Galatians 5:14–15 says, “The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
Strife can tear relationships apart. It amazes me at how many Scriptures there are that address the subject of strife. I found 43 scriptures — and that doesn’t even include other synonyms like discord and dissention. Strife is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
The definition of strife is — conflict, antagonism, quarrel, struggle, clash, competition, disagreement, opposition, fight.
These are things we all have to deal with in our relationships, no matter who we are. And the good news is that we can learn to deal with them in a healthy, godly way.
If you are struggling in a relationship, today is the day to change your mindset. Let God birth a vision in your heart. Ask God to help you and show you what you can do. Start believing God to come up higher in your relationships and become more aware of the causes of strife.
Some of the major causes of strife in relationships based on Scriptures from the Bible are the following:
Proverbs 29:22 says, “An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.”
Wow! If we are not careful, we can get into lots of trouble when we are angry.
The fact is that we all get angry with people, but the Bible says that we can be angry and sin not. It’s what we do when we are angry that makes all the difference. When you are angry with a person, it’s better to keep your mouth closed and cool down before you do or say something you regret — or before you spark a full-fledged fight. How many times have we said something or done something in anger — and later, regretted it?
Proverbs 29:11 says, “A foolish person gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”
A foolish person vents all of his anger. You are not going to have many friends if you do that. But a wise person holds back and thinks about his response. A wise person thinks about the feelings of the other person before they lash out.
Conflicts can be resolved without a fight and without yelling and screaming at each other. Proverbs 15:1 says that a soft answer turns away wrath. You can have a healthy debate about something without being angry. It may be a heated debate, but at least you are talking it out! The next time you are angry with your wife, co-worker or child — be wise, stay calm, and think before you speak.
Proverbs 22:10 says, “Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.”
The mocker is someone who ridicules or insults people. One of the worst things you can do to a person, mate, or a child is to ridicule them because of their shortcomings or mistakes of failures. Don’t talk down to people. That’s humiliating to people. It’s a lack of respect. People who ridicule others most likely have low self-esteem problems and just want to make themselves look good.
We ought to pray that God will help us focus on the good in people and not their faults. If you are going to pull out your magnifying glass, lets magnify their strengths and not their weaknesses. That’s what you would want people to do for you.
Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up strife; but love covers all sins. Hate is a destroyer.”
King Saul hated David, and he lost his Kingdom. Hatred is evil and it destroys you. The person who hates if the victim of hate. It holds you captive. King Saul became the victim of his own hate. You may have been greatly wronged, but don’t allow hatred to take root in you.
Proverbs 26:20 says, “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.” Proverbs 16:28 says, “A gossip separates close friends.”
Do you know what gossip is? Gossip is repeating idle talk or rumors about the private affairs of others. Don’t gossip about your co-workers or friends. Don’t gossip about people you don’t even know! We all need to stay out of people’s business. We have enough to deal with on or own.
Don’t talk negatively about your own children or mate to other people. You will cause them to lose favor with people. If you need to talk someone, find a godly person to counsel with, but don’t criticize your own family.
James 4:1–2 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it?”
This is a big thing in relationships. We want our way and we want it right now! We don’t like it when we don’t get what we want!
All relationships require compromise and giving and sacrificing your way for the sake of others. You can’t have your way all the time and expect to have fulfilling relationships.
- THE TONGUE
Proverbs 18:6 says, “The words of a fool lead to strife”.
Our mouth is one of the biggest problems in our relationships. We ought to dedicate our mouth to the Lord every morning and say, “God help me to use my words to build people up and give wisdom.”
The Bible says that you have creative power in your tongue. What are you creating with your words? Are you creating strife or peace? What are you speaking into the lives of people around you? You create an environment with your word. Use your words to encourage the people in your life.
Proverbs 13:10 says, “Pride only breeds quarrels.”
Pride keeps us from admitting that we are wrong and that somebody else just may be right! Pride makes us think we know everything — that you can’t learn anything from your mate or your child. Pride makes you unable to see the strengths in others.
The Bible says to clothe yourself with humility. With humility comes wisdom and honor. In your relationships, don’t be too proud to say. “I was wrong, I made a mistake. You were right. Let’s do it your way.” (1 Peter 5:5, Prov 11:2, 15:33)
Attitude Proverbs 26:21 says, “As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.”
If you are quarrelsome, you are antagonistic. You wear your feelings on your shoulders. That’s just like kindling a fire in your relationships and home.
If you are like that, recognize it and begin to change. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are at fault until someone points it out to us. Realize that you don’t always have to be right or have the final say. Be willing to listen and hear people out.
Proverbs 20:3 says, “It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.”
Did you know that you can actually disagree with someone and still love them and be friends with them? You can even stay married!
No relationship has perfect agreement all the time. We all have the right to have our own opinions. Sometimes you have to agree to disagree and move on! But if it is in your power to bring agreement and unity, then do what you can do.
In the Bible, Abraham and Lot had a disagreement over their land and herds, but they worked it out for the sake of staying in relationship with one another. They were family. Abraham was willing to sacrifice the best part of the land in order to keep peace with his nephew. And God greatly blessed Abraham because of it. Relationships are more important than things!
- ARGUMENTS OVER DOCTRINE AND BELIEFS
II Timothy 2:14,24 says, “Strive not over words...which does no good, but upsets and undermines with faith of believers.”
The Bible says, strive not! Don’t get in arguments with people over the Bible or Scriptures — it is not worth it. The Bible says that the Lord’s servant must not quarrel, instead gently instruct and be kind to one another.
Don’t tear your family or relationships apart over what you believe and don’t believe. If they will not receive the truth from you, then the Holy Spirit will have to speak to them and show them what is right. Don’t argue with them!
Don’t ruin your friends at work over your differences. Jesus said that you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. He didn’t say you are supposed to straighten people out! Love them, but let God work on them. You are not their Savior! Jesus is — and He knows how to reach them.
By daily putting into practice the love of God and meditating on these scriptures, your relationships will be full of peace. The seed of peace will reap a harvest of fulfilling happy relationships in your life.
LISA COMES: The oldest daughter of John and Dodie Osteen, Lisa was healed at birth of a crippling condition similar to cerebral palsy, and as an adult, she miraculously survived the explosion of a pipe bomb in her office at Lakewood Church. Actively involved in outreach ministry since 1983, Lisa has been a Bible teacher for over 20 years. LisaComes.com.