNESDAY: OVER INDULGENCE
1. Eli had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas. What sins were they guilty of committing (I Samuel 2:12-17, 22)?
2. Read I Samuel 3:11-14. Why is the Lord angry with Eli? Why do you think Eli did not deal with his children’s sinful lifestyle? Read I Samuel 4:1-11 to see what eventually happened to Eli’s sons.
FAITH STEP: How can over indulging someone in a relationship harm that person instead of helping them? How does it harm your relationship with that person? When God convicts you of some sin or failure how do you react? Like Eli or like Samuel (See I Samuel 3:1-21)? What relationship do you need to make changes because over indulgence is hurting the person you love?
1. In Genesis 37:1-4 we see another case of parental partiality. Who was the father guilty of the partiality? Why is this ironic (See Monday’s lesson)? What was the result of the partiality?
2. Did the brothers have a right to hate Joseph? Be jealous? What did their hatred and jealousy lead them to do (Genesis 37:12-36) – How many sins did you identify? What does this teach you about jealousy?
3. Jealousy is powerful. It allows the person you are jealous to control your emotions – you are giving them the power to control your life. Read the following Scriptures and write down how jealousy can affect relationships: Proverbs 6:34, I Corinthians 3:3, James 3:16.
FAITH STEP: Jealousy can destroy relationships. We can’t change the circumstances or deny our feelings, so we must overcome jealousy by changing your point of view. Read the following verses and see what we can do to help us over come envy? Galatians 6:4, Philippians 4:11, Romans 12:15, Colossians 3:2, Proverbs 23:17-19. Spend time in prayer asking God to help you overcome jealousy. Make a list of 10 blessings you have form God and spend time in praise thanking him for what you do have. Finish this sentence. “When I get to heaven the firs thing I am going to do is _____________. The right focus will help us overcome envy.
FRIDAY: UNRESOLVED ANGER
Anger is usually a symptom of a deeper problem. It is like a warning light on our car that should not be ignored but dealt with in order to help us live a better life. Anger is usually rooted in one of three causes: fear, frustrations or hurt.
1. What fears do you have in your relationships that may make you react in anger? Afraid people are not telling you the truth? Afraid you may lose something or someone?
2. What frustrations do you have that may cause anger? Do you feel unappreciated? Taken for granted at work or home? That no one cares?
3. What hurts are you carrying that may cause anger? Have you been rejected by someone? Mistreated? Abused? Finding the root cause of our anger is the beginning of learning to deal with it.
4. Read Ephesians 4:26-27. When should we deal with anger? How can unresolved anger give the devil a foothold?
5. Read the following verses and write down what you learn about how to deal with anger. James 1:19, Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 13:10, Ephesians 4:15
FAITH STEP: Write down the fears, frustrations or hurts that is the root of your anger. In a non accusatory, non threatening way can you share these feelings with the person(s) who is the recipient of your anger? If you feel you cannot do that share your thoughts with a fellow Christian and have them pray with you about your anger.
SATURDAY: RELATIONSHIP ADVICE FROM GOD
Below are just a few commands from God. After reading each one answer the question – “How does this apply to my relationships with my family (children spouse, ex, in-laws etc.)? Co-workers/Classmates? Church family?
Colossians 3:13 (Conflict resolution)
Colossians 3:10-13 (Communications)
Philippians 2:3-4 (Decision making)