When We Disagree

Genesis 13-14, 18-19

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the story of Abraham and Lot.
  • Students will learn the workers of Lot and Abraham argued over who had the right to pasture land and wells.
  • Students will learn Abraham offered Lot his choice of which pasture lands to use for his family and flocks.
  • Students will learn godly ways of handling conflict.
  • Students will participate in an activity to practice handling conflict in godly ways.

Guiding Question: What words and actions can we use to handle conflicts in godly ways?

Materials: paper, pens/pencils

Procedure: Review the story of Abraham and Lot. Explain to students how Abraham and Lot had to separate their families and flocks because they had gotten too large. Abraham allowed Lot to choose which land he preferred for his family. Abraham handled his conflict with Lot in a godly way. Ask students what they normally say or do when in conflict with another person. (At this point don’t comment on their choices.) Share with students some of the godly ways of handling conflict:

  • As soon as you realize you are in conflict with someone, stop and pray for God’s guidance.
    Think about the cause of the disagreement. Was it really about what you are currently discussing, or is it possible one of you was actually just tired, hungry, ill, etc. and said things he/she didn’t mean?
  • Listen to what the other person is really saying. Notice not only the words, but the tone of voice, facial expressions and body language.
  • Ask questions to discover what the other person really wants. Is it just what they are saying or is there something deeper they really want or need from you?
  • Restate what the other person says in your own words and ask the other person if you have understood them clearly.
  • Think about what you really want and/or need. Are you describing it clearly to the other person? Is there a way you can be more clear in stating your needs?
  • What are all of the possible options for resolving the conflict. Most people only think of two or three choices when there may be many more. If you ad the other person begin listing multiple options, you may find one that makes both of you happy.
  • If the conflict is about a mistake you have made, take responsibility for the mistakes you made. Don’t try to minimize, rather apologize and try to make restitution if possible.
  • Don’t interrupt the other person when they are speaking.
  • Don’t call the other person ugly names.
  • Don’t touch the other person or become aggressive in any way.
  • If necessary, take a time out and do something healthy to calm down.

Divide the students into pairs. Have each pair write a scenario with two people in conflict. Have them describe the conflict and what each person is saying they want. Have pairs exchange scenarios. Each pair must then work together to write a discussion resolving the conflict and using the steps of healthy conflict resolution. If time allows, have students present their solutions to the class.

Additional Questions:

  • What are some words that make a conflict better?

Supplemental Activity: Have more advanced students research and find materials on conflict resolution. What words and phrases do the authors suggest people use when attempting to resolve conflict in healthy, godly ways? Can you find scriptures that also suggest these same principles?

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