2. Repent Before God
We begin this lesson by reflecting on the Ten Commandments. This enables us to better recognize our sinful attitudes and responses to conflict.
There are two common ways that Christians have numbered the commandments. Have you ever wondered why? Do you have a preference in how you view them in this course?
Click each image to see the scripture text for each commandment:
Ninth and Tenth Commandments
How do my conflicts with others affect my relationship with God?
My sin against another is first of all a sin against God. When my conflicts involve sin (most of them do!), it affects my relationship to my God.
When the prophet Nathan confronted King David about his sins of misuse of authority, affair with a married woman, and the murder of her husband, David confessed his sin against the Lord and Nathan proclaimed God’s forgiveness (1 Samuel 12:1-13). Note what David later penned in Psalm 51, reflecting on his sins:
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
What does conflict reveal about my heart?
God looks not only at words and actions, but also at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
Our quarrels and fights reveal our hidden desires, which become evident when we act on those desires and sin against God or others.
Rather than responding to disagreements as children of God, we may react from our sinful nature by attacking or fleeing.
When we don’t get what we want, we make our demands known and punish others.
How does conflict in my heart relate to idolatry?
The First Commandment requires, “You shall have no other gods.” Scripture explains that this means that we should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.
Any time we fear, love, or trust someone or something else more than God, we sin against the First Commandment. We are guilty of a form of idolatry, putting someone or something above God. Idolatry begins in the heart.
Click each set of tablets to reveal the supporting scripture:
When we are willing to sin in order to get what we want, we are not fearing God most of all. We are not loving Him above everyone or everything else. We are not trusting that He will give us everything we need. We turn our desires into demands – demanding what we want from others and even from God. This puts us in conflict with anyone (including God!) whom we believe is putting up a roadblock to our desires.
The result? Fights and quarrels (James 4:1-3). Our heart is determined to get what we want, when we want it, and the way in which we want it.
Sinful behaviors exhibited in conflict reveal our struggle to serve ourselves and the secret desires of our hearts. Each one wants to be the god of his own heart’s desires. We expect others to give in to our demands. In other words, we are guilty of idolatry!
What are some examples of the idols of the heart?
Sin originates in the heart. Our heart’s desires become idolatrous when we fear, love, or trust someone or something more than God. Consider some of the idols of our hearts that might be revealed in conflict.
Improper desires for physical pleasure
The Bible refers these as “cravings” or “lusts.” Improper desires for physical pleasure may be derived from eating, drinking, misuse of drugs, sex, physical exercise, and more.
1 John 2:15-17; Galatians 5:16-21; Ephesians 4:17-20
Pride and arrogance
Self-proclaimed “gods” judge others who do not meet their demands. These judgments lead to condemning and punishing those who do not serve them. Gossip is a form of pride and arrogance – we judge others and punish them by ruining their reputations.
Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 16:18; Matthew 23:12