Sabbath School Lesson for June 1-7, 2019
Some of the areas to consider when looking at the little conflicts that plague family peace and happiness are…
- how to approach a loved one when a conflict arises (Sunday)
- how important are forgiveness and humility in the marriage relationship (Monday)
- how anger can become a negative or positive emotion for families (Tuesday)
- how family conflicts can escalate and become abusive power-struggles (Wednesday)
- how the Golden Rule fosters forgiveness and peace, enabling families to experience more happiness (Thursday)
Even when big hardships, like addictions, domestic violence, or chronic illnesses, aren’t present in a family, little conflicts and contentions can quickly destroy the peace and harmony that should characterize our homes.
These little times of trouble can be minimized or even eliminated when Christian kindness, forgiveness, and patience are practiced on a regular basis. Issues that normally disrupt family contentment don’t have to create barriers and separate family members as they often do.
The New Testament teaches us to:
- love one another (John 13:34)
- live in peace and harmony (Hebrews 12:14)
- be patient, kind, and tenderhearted (1 Corinthians 13:4)
- consider others before ourselves (Philippians 2:3)
- bear one another’s burdens (Ephesians 4:2)
Memory Text: ” ‘Be angry, and do not sin‘: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.’ “ Ephesians 4:26 NKJV
This injunction to be angry and not sin is also found in Psalm 4:4. Anger is a recognized human emotion in the Bible. We all feel it, but it doesn’t have to lead to sinful actions.
We all feel angry from time to time, but that anger should never be manifested in a way that does not promote positive, peaceful outcomes for the family. God is not glorified when we use our anger to hurt others.
The principle not to let the sun go down on our anger makes perfect sense also, when we witness the harmful effects of holding a grudge or harboring ill feelings of any kind against someone. No one benefits when we allow a blaming, vengeful spirit to reside in our hearts.
Whenever two or more people reside under the same roof, there are bound to be differences that become apparent and may come in the way of perfect peace and harmony, if allowed to go unchecked. It’s better to resolve them in a calm and thoughtful manner right from the beginning.
This is possible, especially when one considers his/her own faults and not just those of the other person. It’s important to admit our own mistakes and take responsibility for making amends for them as well.
We must also decide if it’s even worth it to attempt a correction. It may make more sense to just overlook a transgression if possible, when no harm is being done to other parties in the family.
When a solution for a problem is needed, however, here are some tips to make your conflict resolution process most effective:
- Start out by affirming your relationship with the other person to set a positive tone for the conversation.
- State clearly the problem and stay on that topic only.
- Refrain from using the word but, as this detracts from the positive things you have previously said about the person and your relationship.
- Listen to the other person’s perspective, and consider what is shared before considering a solution.
- Make sure the solution keeps everyone’s best interest a priority, as this will most likely lead to a peaceful outcome that will edify everyone in the family.
Read Matthew 7:5 and Proverbs 19:11. Why is it important to look at your own faults before approaching someone about their own? When is it possible to just overlook a problem and not seek a solution for it?
Read Proverbs 17:14 and Romans 14:19. How do we know when it’s more productive to face a problem rather than just ignore it ? What two outcomes are we looking for in our conflict resolution?
Read Philippians 2:4, 5. What does it mean to have the mind of Christ? Why is having Christ’s mind the best way to resolve conflicts?
Monday: Some Principles for Marriage
Of all our familial ties, the marital relationship is most deserving of our attention and protection. After all, marriage is the one blessed gift, besides the Sabbath, given to mankind from the beginning. Just as the Sabbath has endured multiple attacks from the enemy of God, marriage has likewise seen its challenges.
Doing all that is possible to foster humility and forgiveness in the hearts of husband and wife goes a long way in nurturing a loving environment for the whole family to enjoy.
We must remember that we are all sinners and come from differing backgrounds that may not be conducive to the finest emotional and spiritual health.
There are some faults that we might just have to get used to. Certainly, obsessing over them does not help, but lovingly accepting our spouse for who they are, regardless of their imperfections, is often the best course of action in a marriage. In other words, learning to live with someone’s faults, loving them in spite of their annoying behaviors, is every bit as important as changing them.
Read Philippians 2:5-8. How does remembering Christ’s humility help develop our own? Why is it harder to show humility to other humans than it is to God?
Read Ephesians 1:7. What makes it possible for us to forgive others? Does any forgiveness occur apart from God?
Read Romans 3:23. How does remembering that we are all sinners help us forgive others?
Tuesday: The Role of Anger in Conflict
The Bible often speaks of anger, an emotion that even God appears to have on occasion. Since our universe in engaged in a spiritual controversy involving God and Satan, we should expect that anger would be present in this power struggle.
God is naturally angry with Satan for inflicting such pain and suffering on His creation. But we are told that He is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” Psalm 103:8 NKJV
Yes, God’s anger provides a stark contrast of the venomous nature of Satan’s anger. But many of us unconsciously follow Satan’s example, and find our anger unusually difficult to manage, making the lives of our loved ones miserably unhappy.
Even though there may be valid reasons that a person struggles with anger management, we should never use those reasons as a excuse for ignoring the harmful effects it has on those around us and not trying to correct the problem behaviors that come with uncontrollable anger.
Anger, rightly managed, on the other hand, can be a great motivator in seeing that justice is done in the most loving manner. This is, after all, the way God handles anger.
The Bible instructs us in ways to control our anger. It tells us to not let the sun go down on our wrath, and to overcome evil with good. Asking God to help us deal with our rage is required for the best results.
Only by having the love of God in our hearts moment by moment can we replace the negative emotion we have fostered with the positive outcomes we desire.
Read Ecclesiastes 7:8, 9 and 1 Corinthians 13:4. What do impatience and pride have to do with our anger?
Read Psalm 103:8 and James 1:19, 20. What is different about God’s anger?
Read James 1:27 and Romans 12:21. Why does doing good help control anger?
Wednesday: Conflict, Abuse, Power, and Control
There are ways to identify whether a relationship is healthy or not:
- Both partners feel protected and safe.
- Anger is managed in a productive way.
- Serving each other unselfishly is a common practice.
When negative anger becomes increasingly apparent and conflicts escalate to the point that any of these characteristics are jeopardized, then something should be done to insure peace and safety for the family members involved.
Destructive, controlling behaviors, anything that is used to invoke fear, must be addressed and outside help may be needed to break the abusive cycle. No one deserves to live in fear of another individual. Abusers are responsible for their actions, despite their claims that the ones being abused are at fault.
Read 1 John 4:7, 8, 18, 19. Why does fear not have a place in God’s Kingdom? How does love cast out fear, and why is God needed for love to be perfected?
Read Ephesians 4:31, 32. What is to replace anger in a marriage? And what are some of the ways it can be shown?
Read Colossians 3:19 and Ephesians 5:25. Why are husbands especially told to love their wives?
Thursday: Forgiveness and Peace
Many associate the Golden Rule with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. He preached that we should “treat others as you would want them to treat you” (Matthew 7:12 CEV). This highly regarded ethical rule, found in the teachings of many world religions, is also found in the Old Testament. Leviticus 19:18 tells us to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
The writer of Hebrews extended our kind treatment of neighbors with the injunction to “pursue peace with ALL people” (Hebrews 12:14 NKJV).
Certainly, we should choose to forgive and live in peace with those in our own family. Forgiveness is an important ingredient for resolving conflicts and maintaining an atmosphere of peace within the family.
A favorite passage in Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 251, gets at the heart of the matter:
“We are not forgiven because we forgive, but as we forgive. The ground of all forgiveness is found in the unmerited love of God, but by our attitude toward others we show whether we have made that love our own.” ~Ellen G. White
Having that loving forgiveness from God is vital to peace in the family. It will manifest itself in our words and actions.
Read Luke 6:31-35 and Matthew 7:12. Who are those we should treat as ourselves? Why is this kind of love said to be the “law and the prophets”?
Read Matthew 5:23, 24 and 6:12. Why is it important to forgive as God forgives us? How is it possible to achieve this kind of forgiveness?
Read Matthew 5:8, Hebrews 12:14, and Exodus 33:17-23. When will the pure in heart see God? Why can’t we see all of Him now?
Probably the most sure way to prepare for the really big challenges that threaten family peace and happiness is to handle more effectively the smaller crises that arise from time to time. Knowing as much as possible about conflict resolution techniques and anger management strategies is a must whenever two or more people reside under the same roof.
Certainly, being able to see the other’s perspective, while recognizing that we are probably in need of correction ourselves, will enable us to have the humility and forgiving spirit we need to find the best solution to our family problems.
Hebrews 4:15 reveals that our High Priest Jesus “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus has felt all the emotions of the human race. No one understands our troubled hearts better than He does. Going to Him, even for small annoyances, will prepare us for when we are called to experience even greater trials later on.
Here, in summary, are the ingredients to resolving our small family troubles…
- Seek Christ’s counsel.
- Ask for the presence of the Holy Spirit.
- Maintain a humble, teachable spirit.
For more tips on teaching Sabbath School or any Bible class, see Ed Dickerson’s newest article: https://outlookmag.org/teaching-a-bible-study-class/
Next Week’s Lesson: Families of Faith
To read the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly or see more resources for its study, go to https://www.absg.adventist.org/
Other Outlook blogposts by Teresa Thompson, are at http://outlookmag.org/author/teresathompson/