What are the causes for conflicts?
It is important for us to understand some of the causes for conflicts. Just like we do not grow in a vacuum, conflicts do not happen without some other things in play. We need to see what these are so that we might deal with them.
Perhaps one of the greatest causes for conflicts is pride. Proverbs 13:10 says: “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” I know when there is any disunity that at the heart of the matter is pride. We might try to cover it up with excuses, but the Bible says it is simply pride.
What I mean about pride is thinking that ‘my way is better.’ Whenever there is comparison pride is there. Think through any relationship where there has been a conflict and see if pride was not at the heart of the matter.
Isn’t this what James is talking about in James 4:1-3, 6-8 “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. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
The solution for pride is found in Ephesians 5:21, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ,” and in 1 Peter 5:5, “Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”
Another cause of conflicts is self-centeredness, another part of pride.
Isaiah 53:6 says “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Between these two “alls” we have the gospel in a nutshell. But what it brings out is that we are self-centered people.
So often we are like little children wanting our own way and if we do not get it we will throw our tantrums (have our conflicts).
Scripture has much to say about this. We need to meditate on I Corinthians 13, this great chapter on love, where it says that love does not seek its own. Or, perhaps we need to go to Philippians 2 where we have the example of Christ: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Another cause of conflict can be found in Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” This is a verse that few seem to understand and accept; just how deceitful our heart really is.
So often in a conflict people have their mind (judgment) already made up; the person cannot change because he/she will not change the mind that is set. What this does is it breaks down communication and when communication with one another goes down, so does the relationship.
Pride is destructive to relationships.