Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Genesis 43:6 – 14
Conflict and Recovery

I. The anatomy of conflict.

A. Conflict starts with offense. [v 6]

1. We take offense because we are hurt.

a. “Hurt people hurt people”

b. a.k.a. “bitter.”

2. We take offense because we do not trust.

a. We interpret actions or words in a negative way.

b. Lack of trust – vs – “good faith.”

c. Society and sin has trained us to not trust.

Most of the time the other person did not mean to hurt you and didn’t realize they hurt you.

B. Conflict deepens with “self-justification.” [vv 7 – 9]

1. One persons explanation may not help.

a. When trust becomes difficult truth or facts are easily dismissed.

b. Once negative emotions take control, it takes an outside influence to break the momentum.

2. Another persons reassurances seem empty when your mind is made up.

a. Once the trust issue becomes a problem, it becomes a matter of sides (“we” is “us” and “they” is “them”).

b. Once sides are drawn, relationships are often damaged beyond repair BECAUSE it is extremely difficult to admit:

1.) Your part in the conflict.

2.) The possibility you are not right.

C. Conflict causes paralysis. [v 10]

1. Paralysis occurs because of fear.

a. We become overly sensitive and quicker to take offense.

b. We try to keep things civil and become controlled by the conflict.

c. become afraid of potential reaction, conflict, or consequences.

2. This type of fear (which causes paralysis) is sin.

a. “God hath not given us a spirit of fearfulness.” [2 Timothy 1:7]

1.) Being paralyzed by sin is not God’s will.

2.) If it is contrary to God’s will, it is sin.

b. Sin separates us from God and each other.

D. Conflict’s final product is helplessness [v 14b]

1. Helplessness is when you feel things are out of control.

a. Question: why do you have to be in control?

b. “Control” becomes a core issue when trust becomes a problem.

c. “Control” means we BLAME someone else.

2. Helplessness is when you feel you have no choice.

a. We come to the “end of our rope.”

b. BUT this is a rope you do not have to hold on too!

E. Our relationship with others reflect our relationship with God.

1. Being easily offended, means a weak spiritual state.

2. Being unwilling to trust others, means we don’t trust God to take care of us.

3. Being on different sides puts us opposite God’s will.

4. Being in control means God is not.

II. The road to recovery.

A. Accept responsibility. [Genesis 44:16]

1. This means being honest before God and others.

a. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. [10] If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” [1 John 1:9 – 10]

b. Confession is one part of repentance.

2. This means accepting the consequences.

a. Not only do we have to swallow our pride, but we have to take our “licking.” (Punishment)

b. Accepting consequences is another part of repentance.

B. Put others before yourself. [Genesis 44:30 – 34]

1. An inward (selfish) focus is what started the conflict. (“offended”)

a. Until we put others before ourselves, we will always be at the door of conflict.

b. An inward focus violates Jesus’ example on the cross.

2. Another word for putting others first is “love.”

a. Love is when someone else is more important than you are.

b. Your focus is on the other person’s well being.

C. Recognize that God has a purpose. [Genesis 45:5, 50:19 – 20]

1. Perspectives:

a. Life is NOT a matter of chance.

b. Life is NOT guided by blind arbitrary fate.

c. Not everything in life is under your control.

d. In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. [Proverbs 16:9]

e. Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. [Proverbs 19:21]

2. You many not control what happens to you BUT you can control how you react to it.

a. Joseph was attacked, sold into slavery, lied about, thrown into prison, forgotten. It would seem he had the “right” to be bitter or hold a grudge.

b. Joseph also saw God at work in the circumstances.

“Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” [Duane Vander Klok]

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