Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Dealing With Relational Conflict

1 SAMUEL 30:3-6 – And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”


THEME OF THE DAY:  DEALING WITH RELATIONAL CONFLICT.  It is going to happen – relational conflict.  Whether it be in a marriage, a family, co-workers, close friends, neighbors, in our churches, even within ourselves, we are going to encounter relational conflict.  Disagreements small or even full-blown emotional outbursts (hope not as Christians), we are not going to experience “steady as she goes” relationships.  Why?  Sin.  Even Christians.  Sin.  But there are also times when relational conflict comes from painful loss or extremely difficult circumstances that prompt us to lash out toward someone.  Like in today’s scripture.


The scene is a gripping one.  David and his men return to the home base, Ziklag, only to find it had been raided by the cruel Amalekites. In the raid, they plundered everything and took captive the women, all the kids, and then burned the place down.  David, the leader was obviously in great distress.  He also had great loss in the raid, his two wives.  Well, the people were rightly angered and grief-stricken beyond words.  The scripture states “they raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep.”  But they did have strength to cause big time conflict for David. They evidently blamed him and plotted to stone him.  This is relational conflict to the extreme.  How did David react?  How would we react? Or extend it beyond this scene.  How do we react in relational conflict?  Let’s answer the latter questions first.


When relational conflict occurs, one of the initial temptations is to run from it or ignore it.  Now we cannot do that in a family or marriage.  Well, we could.  Sadly, it is called divorce which God hates. But in a job and more often in a church, we do just that – we run or ignore it.  In regard to church relational conflict, too often people take the easy and unbiblical way out; they leave the church or ignore it.  Few people leave a church over theological issues.  Most departures are over disagreements, dislikes, and conflict – none are Biblical reasons. God never approves of running from any relational conflict.  And the reason why we are slow to resolve them is because of pride.  We are not willing to take the low road of humility and reconcile no matter the issue or cost.  Back to David.  He couldn’t run.  He was in charge.  He was God’s man, and he also loved these people.  Now we answer our first question – how did David react to relational conflict?


David’s response is the answer to all relational conflict by all parties – But David strengthened himself in the Lord.  What does this mean? A couple of things. First, we go to the Lord who never fails to bring courage to our failing hearts that are always present in relational conflict.  As the Lord strengthens us, we are able to do the next thing.  We press on in our relationships and responsibilities to those we are in conflict with.  That means we love them, and in David’s case, he continues to lead them.  Read the rest of 1 Samuel 30 and see what happens.  The relational conflict ends because of David’s leadership.


Relational conflict is inevitable, but by seeking the strength to deal with it from the Lord, we can reconcile and bring honor to Him in the process!


PRAYER: “Father, may I always look to You for the encouragement I need in the challenges of relational conflict.”


QUOTE: “Trials should cause us to seek the Lord with more zeal than in times of relative ease so thank Him for trials.”


In the affection of Christ Jesus,


Pastor Jim