Conflict: Setting the Scene to Reorient Hearts

Kim Sullivan

September 3, 2014

It's been a long day and tempers flare at home. It seems like everyone needs an attitude adjustment, including you. How do you lead your family toward Christ-centered behavior in the midst of a brewing storm? Noticing how Jesus taught his disciples can help with keeping those temperaments in check. In Matthew 5, for example, as Jesus prepares to teach the Beatitudes, he begins by setting the tone to reorient our hearts.

Here are some tips we can see from the life of Jesus as he taught his disciples.

Jesus practiced selfcare

Jesus took time to pull away from the crowds of people who were pushing and pulling on Him. "When Jesus saw His ministry drawing huge crowds, He climbed a hillside" (Matthew 5:1). Sometimes the best thing to do in order to change one's perspective is to literally change one's perspective! Jesus was down among the crowd and He moved away from the requests and questions to look at things from a different vantage point and address them all. Sometimes, our attitude can be improved by a change of scenery. Maybe you need a moment to step away, or maybe everyone needs to hear the needs of everyone else. Perhaps a quick cup of coffee on the front porch, a moment with a favorite memory verse, or calling a family meeting can help recast the demands in order for you to see things from the proper perspective.

Jesus modeled for his disciples

Jesus kept His apprentices close by. They climbed with Him. "Those who were apprenticed to Him, the committed, climbed with Him" (Matthew 5:1). Let your children observe you work on your attitudes, bring them with you on the journey. Don't be afraid to share your heart and state your frustrations. One great way to do this is to let them hear you ask for forgiveness. Allowing them to see you when vulnerable teaches them how to remain humble when they need adjustment.

Jesus engaged the teachable moments

Jesus led his apprentices to a quiet place. "Arriving at a quiet place, He sat down and taught His climbing companions" (Matthew 5:2). If voices have been loud and tension is high, perhaps it is best to take a break from demands and find a quiet place, both internally and externally before continuing. We can't listen if we're not quiet, but many times we demand a teachable spirit from our kids in the midst of a storm. All of us learn best when our spirits are quiet and hearts are soft. Timing is important.

Jesus withdrew from the distractions to draw his followers close to him in a quiet place. He set the scene to best facilitate learning. How do you set the tone for you and your followers? Take a cue from Jesus, change the scene, turn down the volume, and reset the focus to create a teaching environment.

About the author — Kim Sullivan

Kim Sullivan is a writer with a background in everything from homeschooling to nonprofit management. She has raised three children each of whom are successful in their own unique way. Recently, Kim has done the most radical and risky thing she has ever done…she moved 700 miles from her suburban Chicago home and everything familiar to her and relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is working on a brand-new website and blogs at Journey to Epiphany. She is also writing a book about her adventures in following Jesus.

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