What can we learn from the Apostle Paul about relational conflicts?
Paul’s message from prison reminds us to keep a positive thought life while navigating conflicts. We can look at his words of encouragement from Philippians 4,
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8
Todd Mulliken reminds us that it’s important to meditate on the victories of the day, rather than focusing on the defeats. He brings this truth to marital conflicts,
“People continue to ruminate on the one thing and the one thing only that they really did work through and maybe agree to disagree, but that’s what trauma does to the brain. People ruminate on the stuff because in their pasts those little vignettes never got resolved.”
“Now, if we have deal-breakers going on in the marriage where there is untreated adultery, untreated addiction or untreated abuse, we have to deal with those things.”
Rather than avoiding conflicts altogether, we need to shine the light of truth on them. Todd says to experience victory in conflict, we need to have an action plan and a voice.
“It’s really important for couples to have a plan of how they want to work through their conflicts.”
“We should have a voice; we should speak without offending, listen without defending, agree to disagree, own our own part, etc., do the conflicts in life for sure, but to not be defined by them.”
The Apostle Paul teaches to have a victorious mentality under all circumstances.
“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13
Todd Mulliken, MS, LPCC is a counselor, author and speaker. He is the owner of Mulliken Counseling Center in Edina, Minnesota, which is a Clinic where he provides counseling for individuals, couples, and families. Todd speaks at a variety of venues including schools and churches on a number of topics related to the field of mental health.
Key Scripture: Philippians 4
Featured Songs: Everything is Mine in You by Christy Nockles; If We’re Honest by Francesca Battestelli; Forgiveness by Matthew WestConflict vs. combat
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