Most people either hate conflict or (secretly) love it. Both can cause problems, and conflict avoidance isn’t always the most godly path.
On this episode of Let’s Talk, Jackie Hill Perry, Melissa Kruger, and Jasmine Holmes discuss their own relationships with conflict. While none of them is naturally confrontational, Melissa points out that Jesus had a lot of conflict. Jackie says that she used to avoid conflict at all costs before she realized, “there is a beauty and an obligation, for the sake of love, to engage in certain conflicts.”
Conflicts can reveal attitudes in our hearts that we aren’t aware of. It was through conflict that Jackie realized her love for God was integrally connected to how she loves her neighbor: “How I was loving people I was in conflict with revealed a lot about my heart for Jesus. I don’t have the freedom, or the authority, or the right not to love you.”
Listen to this discussion with an open mind, and let the Holy Spirit reveal and sanctify your attitude toward conflict.
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Jackie Hill Perry: Welcome to another episode of Let’s Talk where we talk about applying biblical wisdom to everyday life. If you have enjoyed listening to this podcast, we hope, we pray, we solicit, we ask, we beg even. We hope you’ll recommend it to others and share your favorite episodes with a friend. My name is Jackie Hill Perry and I am here with Kruger Melissa and Holmes Jasmine and today we’re going to talk about conflict.
Melissa Kruger: Conflicts.
Jasmine Holmes: That got whispered like prayer got whispered.
Jackie Hill Perry: I know.
Melissa Kruger: I know.
Jasmine Holmes: It should have been yelled, conflicts.
Jackie Hill Perry: Because I don’t like conflict.
Jasmine Holmes: Well, too bad Jackie because the beginning of this episode –
Jackie Hill Perry: Oh, we’re conflicting now.
Jasmine Holmes: Is going to be about our conflicts.
Melissa Kruger: I’m out of this.
Jasmine Holmes: You are out of this because you always believed and trusted in me Melissa, and I appreciate that from you.
Jackie Hill Perry: It was also … I just can’t … I can’t even see you being in a conflict.
Jasmine Holmes: Oh, come to my house. You’ll see some doors slammed. I’m throwing some pillows.
Jackie Hill Perry: I can’t imagine it.
Jasmine Holmes: Oh goodness yes. Jackie and I are still beefing from … Do you know how many messages I got last season? I got like at least 10 messages last season from people who are like, “The end of the season where Jackie said that you make your pasta sauce from a can. You sounded so mad,” I was like, “Because I was.”
Melissa Kruger: She was offended.
Jasmine Holmes: I was deeply offended so tonight I’m cooking dinner. Cook, she can cook, ladies and gentlemen, but conflict. I have a fun story about conflict. I did not know that I had an anger issue until I got married.
Jackie Hill Perry: Oh. Got it.
Jasmine Holmes: Nobody who knew me knew that I had an anger issue until I got married because I came from the very like children are seen and not heard household. So the most that I ever did when I was angry was like I threw a dish towel one time when I was made and it was like World War III up in that joint. My mom was like, “Oh no.”
So I got married to Phillip and Phillip is not conflict-averse at all in the least, and every time I have found out that I was pregnant, it was from a gigantic conflict that happened between Phillip and I. So much so that Langston was my fourth pregnancy and by that time Phillip … Like we had a big explosive argument and Phillip was like, “I think you should take a pregnancy test.” Lo and behold, it was positive. Seriously.
So with [Wynn], I was … Fighting with Phillip, it was our anniversary, and we were having a conflict. We just weren’t really good at communicating with each other and part of it is we just got married so fast and didn’t really know each other that well so didn’t really know our conflict styles, even though we had a conflict, we fought when we were dating, we fought when we were engaged, we fought after we got married and it was our first anniversary and I asked my beloved husband what his most pleasant surprise was from marriage to me and he said that his expectations for marriage had been so high and we had met so few of them that he didn’t have any pleasant surprises to share.
The escalation was … It’s a slow build. Suffice it to say, the wedding ring got thrown across the room. The bags got packed. The car was started. I called a friend back home, an older, wiser friend. Amy, she’s probably listening. Thank you Amy. Amy is my mom’s age, has eight children, has been through this many times and I called her and I was like, “I am so mad at Philip I am divorcing him. This marriage is over after one year.” She was like, “Why are you mad at him?” Amy’s like really calm. She’s like, “Why are you upset?” I told her and she was like, “That doesn’t feel divorce-worthy to me. Could you be pregnant?” I was horrified. I was so mad. I yelled at Amy and was like, “How dare you. How dare you diminish my emotions to hormones and yada yada yada,” and a week later I had to call Amy and be like, “Hey girl, you was right. Hey, so due in June.”
That’s just one of like several examples of my first … Our first three years of marriage which is like … I remember looking up one day around like the second moving into the third year and I was like, “We haven’t fought this week. That’s crazy.” So conflict, confrontation, I know all about it. How about y’all?
Jackie Hill Perry: I don’t like it.
Melissa Kruger: I don’t like it either.
Jackie Hill Perry: Me and Preston had a conversation about this on our podcast about how I think a lot of my issues with conflict is part personality and part of just how I saw or observed it in my house. So my mother is not a conflict person. She’s not afraid of it, she just usually has I think wrong ways to handle it. So for example, if there’s an issue that arose with her and a friend, instead of having a conversation, she cut you off. Acts like it doesn’t … It’s just like, “Oh. That’s how we going to be? Okay, we good.” Or she buries it and never addresses it, which just doesn’t do well I think as a Christian to keep your heart soft. So I just kind of navigated life with either cutting you off or acting like what you did did not bother me and moving forward and never addressing the conflict to even be able to make the relationship grow.
So it’s only honestly through therapy and marriage and even just having matured in some of my friendships that I’ve been able to see that there is a beauty and kind of an obligation for the sake of love to engage in certain conflict in a good way.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, I have to feel pretty safe in a relationship before I can really show the conflict side and so in some sense I always understood why kids acted their worst with their parents because I was like, “You know what? Unfortunately, I act my worst with my parents or with my husband.” So it’s interesting, I think I’m more afraid of conflict with women and I don’t know why.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s interesting.
Melissa Kruger: Than I am with my husband. I feel safe –
Jackie Hill Perry: With like friends?
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, yeah. I have a harder time. I would dread coming to you all and saying, “Hey, when you said that, it really hurt me.” Now to be fair, most things don’t hurt me that much. I do tend to assume the best from people. It’s not like I’m walking around with all this hurt. There are some things that do get in and I have a really hard time … I have a hard time dealing with conflict when it’s because of some way I feel. I will go into conflict when I think it’s better for that person. So like if I saw you doing something, maybe with your kids or whatever, I’d be willing to say, “Hey Jasmine? That’s not going to go well.” You told Langston three times don’t do this and then you gave him a treat to get him to stop screaming.
I’d be willing to say that might bring some conflict but I’d be willing to do it because I care about someone as a friend. I have a really hard time when it’s about how I feel about things. That feels more personal to me.
Jackie Hill Perry: The vulnerability part.
Melissa Kruger: With Mike I’ll do that. Unfortunately, he gets in way that I have not always done well. I feel like the first 10 years of our marriage, we had a lot of conflict and I was really uncomfortable with that. I thought if we were a good Christian marriage we shouldn’t have conflict.
Jackie Hill Perry: Where did you get that idea?
Melissa Kruger: I think I got it because my parents really didn’t have a lot of conflict and I don’t even think they were stuffing it. You know how some people are like, “They’re just stuffing it and it’s going to come out –
Jackie Hill Perry: Right, of course.
Melissa Kruger: They’ve been married 50 years so they’d either been stuffing for a really long time. They just got along.” So I thought, “We should just get along. Why is this?” So I don’t think I realize how much the Lord was doing in my own heart in the conflict. I just wanted to blame him about some things and so it’s been … It’s also been good, I want to give hope to people who are dealing with conflict on a regular basis in their marriage. It’s been so different the second half of our marriage. Like we laugh now, we’re like, “Oh yeah, remember that would have been about a five hour fight. We can’t just now let things go so much easier, apologize so much more quickly.” We still have conflict but we resolve it so much faster. I just thank the Lord for that.
Jasmine Holmes: It’s also just to say different kind of couples are different ways. I know that for somebody listening who is going into marriage, I know a lot of people will say, “How come when you talk about marriage you always talk about how hard it is? Like sometimes your first year isn’t hellacious and sometimes you do get along and sometimes you don’t fight all the time,” and it’s like, “That’s great. That’s not my story. If you want to hear that story you got to go talk to somebody else because my story is today was hard for me.” That’s not at all to invalidate the fact that it’s not always the same level of difficulty for other people or the same type of difficulty for other people as it was for us. Because we’re hitting six years … October 4 is our anniversary and we have … Like the second, the first three years were [inaudible] and the second three years have just been really amazing and part of that is learning how to deal with conflict well. You guys saw us yesterday, me and Phillip were having a disagreement. We’re just having it in front of everybody and nobody was mad, nobody was … It was just like, “We’re just going to talk what we’ve learned how to do that through practice and through feeling safe and through believing in the best,” all of which I think are really important.
Jackie Hill Perry: I think one difficult context for a conflict is friendships because in friendships, they aren’t as intimate as a marriage relationship would be but they’re still as needed. I need my friends. I just can’t just have a husband. So I think with those, sometimes it can feel less safe for me and like … I can be more afraid to be vulnerable with them just because they’re not Preston, but I think I’ve kind of grown … I don’t know, I guess it’s therapy. I’ve just grown to see that because I need them, I need to be willing to work through difficult situations with them to preserve what we have. I didn’t use to be that way. It used to be, “Okay, I can do life without you.” Now I say, “No, I don’t want to do life without you,” and so I think this friendship is worth it and so let’s address it. Because yeah, there are those times with a friend when nothing really happened per se. It was just a lot of little things that just kind of has made it awkward and weird and you just kind of … Somebody has to have a conversation, like what’s happening with us. Because we’re just … I don’t think we’re like getting each other. Doesn’t that make sense?
Jasmine Holmes: I’m going to name a situation because she wouldn’t mind. My best friend, CJ, was so funny. We were living in Minneapolis and Minneapolis, according to CJ, so if you get mad, get mad at CJ, I’ll give her your email. I’ll give you all her email but she … Minnesota’s like passive-aggressive.
Jackie Hill Perry: Minnesota nice? I heard that. That’s the thing.
Jasmine Holmes: So I had done something to upset CJ and she got really passive-aggressive and then my immature self, instead of being like, I’m noticing some aggression, I got passive aggressive. This went on for a week, and CJ and I worked together and we would go to staff meetings together and we always sat together, talked together. We were going to staff meetings and sitting on the opposite side of the table. We were doing … It all came to a head, CJ is bilingual and we were at a parent-teacher conference with a Spanish-speaking parent and this girl sat there while this Spanish-speaking parent talked to me for 30 minutes about her child in my English class and she did not translate a single word. I was just like, “She said [foreign language], that means question, but what’s the question?” CJ just sat there smiling, nodding, taking notes and I was just like –
Jackie Hill Perry: She didn’t help you.
Jasmine Holmes: She didn’t help me at all. So finally I get in the car, and Phil’s like, “Jasmine, you haven’t talked about CJ for a while.” I was like, “Yeah, we’re not friends anymore.” He was like, “What do you mean you’re not friends anymore? She’s the best friend you ever had. What are you talking about?” I was like, “She’s not my friend anymore.” Phil said, “Why?” I said, “I don’t know.” He said, “Did you talk to her?” “No, I just figured she’s acting weird. I don’t have time for that.” I just remember saying I don’t have time for that, and I went to her classroom because Phil, my husband, he was just like, “That’s not an option. You don’t have any other friends here, we just moved here. CJ’s your friend.”
Melissa Kruger: You got one, you need to keep it.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, he was like, “She is your friend. She’s not going anywhere. We’re not doing that.” I was like, “What?” He was like, “We’re not. We’re just not.” The next day at school, I went upstairs, I went to CJ’s classroom, and I was like, “Hey, I feel like things are weird between us.” She was, “What are you talking about?” I was like, “Well, for instance … Mrs. [Talavera] really wanted to tell me something and I still don’t know what she said.” So finally we got to the bottom of it, we talked about it, and we hugged it out and it was great.
At this point in our lives, we’re like 25 years old. Literally the next day, the other teachers called us into a teacher conference and they were like, “We were wondering if you could talk to the ninth and tenth grade girls because something is going on, somebody has said something, somebody has done something and we need somebody to mediate the ninth and tenth grade girls are just at each other’s throats.” We were like, “Cool, yeah, no we can talk to them because even though we’re twice their age, we have experience with that.”
So we’re sitting there and listening to them and y’all, these ninth and tenth grade girls, like the stuff they were mad about was so similar to the stuff we were mad about and we were like, “We are so ridiculous.” Because that’s how conflict works, something so tiny.
Jackie Hill Perry: It’s usually small.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, it’s like a pebble in your shoe and it just turns into something so much bigger. Especially with adults I feel because I mean … Teenage girls are more likely to have these huge … Outbursts of passion about this or that. Once you become an adult, things just become less important and so it gets pettier and pettier I have found in my own life that me and my friends … My friends and I don’t have conversations that should be a big deal but because I’m so conflict averse, I turn it into a mountain.
Melissa Kruger: It makes me think of that verse, “What causes fights and quarrels among you.” Isn’t it your battles … Isn’t it your desires that battle within you? You want something but can’t give you. You kill and you covet. There’s this inner war that’s happening that leads to the outer war. How do you diagnose that in your conflict with people? I mean for instance for me, I can think back. When we lived overseas in Scotland, we had gone for Mike’s schooling, so I had given up the job I loved doing so that we could be there. We were fighting a lot and I realized the inner battle, the Lord just stopped me one day. I was reading Psalms, and it was the psalm where it says, “Don’t be like the horse or the mule who have to be controlled by bit or bridle or they won’t come to you.” It was like the spirit just whispered, “You are the mule, Melissa.” It’s like … I had come to Scotland submissively to my husband I guess but I had. I was fighting him with every bit and bridle and so every time my life there was hard, I blamed him. When I had to walk a mile and a half to get the groceries and then carry them back myself up this big hill, I blamed him and we’d get into a fight about it.
Suddenly it would squeeze out … It’s like my inner frustrations with my circumstances would get directed to him because I didn’t want to be mad at the Lord because I knew that was wrong. So I would take it out on him. How have you seen those inner struggles you’re having or inner desires or inner doubts about the Lord or frustrations with what the Lord is doing in your life be kind of feed conflicts?
Jasmine Holmes: With friends it can be envy sometimes too. Like I know as a married friend, sometimes my single friends are going through serious stuff, and I’m just like, “You’re so lucky. Like you have a pandemic going on and you don’t have little kids running all around and you don’t have a husband expecting something from you, you don’t have a …” It really does take me putting myself in their shoes and not focusing so much … I think sometimes I just get so focused on my own stuff and it becomes a comparison game instead of a two-way relationship where I really am wanting the best for my sister and believing the best of my sister. Those little seeds of envy or those little seeds of pride, those little seeds of flesh coming to friendships and relationships really easily.
Jackie Hill Perry: I think it’s hard because I think the flesh … Well for me, the flesh will try to have me find ways to justify myself out of being responsible for any of the difficulty that’s happening between us. It’s like … No they are or they did or they’re like. I even had … I have a problem texting people back, okay? That’s just my thing.
Jasmine Holmes: I relate.
Jackie Hill Perry: I just have a really hard time just responding and the only reason is it feels like pressure. It feels like … Because I have so many things pulling at me all the time, whether it’s my email or my deadlines or my family or my business and so those text messages feel like another thing to have to do, but behind the texts is a person and so I had a situation where I didn’t respond to someone’s texts and they had a whole lot going on that I didn’t know about so when I didn’t respond, they were really, really, really offended. In my mind it’s just … I never respond to your texts. You know what I’m saying? It was like, “You’re being sensitive. You’re being needy. You’re having expectations of me that I cannot live up to.” All of those might be true, but it does not mean that I still shouldn’t meet them where they are and say, “I’m sorry.” I think that’s one of the hard parts is like when it comes to the desires and the flesh and the brain. Just always trying to find a way to say, “I didn’t do nothing wrong. I’m busy so you should be able to accept it.” Just like no, bro. Love is kind.
Jasmine Holmes: I’m literally avoiding texting somebody back right now because I know that there’s going to be conflict because it took me that long to text back and I did know something was going on [inaudible]
Jackie Hill Perry: I have the same thing happening.
Jasmine Holmes: Like just before I came here I was talking to another friend and I was like, “I need to text him back but I know that I’m wrong for not having texted him back already,” and so the time just keeps stretching because I’m so conflict averse that I’m like I know … And she’s the kind of friend. I have a lot of therapist friends and so they are big on like naming … She is not afraid to be like … “You hurt me. This is how. Let’s discuss it.” I’m like, “Oh, you’re honest.” I don’t know. I don’t know, that’s intimate. Which I think is a good … The vulnerability and intimacy of conflict is not something that we think about. I have a really hard time being vulnerable so I don’t want you to know that you hurt me because then that means that I let you know that you have power and I let you know that I care about you. Even that’s awkward.
Jackie Hill Perry: It’s easier to say I’m mad than it is to say I’m hurt. I’m mad. It’s like okay, but beneath the anger, what is that? Is there a difference that you’ve seen between your holy, sanctified style of conflict and between your fleshly, wretched style of conflict?
Jasmine Holmes: 100%.
Melissa Kruger: When my fleshly conflict is all about me feeling justified in some way. Or you did wrong to me … Yeah, it’s all about me honestly. Whereas there’s a right conflict that can come for standing for good things. Jesus had a lot of conflict.
Jackie Hill Perry: Oh all the time.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, when you look in scriptures, there are a lot of people mad at him and so I think I learned to feel actually more okay with that kind of conflict. I really am okay with people not liking what I believe if I know it’s rooted in scripture. Like I can say … People are going to hate me for some of the things I believe. I hope I don’t hold it in a hateful way, I’m not trying to be that way but I do understand, the things I believe about the exclusive nature of the gospel that you have to believe in the name of Jesus to be saved, that is highly offensive. That’s going to bring conflict. When I –
Jackie Hill Perry: Swore, that’s what the Bible calls it.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, when I hold that, it’s conflicting. So I feel … That feels of the spirit to me. That willingness to stand and say, “Hey, I’m not saying this because I want to judge you or I don’t love you, I’m actually doing it because I do love you and I care that Jesus is coming back and I want you …” I think about Noah, this flood’s coming … Wouldn’t you want to say get on the ark [inaudible] get in Jesus and so there’s certain kinds of conflicts that I feel like are going to come to us as Christians that we need to be prepared for and be bold for and ready to say, “It’s okay that the world hates me.”
The harder conflicts for me are the ones like I said earlier, when I feel personally hurt. I don’t think I handle those as well. I don’t want to grow in that. Have you seen yourself grow in your ability to handle conflict well? Do you have any, “Hey this, this is something I now put into practice that I didn’t put into practice five years that’s helped me do conflict better.”
Jackie Hill Perry: Yes. When I started to realize that my love for God really is dependent on my love for my neighbor. So like how I was loving people, who I was in conflict with, revealed a lot about my heart for Jesus and it was like, “Okay, I don’t have the freedom or the authority or the right to not love you.” I think when I saw that, it was like, “Okay. I need to find ways to handle conflict in the way that makes God smile.” That’s honestly been the motivator, because it’s rare that I want to settle a situation because I feel like it. It’s usually always because I have this burden to obey Jesus.
Even the other day, I had a situation where … I’ve just been having a lot of conflicts during this pandemic, I don’t understand.
Jasmine Holmes: People are on edge.
Melissa Kruger: You’re all in the same room together.
Jackie Hill Perry: I needed the motivation to humble myself to resolve and reconcile something. I was telling God, “God, I just need your help. I just really need your help. I don’t know if I need a verse, I need a psalm. I need something,” and I was on a panel discussion on Zoom and somebody quoted the passage where it says that the love of Christ controls us. That’s all I needed. I was like, “That’s what it is, right there.” Like I have to be controlled by the love of Christ, not my ego, not my love of safety and preservation and comfort, not my own stuff. Like Jesus died, [inaudible], I’m his, I need to be like him. Because oh my goodness, he over here reconciled enemies to His Father. So I kind of got some big shoes to fill and they have been filled, but at the same time, like, “Yeah, I don’t know. It frees you up to obey but also to obey with joy because you know you’re being like the one that you love. Does that make sense?”
Jasmine Holmes: Absolutely. Yeah. Therapy has helped me a lot with dealing with conflict. I realized that a lot of times my motivation for the angry outbursts that I would have in conflict was power. I wanted power, I wanted to feel like I mattered. I wanted to feel like I had control. I wanted to feel like I had agency. When you look at my life, that makes sense. I grew up pastor’s kid, fishbowl Christian home, lived at home till I got married, never lived on my own. 24, got married, moved from my father’s house to my husband’s house and then because of Phillip’s job we moved to Minneapolis and because Minneapolis wasn’t a great place for Phillip we moved to Mississippi and I had a baby … So there’s like all these different points in my life where I have felt like I lacked agency and lacked power. So every single time I got into a conflict, I realized that it was me trying to grasp at that thing that I have never, had never experienced.
With friends, it kind of played out where … I don’t have power over my friends by throwing my wedding ring across the room.
Jackie Hill Perry: No you don’t.
Jasmine Holmes: But cutting them off feels like power, and saying, “You know what? You hurt me and so now I’m just not going to talk to you anymore.” That’s me taking power. Or, “You hurt me, so I’m not going to tell you that hurt me because if I tell you that I hurt you, then that’s me admitting that you have power to hurt me and I can’t do that.” So going to therapy and really uncovering that ugliness and being able to admit it to myself and then after admitting it to myself and owning it admitting to God who already knew it. Love it, the idea that you come at Him and you’re like, “God, I have a path. I’d be power trip [inaudible].” God’s like, “No, really?” I know, and realizing that true power and agency comes from resting in Him. It doesn’t come from these temporal winning an argument or one-upping or being able to have the final say or … There’s just so much that I learned but going to therapy really helped me to be able to have tools and verbiage for the things that were bothering me and the angry outbursts have … In the last few years, have just kind of died down.
I told Phillip the other day, we had an argument and I was like, “Our arguments aren’t even fun anymore.” We’re just like, “I disagree.” Well, what I hear you saying is, “Well, I think that,” and then we hug it out and we’re like, “That was so boring.” But it’s good.
Jackie Hill Perry: One place I see conflict a lot is Twitter. I don’t even know why that is. Is there a way to engage in conflict on social media or not engage that is God-glorifying? Because it just seems like … It’s a super contentious place.
Jasmine Holmes: A cesspool.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, and so many of us are on it and don’t plan to leave it though we might or should one day, I don’t know, whatever the Lord’s calling you to do, but at the same time yeah. Jasmine, you have experience with that a lot.
Jasmine Holmes: I do.
Jackie Hill Perry: My default is to ignore. Because I just don’t think Twitter is a realistic forum for any healthy conversation. I don’t, like you can’t hear my tone, there is no space for nuance. I don’t know you, you don’t know me. Like we’re just …
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, the only reason I ever engage on Twitter is if I think it will be helpful for somebody who’s watching. Never for the person that is coming after me because … I think there is a way to talk to someone when you care about them and that conflict is trying to move them towards Christ. Then there’s a way to talk to somebody that’s just ugly and condescending and you’re saying it behind your anonymous Twitter profile and honestly on Twitter, I notice the second category more than the first. I usually am not going to respond unless I think the question asked is maybe something that other people are wondering too and I can help other people by answering the question and I generally don’t block people. I generally don’t mute people but I also am generally not on Twitter that much. So I get on and then when I can’t take it anymore and I feel like I’m going to pop off and throw the proverbial ring across the room I get off.
Melissa Kruger: I’ve been helped sometimes by the arguments on there. Sometimes when I’m hearing it –
Jackie Hill Perry: I’ve seen them gone well sometimes.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. And sometimes even when they’re not done well, I’m like, “Huh. I’m going to have to think about that.” So sometimes listening to an argument does make me think a little differently about a topic. I’ve been helped by it. I don’t personally want to … I don’t have the energy for it. I always feel like … I was working in the church for so many years, there were so many real problems in front of me, I did not have the emotional energy to go have more problems on Twitter. Obviously when you’re sitting with married couples who don’t want to be in their marriage anymore, to me that’s where my emotional energy was going but I do, I do benefit sometimes from people’s discussions that they’re having on there or the interactions people are having. Some days it just feels like a cesspool of people waiting to be angry at the next thing and I think we have to guard ourselves that conflict should not be something that is sought. In fact this morning, I was just [inaudible], I was reading 2 Corinthians and Paul just spent a lot of this book confronting them about a lot of things. But he says, “Finally brother rejoice. Aim for restoration. Comfort one another. Agree with one another. Live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the Saints greet you.”
I’m like, “These are the things I want to strive for.” Aim for restoration doesn’t mean avoid conflict. It means go ahead and enter in but your aim is restoration. Comfort with one another, agree with … As far as it depends upon you, try to live at peace with others. Sometimes they won’t be at peace with you. You can try everything in your power to leave in peace with someone and somebody’s at war with you and you can’t really do much about that but I do think … I do have hopes that the church can do this better. My husband and I actually used to have a ministry in our home, it was called Pub Night and it was … We specifically designed it, it was promoting and understanding of the Bible. It was designed to talk about gray areas, not sure areas, in a healthy way around a table. So rather than have a big fight about spiritual gifts on Twitter where everybody’s yelling at everybody and they’re saying, “You mean this means you mean this,” sit around the table and have a real conversation with someone.
Because when I engage with you and see … “Huh, Jackie just teared up about that. Maybe I hit a nerve and maybe there’s a story there I don’t know from her past that I should ask her about.” That’s relationship, that’s having these conversations in context because sometimes I think we don’t know the nerve we’re hitting with someone online.
Jackie Hill Perry: No you don’t.
Melissa Kruger: People have a lot of really hard things in their background.
Jasmine Holmes: They do.
Melissa Kruger: So you might be saying one thing but the other person is hearing something because of their story and so I just … Sometimes when I go to Twitter and see some of it, I feel like people are just missing people and I wish people would sit around real tables with real people and have real discussions.
Jackie Hill Perry: Because when people are just behind … When all you are is your words, it doesn’t feel human and so I think the lack of awareness of our humanity that Twitter and social media brings about, just that distance makes it easier sometimes to not be as charitable as you should be. So I think we just have to remind that we’re talking to image bearers. Like all of us, the people I don’t like, the people I do like, the people who have political views that are different, the people who have theological views that are different. All of it, every single one of them, are made in the image of God and I can’t get beyond that.
Jasmine Holmes: I also think that until we learn how to do conflict well on a day to day, we have no business fighting with people on Twitter.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s true.
Jasmine Holmes: Because the priority, the clear priority of scripture is people in your own sphere of influence, people in your household, people in the body that you attend that you’re involved in. Going to Twitter and arguing on Twitter when you can’t even talk to your friend about the little thing she said that hurt you that’s causing you to be passive-aggressive towards her is kind of putting the cart before the horse and that’s preaching to myself.
Melissa Kruger: Absolutely. One passage people go to a lot when it’s dealing with conflict or maybe confronting someone is Matthew 18. You’ll hear a lot, “Did you follow Matthew 18?” Can we talk about … What does Matthew 18 say to do when we see someone caught in sin which I do think it’s important to note, it says caught in sin. So that’s different than one time you looked at me funny and now I’m going to have a big sit-down confrontation with you. I do think there are things we can overlook. It’s the glory of God to overlook an offense but if we see someone who’s caught in a pattern like they’re continually harsh … And so yeah, they were harsh to you but they’re continually harsh with other people, the Bible kind of lays out … Okay, you should first go and confront them and then it says if they won’t listen to you you should bring someone else and then you should get the church involved. Have you all seen that done well? Has that been helpful? It’s kind of a different kind of conflict because you’re dealing with a person’s sin. It’s not just interpersonal conflict, it’s kind of like … This is a bigger issue and I’m trying to help you see it’s not just affecting me, it’s affecting who you are and who the Lord made you.
Jasmine Holmes: I’ve seen it done well, I’ve seen it done badly and I’ve seen it done well. I’ve never been involved in it before.
Jackie Hill Perry: I did want to add just another passage that I think is really helpful to just meditate on and remember and how to do conflict well. Because conflict isn’t bad, it just can be done bad. But Colossians 3 starting at Verse 12 says, “Put on then as God’s chosen ones holy and beloved, compassionate hearts. Kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you so you also must believe or must forgive and above all these, put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” It’s hard but it’s possible because we’re God’s chosen ones. We are holy, we are beloved and so we do have the power to put on compassion and to put on kindness and to put on meekness and imagine how different our relationships would be if we practiced this more often. God is not through with his church and so as we progress and are sanctified, we will practice it more and more so we got hope.
Jasmine Holmes: That’s good.
Melissa Kruger: Amen.
Jackie Hill Perry: thanks.
Melissa Kruger: Good job closing.
Jackie Hill Perry: God is great. All right, enough of that.
Melissa Kruger: She closed it.
Jasmine Holmes: All right guys, so after talking about conflict, let’s talk to the games that lead to conflict in our homes. What is your favorite board game or card game?
Jackie Hill Perry: My favorite card game is spades. By far. The way I avoid conflict is by not having people as my partner that don’t know how to play. Because if you don’t know how to play, that’s when it becomes difficult. That’s when I get a little mad. All of my sarcasm comes out when we’re playing cards. Nothing is off limits. [inaudible] you understand, but I’m going to press some buttons for the sake of winning.
Jasmine Holmes: I just learned how to play spades when I was –
Melissa Kruger: Love spades.
Jasmine Holmes: 24? 23?
Jackie Hill Perry: Oh spades is … That’s my game.
Jasmine Holmes: My favorite is Phase 10.
Jackie Hill Perry: Oh. I like Phase 10.
Jasmine Holmes: I am not allowed to play it.
Jackie Hill Perry: Why not?
Jasmine Holmes: Because I am mean.
Melissa Kruger: Sin is crouching at your –
Jasmine Holmes: No it’s not that. It’s like … It’s like whose turn is it? Maybe the turn of the person we’re all looking at, I don’t know. Or like, “Do you think I can play this? I don’t know, is it green?”
Jackie Hill Perry: But that’s funny to me.
Jasmine Holmes: I’m just like, “I’m not sure.” Or if somebody’s taking a long time holding their cards, I’m just like, “Can you count? Do you need help?” So whenever people come over to our house, my mom … I would be like, “We should play Phase 10,” and my mom would be like. “Nah. Jasmine can’t play Phase 10. That’s not going to happen.” I’m just … I’m very … It’s funny because I’m not a competitive person normally but when it comes to Phase 10, I’m just like … “Do you want to be siting here all night? Oh my bad.”
Melissa Kruger: Actually cards brings it out in me but I think it’s fun.
Jackie Hill Perry: It is.
Melissa Kruger: I’m like, “I don’t want to play against someone who’s not talking a little bit of smack to me.” Like I like the competitiveness. It’s necessary.
Jackie Hill Perry: Good. That’s a part of it.
Melissa Kruger: I like nerds. Have you ever played nerds?
Jasmine Holmes: I think one time.
Jackie Hill Perry: I don’t remember the gist of it.
Melissa Kruger: It’s basically like a group game of solitaire in some ways but you’re … You’re fighting with each other to get rid of your cards –
Jackie Hill Perry: Got it.
Melissa Kruger: Is basically what it is and so it’s really fast but you have to … Being thoughtful matters too. So I like the speed of it but I mean I’m talking the whole time, “I hate you. I cannot believe you got that before me.” I kind of like that because it’s just fun. I mean obviously I don’t really hate them.
Jasmine Holmes: See I won’t pick on you if you’re doing well, but if you’re moving slow –
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s why I’m picky. Like even with Phase 10. This game can be really long if you don’t know how to get your phase, it’s in your hand –
Jasmine Holmes: It’s right there.
Jackie Hill Perry: Lay that thing down.
Jasmine Holmes: Don’t hesitate.
Jackie Hill Perry: So I’ll ask, “Have you played this before? If so, how many times?” If it’s under five, we –
Jasmine Holmes: We’re not going to play. You need to practice some more.
Jackie Hill Perry: I’m not … I’ll watch. I’m not going to engage –
Jasmine Holmes: [inaudible] babysitter because that’s not what I’m here for. Yes. Phillip and I played it like when we were dating, and he was like, “This is a different side of you.” I was like, “It is. I’m sorry.”
Jackie Hill Perry: Well that’s it for this week’s episode of Let’s Talk. Come back next week for our final, everybody say final.
Jasmine Holmes: Final.
Melissa Kruger: Final.
Jackie Hill Perry: Final episode on “Lies Women Believe.” Let’s Talk is a podcast from The Gospel Coalition Podcast Network. The Gospel Coalition supports the church in making disciples of all nations by providing resources that are trusted and timely, winsome and wise and centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This season of Let’s Talk is sponsored by RTS Global, the online program at Reformed Theological Seminary. Learn more at rts.edu/online.