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Common Cause

We experience conflict in family because of a violation of our core values. Identifying those values and acknowledging that only God can truly meet our needs is the first step towards healthy relationships. 


I the discipleship pastor here and it is hard it is a hard job because it's hard to measure are you doing it you know like I love to study and I left her right content and that kind of thing but really our mission statement here is helping people know and become like Jesus and it's hard to say sometimes when I just stand up here and look out at your lives how's that going for you you know I don't know and it's like if you took a painting class and you invested time and money and you're gonna go every Saturday afternoon to Michael's and learn to paint and if all the instructor ever did was talk about paint how paint was made the history of paint throughout the ages how the colors look on the page but never taught you how to paint never put a paintbrush in your hand and let you you know paint a really terrible looking tree and then a better looking tree and then finally a really nice tree you would be like this isn't a painting class at all this is just a lecture I know about paint but I don't know how to paint and sometimes it can feel that way a little bit with discipleship but I wasn't here last weekend and I came home and my son was talking to me the next day and and he's 18 and graduates in two weeks Lord Willie any other parents just like I don't even care if they find me when I clap when he graduates I am gonna be the one screaming at that graduation it's been a saying man getting that kid through school so so we were talking and and he was saying you know the house receives message was so good this weekend and he said he it just really struck me because he said that he talked about mutual submission and he said we need to be asking each other how can I help you what can I do to help you today and as he was saying that I was just feeling so much single mom guilt I was like oh man I have not paid enough attention to this kid this kid has kind of just been battling it out through his high school career and he's got so much going and he's at such a pivotal time of life and deciding what he's gonna do and I've been busy and I've been doing things and I he's right I need to lean in more and ask him you know what can I do to help and I'm just getting ready to throw myself on the altar and repent to him and he says so pastor Steve was saying this and I felt I just need to say what can I do to help you today mom come on who even cares if he graduates I don't want him self-sufficient I just want him to stay home with me all his life oh but you know when I heard him say that I thought that's paint on the page that's happening in his 18 year old heart that is a principle that he sat here and he listened to his pastors say and it got marked on him and that's gonna go with him into college and into work and into his marriage and into parenting and that's discipleship that's what happened that I didn't do it I'd all i did was say you gotta get your butt to church but he did and he's becoming more like jesus and that's the metric that's the coolest thing and i love it and so what we're talking about today is not that cool it's conflict and I know some of you probably are here like ah man we just had conflict in the car all the way to church church on the way to church arguments are like no other argument there is you know cuz then you have to walk in the door and be like hey bless you sister it's awesome here's the idiot I'm married to ha ha so you could come here and say that's a tender topic or you may be in a conflict that is so has become so fierce and sharp that you'd no longer have communication your relationship is gone radio silent so I know this is hard but it's discipleship when we say the way of Jesus works here the way of Jesus works in the hardest parts of our life it works in the places where we disagree it works in the places where we don't know what we're doing the way of Jesus works if we'll work to find it there's that I and I think relational conflict is just uniquely complex and it often feels almost impossible to resolve we could become entrenched in our positions and it's hard to move forward I always feel like before we come to any truth in the Word of God we first see it in a dr. Seuss book don't you think that's the place we start with all good theology so the Zack's by dr. Seuss one of his lesser-known works actually but it's about these two mythical creatures called the Zach's here one goes north and one goes south and they come they meet in the middle and they can't get around each other and neither one of them will move and so we joined the story of those acts in progress then the North going Zach's puffed his chest up with pride I never he said take a step to one side and I'll prove to you that I won't change my ways if I have to keep standing here fifty nine days and I'll prove to you yelled the South going Zach's that I can stand here in the Prairie of prax for 59 years for I live by the rule that I learned as a boy back in South going school never budge that's my rule never budge in the least not an inch to the west not an inch to the east I'll stay here not budging I can and I will if it makes you and me and the whole world stand still well of course the world didn't stand still the world grew in a couple of years the new highway came through and they built it right over the two stubborn Zach's and left them there standing unbudgeted piece this story is really silly but really really true it really happens and you maybe don't even realize that at highway has been built over the top of your position that you just got on but you may have even moved physically but your heart stood right there your heart is still right there in that same spot James talks about it he talks about what starts quarrels among us in his letter to the Church of Jerusalem and he um it's interesting because he starts this scripture out this in his letter which is such an audacious statement he says what causes fights and quarrels among you now this is like the question of the universe really if we could solve if we had the answer to what causes fights and quarrels among us we could have world peace like every miss American contestant wants we could have it because understanding what causes them is is understanding what solves them but James says it it turns out it was sitting in our Bible the whole time he says don't they come from your desires that battle within you well no they don't they come because I married to an idiot no they come because my child won't do what I want them to do they come because my boss is a jerk they come because people don't understand that the Republican way is the god way they become because people don't know I know no no oh I will count to three um they come because the outside can't get along with people because they are south going and I am north going and everyone knows that North is the way to go and then James comes along and says no the conflicting desires are not between you and someone else they're inside of you they wage war inside of you you desire but you do not have so you kill you covet but you cannot get what you want so you quarrel and fight you do not have because you do not ask who God you do not have because you do not ask God now these desires inside of us are real they are very real we all have you can take that scripture down I'm not going to read the next line because it just muddies it up i we have these desires a list of things we intrinsically love and a list of things we intrinsically hate we just do and they change some throughout the course of our life you might somewhere along the line here about social justice issue and decide you you need to be a part of that and that becomes one of your core values a passion for your life but but generally we've got this list it's pretty a moveable it's who we are and and we value certain things you might say my core values are family this is one of the things we cover in essentials by the way establishing your core values I do it every year every January I sit down and I say what are gonna be my core values this year what is the code by which I will live my life and mine our security generosity community some other things that I remember right now but they're my core values and they've changed as I become a more of an empty-nester they were different when I had kids and they changed when I became a widow they've I mean they've changed some but basically these Who I am these are the things I value and we all have that list but we don't really think it's my list we think it's the list like any right-thinking person would know that the Republican way is the way of God like any right-thinking person would know you drive a Mazda and not a Mercedes is foolish to drive an expensive car any right person right thinking person would say you have to have a 401k instead of a vacation you invest your money instead of spending it on something you like any right-thinking person would know you have a date night once a week and not wants a decade that's true that's a true one that is universal men so we think it's the list but it's really your list there's lots of things upon which good godly wonderful humans disagree lots of places where we value things more than other things I've been a pastor a long time and I have had the privilege of sitting across the desk from a lot of people who were in conflict spouses or parents and kids and that there would be like a mom who wants to love her kid very much but not until he cleans his room I mean she just values an organized house more than she values peace with her kid and there will be spouses where one is a saver and one is a spender roommate where one is a planner and one is spontaneous and all of a sudden the planner roommate finds herself with 17 people at a party at her house without knowing it you know one spouse is a risk taker one loves security one data collagen the kid wants a backpack through Europe one's an introvert yeah there's an extrovert different values things we value and love they live inside of us these desires are not wrong but we can't expect the whole world to feed them for us mechanics but the whole world to work around our core values in fact it truth be told one of my core values is health fitness and nutrition and I have let it go so badly in the last few months and I realized today I don't even feed my own core values well I met odds with my ownself a lot of the time how do I expect someone else to get on board figure me out serve my core values so I married a man who was we dated since I was 17 which oh wow that's a lot and we kind of grew together but we had and we got married when I was 19 and we were married for 30 years until he died in 2015 and so I have this I have this benefit of really having hindsight of my whole relationship with Steve and excuse me annum so Steve was a faith-filled man he was an adventurer and kind of a risk taker and he was raised by a faith-filled family like he was raised during the Biafra Noire in Nigeria they just sat out a genocide they just stayed and so they have audacious amounts of faith and I mean I can feel you being impressed by that but I'm telling you it's annoying it's really really annoying it's like they they don't worry about getting to the airport on time because if you missed the flight that was God's will and I would just be like what is going on what is this world into which I've been dropped where everyone is wrong and I am right and because I was raised by a family who thinks a little panic is a virtue somebody needs to get a little worried about things or else we're gonna be stuck here and so I was very and I loved security I loved food in the cupboards and food in the pantry I love money and checking and money and savings I like to know like how the next few years of my life are gonna go I like things planned out and so I used to look at Steve as being very reckless and stevia's to look at me as being constantly fearful and really it took a while for us to realize we're not we don't have to live at odds in this we can say we're here to grow each other we're here to help each other Steve brought adventure to my life and his amount of faith enabled me to do the things that I've been called to do that I would have been way too scared to do without it I mean I really believe it his amount of faith and his living life believing that Jesus always shows up and always takes care of you is what enabled me to someday stand alone without him I mean it just he that the conflicts when we started to zero in on the fact that they go back to core values that grew us and we had to see it and I saw how he had grown me in that and I mean without me I think he would have been like living in a van by the river like I don't know drawing with chalk or so I don't know he would have been doing something creative and to to pay for his golf it's so wrong to talk about my husband when he can't defend himself I feel like I've got things coming at me an eternity perhaps [Laughter] so I think that it is really important to understand a few basic things about conflict so that we don't see it as as a deal-breaker in our relationships on the first thing about conflict is that it's common it happens in every relationship conflict is common we see it all over the Bible in fact we see the disciples fighting with each other over who is gonna be the best who's gonna be the greatest even though they're spending a very limited amount of time with the savior of the universe in the flesh and they're spending time fighting about which one of them is cool and then you know in acts if you're doing the reading along with us right now through the journal this week we read how Paul and Barnabas go to Jerusalem today to fix the some problems there the the leaders there are telling new converts that they've got to be circumcised and so they go and they fix it they solve the conflict and then one chapter later Paul and Barnabas are in such sharp conflict that they could split company so it's all over the place we see conflict conflict isn't the problem conflict is common in I used to believe conflict meant my relationship was bad so I was afraid of conflict in our marriage I felt and that that caused Steve and I honestly it caused us to waste a good 25 years of happiness because we kept we both love peace so in order to avoid bad conflict we kept shoving our actual desires under the rug and just like well just state we'll just try to stay peaceful and it wasn't real so conflict in a relationship doesn't mean you have a bad relationship it means you have a relationship like a relationship you have to have conflict or your relationship isn't real or it won't grow Ben Franklin said if two people agree on everything one of them isn't necessary I think it's true I think it's really true we don't need to see it as bad we need to see it as an opportunity for God to make us maybe not happy but wholly because we can start to see somebody else's side of the fence we can start to see somebody else's viewpoint and it's important that we begin to see there's their lists that don't belong to me but they're just as valid and another thing about conflict is anger makes conflict combustible conflict in itself isn't bad but what we do with it can be very bad very quickly when we start to add anger in or resentment or that kind of sarcastic caustic thing then conflict can become something really damaging Ecclesiastes 7:9 says do not be quickly provoked in your spirit for anger lives in the lapse of fools proverbs 29 22 says an angry person stirs up conflict and a hot-tempered person commits many sins notice the difference between having conflict and stirring conflict I mean there's there are times in our lives where conflict is just gonna come up you know you want Thai food and he wants Chinese food or whatever those kinds of things will just come up but when we add anger into it we start to stir conflict we start to stir trouble and that can almost never lead anywhere good the third thing about conflict is that quick responses can produce long lasting damage it only takes a second or a sentence to break your partner's heart or your child's spirit when we start or your spawn quickly again without taking time to think without taking time to pray without taking time to consider what's the viewpoint here what is it I'm defending what is worth winning here really if I get the Thai food and break my person's heart is that going to be worth it so what I want James 1:19 says understand this my dear brothers and sisters you must all be quick to listen slow to speak and slow to get angry the thing about America though is we are a fast culture I mean we're fast we respond fast we're reactors and I remember when I was in a meeting some time and I spouted off something and I had an opinion shocking and I said it and I remember the Holy Spirit saying to me it's okay to not have an opinion you don't need to fear who you are without an opinion and it's okay to have an opinion that remains unexpressed you could just and so we respond so quickly and it there is always time to put the toothpaste back in the tube we don't have to respond so quickly and sometimes I think it's annoying to someone on the other side of conflict for for you to say I'm gonna have to take some time and think about that before I can talk this out with you but it's worth it it's worth it if it keeps you from saying something damaging proverbs 14 one says a wise woman builds her house and the foolish one tears it down with her own hands I was thinking about what an absurd thing it would be to see a woman outside her house in Northwest crossing after she's built her dream house ripping the siding off and taken the doors off the hinges that would be absurd but oftentimes that's exactly what we do inside our house with our words just take apart hearts take apart lives take apart expectations we have to be so careful the words that we send into the hearts that we love every article recently caught my attention and it was called the 7 things you can't unsay and one of the things was I want a divorce one of the things was I hate you too one of the things that I actually related to was when are you due because I said that once and she wasn't you sad you can't unsay it it can be tempting though when we're hurting to want to make the other person hurt too it can be tempting to make sure they understand just how much they've crossed the line but I'm telling you it is just almost never worth it and I know almost never is a weird qualifier but that's the case it is just almost never worth it and the immediate rewarded being able to vent a little anger almost never comes back to you in something positive or or flourishing so we have to learn to fight the right battles for the right reasons and in the right way and I know that sounds like a lot to remember how do we fight battle the right battles for the right reasons and in the right way I'm gonna give you three little steps not that they're gonna be easy but they're pretty simple because our desires are not the problem it's what we do with them that will almost always be the problem unfulfilled desires though in our lives present the opportunity for us to either communicate our desires to the other person or to subjugate our desires to the other person I can either say hey here's a place where I really am gonna need you to understand my heart because I want our relationship to grow and it won't if you keep steamrolling me in this area or I can say here's a opportunity for me to submit to your desire here's an opportunity for me to say okay this is gonna go your way this time I'm gonna meet on the common ground of compromise and we're gonna find a solution that works for both of us but we have to understand there is another perspective there is someone else in the mix and here's another thing it's not in my notes but I have discovered this that one of the core values for me and my boyfriend's relationship is we will believe the best when we run into conflict our first response is gonna be I don't know why you just did that stupid stupid thing but I believe you didn't mean to until you prove otherwise i'ma believe you didn't mean to say that and it really helps if you start to give people the benefit of the doubt oh you must not have been thinking oh you but then say it this is how it made me feel so how do we decide which wins whether we lay our desires down and do it the other person's way whether we step out of their way and let them go south or whether we call it quits and say this relationship is not good for me anymore and pastor Steve covered that so well last week sometimes you have to say this relationship is is not good for my soul it's not good for my relationship with Jesus it's not mine drawing a boundary and it's not gonna work anymore and then how do we know when we should say here's my desire I need you to hear it I need you to respect it and some 4:4 says be angry and do not sin meditate within your heart on your bed and be still now if you're honest isn't it on your bed that you typically meditate about how people have done you wrong I mean it goes over and over in my head did it these are the conversations I play in my head these are the things I remember so here we're saying meditate in your heart on your bed while you're figuring this out this is a good practice when you go to bed to say is there anyone that I am at odds with right now and why is it and I'll tell you how to do that in a second I love the message it says complain if you must but don't lash out keep your mouth shut and let your heart do the talking build your case before God and wait for his verdict build your case before God first before you go to somebody else and say you're not being the spouse I need you to be you're not being the girlfriend I need you to be you're not being that boss I need you to be here the employee I need you to be first start with God the one who knows all and sees all and understands all the hearts and all the lists so take a breath and ask God three questions the first one is look at my heart and show me what do I truly desire right now from the other person or from the situation what is it I want because I have come away from a conversation before just feeling angsty and turny inside and like what I just don't like this I don't like I'll see somebody and I'll have a bad feeling like something's unresolved between us and when I really sit down and say what is it that's bothering me I can usually pinpoint it to conversation where I either feel devalued or run over or whatever but there's usually somewhere I can pin that thing and then I could say okay that's what I'm feeling and before God I say is that desire birthed in my sin nature to one attention or approval or whatever or is that valid I mean he can easily tell me usually he doesn't even have to tell me if I'm honest usually once I get it outright like oh I feel MV toward that person then that's not something I have to tell them about you know I don't have to work it out with them I please forgive me for being envious of you yeah so ask God first show me my own heart I am NOT good at seeing my own heart from within my own bucket of emotion show me my heart and then the second thing is what is the what is best for the relationship right now and in the future what do you want me to do right now that is gonna be best for the relationship not best for bo-best for this relationship how do i best serve your plan for this relationship and then the third thing is how do i align myself with your desire for this relationship how do i do cuz it's hard how do i do what you want me to do in order to make this relationship what you want it to be but asking these questions honestly and even taking a pen and paper and writing down what you hear I believe in the power of that it's one of the reasons we have you in your journals every day you write who you're gonna spend time with that day because we want to see inside our community relationships that are flourishing relationships that have a pre intention set I want to live these relationships out the way Jesus would it happens also just in here you know we all come into this room with different core values about what a spiritual community looks like we all do I mean and I and I don't want to even say this lightly at all I'm not but I mean there are people who come in and immediately when a woman gets on the stage feel like that violates a core value of mine and I get it I understand it I don't want to argue with you about core values and I always say you know there are plenty of churches where you can go and not have to deal with that they're just like a lot of places no woman is going to get on the stage but here there's a core value of our community do we want to be a community that speaks a lot of languages we won't always have old people on the stage or young people on the stage we want to speak a lot of languages we're not picking one demographic that's a core value so that's what's been established here and that might hit against one of your core values you need to ask yourself these three questions okay Jesus what what are you saying to me about my own heart what's best for the relationship that I have with my church community and how do you want to move me in it how do you want to fix me through it how do you want to make me holy through this because as we come together and we develop this idea that I am for you you don't you don't love the same things I love you might love fruit for a snack and I love Twinkies I mean and that might be abhorrent to you I understand it but these are just the things we love and so when we come together and we can honor it and see it and value it in each other our chances of becoming a community that speaks hope to a dying world go up exponentially because people can come and say I can be myself here and people can love me here they can love me just as I am so in all of this I know that you may have brought in some really difficult conflicts this morning and maybe you're in a family that feels broken beyond repair again I think I said it at the beginning but maybe you have a relationship that's had so much conflict that you don't even feel you have a relationship anymore and I just want to pray that the God who does supernatural things will give you hope not to move you out of conflict but to meet you in it and to help you see yourself and help you see his will for your life for the people around you Jesus we love that you are all about relationship you are about people more than programs more than processes you are about people and you've given us each to help each other grow so would you cause us to ask you the right questions what do you want to show us what do you want to show us about our lives about our motives about our heart what do you want to show us about your heart help us to hear you and align ourselves with your desire for the relationship and would you make Westside a culture that values diversity of thought and that values one another God would you make us people who care for each other and and are willing to step into the waters of conflict knowing it doesn't have to kill us it can make us stronger more well-rounded more open and more aware we love you and worship you and thank you so much for your grace on our lives and your name we pray amen hey we love being a team here at Westside and so if you want to hear this message again pastor Jenna's gonna speak it in the next service because we just want to see lots of people begin to share the Word of God here so if you want to hear another take on it stick around for the 11:15 the prayer wall is open if you want to pray about a relationship issue or anything else they would love to meet with you and GLS Global Leadership Summit sign up for that in the atrium that's all my announcements thank you for being here I love you [Applause]

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