In my article on "moldy churches" I wrote about unresolved conflict and how it can create divisions in the church. The same principles apply to families as well. Recently I saw this firsthand.
We have a family in our church that has been struggling to deal with a very serious problem which could potentially be quite harmful to almost every member of the family. The parents and the older children are on one side and the youngest child and her boyfriend are on the other side. I have tried to help on several occasions, but a "third-party" can only do so much to bring about resolution. The power to solve the conflict is in their hands. I have highlighted priorities and pointed out several viable options. I have encouraged them to make compromises. I insisted that it was time for action. Nothing was done. Of course, things got worse, much worse.
Our human nature encourages us to wait, rather than take action. This is especially true here in Peru. It is part of the culture as well. The Spanish language uses the reflexive tense to emphasize a common understanding that many times things "just happen" on their own. If a plate falls to the ground (se cayó el plato), it's as if the plate does it by its own effort. As a result no one is responsible for the broken plate. If someone loses his/her computer (se me perdió la computadora), it's as if the computer lost itself. No one is responsible for its loss. Their world view allows things to just happen on their own accord. The same concept can be extended to problems. Problems should solve themselves, especially if one waits long enough. It is not necessary to do anything, because eventually it will work itself out.
A couple of weeks ago I spoke on unity in the Body of Christ. I pointed out that conflicts in families, at work and in the church don't just happen. People are responsible for the conflicts. I also told them that conflicts don't solve themselves. In fact they get worse when they are ignored. People must decide to do something or the conflict will never go away.
After church the parents asked to speak with me. They finally decided to do something to end the "war." Over the past few days they have taken positive steps to reach out to their daughter. I trust it will be bring about restoration.