by Rick Warren — March 1, 2018
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? . . . You desire but you do not have . . . You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:1-2 NIV).
The first biblical step toward restoring a relationship is to talk to God before talking to the person.
Discuss the problem with God. If you’ll pray about the conflict first instead of gossiping to a friend, you’ll often discover that either God changes your heart or he changes the other person without your help.
All your relationships would go more smoothly if you would just pray more about them. As David did with his psalms, use prayer to ventilate vertically. Tell God your frustrations. Cry out to him. He’s never surprised or upset by your anger, hurt, insecurity, or any other emotions. So tell him exactly how you feel.
Most conflict is rooted in unmet needs, and some of these needs can only be met by God. When you expect anyone — a friend, spouse, pastor, or family member — to meet a need that only God can fulfill, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and bitterness. There are many needs that only God can meet.
The apostle James noted that many of our conflicts are caused by prayerlessness: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? . . . You desire but you do not have . . . You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:1-2 NIV).
Instead of looking to God, we look to others to make us happy and then get angry when they fail us. God says, “Why don’t you come to me first?”