Family Battles

Conflict is a constant guest in our house. I imagine conflict hangs out at your place too. I’m not necessarily talking about loud and intense fighting or even those quiet passive-aggressive battles where families don’t talk. I’m really talking about those subtle little challenges about how to do life together that can derail relationships, build resentment or easily escalate. I think we have to be diligent to watch for those moments, recognize them for what they are (satan’s trickery) and lock arms to do battle together rather than against each other. Let me share a quick story.

Our family is leading a ‘Class camping trip’ for our Adult Bible Fellowship group this weekend. We have about 10 families who will be camping together and spending time canoeing on the James River. This is our fifth year and it’s always a blast. The date has been set for months.

One of our sons is playing tackle football for the first time. Wouldn’t you know, there’s a ‘very important to be there’ practice on Saturday. We’ve already talked with Ben about the fact that he will not be there. Our family is committed to go camping together with friends and this takes priority. Ben loves camping so he has been OK with missing practice.

But now, a new wrinkle… we just found out this morning that after practice on Saturday, they are sizing for uniforms. So Stacy said, “I feel sorry for Ben. Should I stay home so he can practice and do this uniform thing then meet you guys on Saturday afternoon?”

Man, I feel the pressure and the desire as well. The funny thing is, I’m surprised Stacy is the one who brought this up and not me. Although the decision to let Ben play ball wasn’t made hastily, I am excited about what he will experience. So I probably have a softer heart for the whole football thing. But, in a moment of strength, here’s what I wrote back to my bride….”

No, there will be others who miss this. I want him to have a great experience but we have to be careful to not let little league football become a more dominant force in our lives and family than it already is. This will be a persistent battle for us. We’ll have to take turns being strong and holding each other in check when we are distracted from real priorities. You need to be at the camping trip. Our relationship and ministry to and with others is vastly more important than a uniform fitting. 

Wow… can’t believe I just said all that. I’m sure there are some football and sport aficionados who would disagree with this but I think too many men and families have elevated sports to unhealthy levels in life. But, listen carefully, this ‘conflict’ could be over anything; how to spend money, where to vacation, how to paint a room. It doesn’t matter. Conflict, tension, stress comes. Satan is crafty. Watch for those times when he steps into your life. He’s got a plan to distract and derail you.

And if you’re married, He’s after your marriage. Please note my comment above, ‘We’ll have to take turns being strong.’ In this case, I could see what was happening. That’s not always the case. Stacy is often much more perceptive than I am and will help me see what Satan’s trying to do.

Guys, does this story resonate with you. Have you faced a conflict recently that you recognized as Satan’s darts? How did you respond?