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Leaving the Fight Club: How to Get Out of Conflict

conflict family Dec 03, 2022
fight club, conflict, family

7 minute read
By Bethany Rees

The 1999 movie “Fight Club” characters portrayed by Brad Pitt and Edward Norton start a fight club because they enjoy the thrill of the fight. And the first rule of Fight Club is...

But today, I’m going to talk about Fight Club and how to get out of it. 

So many of us are trapped in our own Fight Club, or conflicts.

We fight with spouses about the same ol’ things. We fight with our families about the same ol’ things. And now we’re fighting with strangers on social media…probably about the same ol’ things. 

But we don’t have to be a lifetime member of Fight Club! There is a way to get out of the conflict and heal your wounds.  

Instead of going through conflict and feeling angry, misunderstood, and not valued…let’s instead learn a valuable lesson from conflict so we become better at it, in it, and after it…so we can LEAVE IT!

Here are the 5 steps you need to take to leave your Fight Club: 

Step 1: Recognize That We Are All Sinners

Where there are people there will be conflict. Why? Because you are NOT surrounded by people who think like you and act just like you. The result of these differences can lead to conflict. Conflict of beliefs, values, opinions, and behaviors.

But for some reason we are always shocked when conflict happens. Maybe it’s because so often we can put ourselves or others on a pedestal of “rational goodness,'' and then either justify or are shocked at bad behavior. We usually justify bad behavior when it is us that acted badly and are shocked when we see others misbehave. 

Not only are we not perfect, but everyone we encounter or engage with isn’t perfect either. And that includes our family members as well. As I’ve heard my pastor say on many occasions “hurt people, hurt people.” And the conflict that comes as a result, will bring its dark clouds with it. 

While it is true that bad things just happen to good people, it is important to recognize that most of the conflict and hard situations we find ourselves in is because of mankind’s own doing because of our sin. Maybe it was selfishness, pride, a loose tongue, out of control emotions, or something else, but no matter what, the fleshly world we live in is full of sin and suffering.

So as much as we try to be good and live “the perfect life,” we are in fact sinners living in a broken world. And, there will be many times in our lives that we will go through conflict and we will watch others go through conflict because of sin. 

Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Step 2: Zoom In and Find Ownership

One of the hardest things to do in a conflict is to take ownership. Why? Because taking ownership admits guilt in some form or fashion and people are prideful…we don’t like admitting when we are wrong. 

The reality is that when conflict does happen, it is important to reflect on all parties and break the conflict down to the bare essence of the problem. Often time conflict occurs within three major areas: 

  • A lack of clear communication 
  • Allowing emotions to dictate how you treat others
  • Showing dominance over, or a lack of respect and dignity for, the other person

If conflict can be broken down, especially into the three broad categories above, then why isn’t it easy for people to take ownership of their part?

Enter = Pride!

As I mentioned in the blog post “What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate,” people are quick to justify their own actions because we know what our intentions were. But we are also quick to judge other people’s behavior because we develop “ugly or unflattering stories about the other person and their intentions, and then act on those stories as though they were true.” 

The truth is that there are few people involved in conflict that are unscathed in owning part of the problem. But it takes true humility and sometimes the peeling back of conflict layers to see it.

In his book Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink goes in depth explaining how leaders should, as the title pronounces, have extreme ownership. He says that “implementing Extreme Ownership requires checking your ego and operating with a high degree of humility.”

So if you are directly involved in the conflict, then you need to peel back the layers and find the part you need to own. If you are a bystander of the conflict, then work to remove your own assumptions and look for how each party played a part in the conflict. 

Acts 3: 19 “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”

Step 3: Zoom Out and Find God

One of the most important skills one can acquire to gain wisdom is being able to zoom out and see the bigger picture. We oftentimes focus so much on ourselves that we struggle to see anything but our own pain or circumstance. However, if we remove our self focus and humble ourselves (think of ourselves less) then there actually is a lot to be learned from every situation; even the small ones. 

With conflict comes a lot of attention because people love watching and talking about drama. In fact, people love drama so much, they would love for you to stay in the mud and muck of the conflict. 

When you are down and out it makes them feel better about themselves. And if I’ve learned anything from teaching in junior highs and high schools…it is a constant battle for status, with kids trying to knock each other down so they can feel better about themselves. And honestly, adults are much better. 

Being stuck in a soap opera for our own self-pity and for other people’s enjoyment will never lead to healing, resolution, restoration, and a clear path forward. 

But by zooming out and asking God to help us not only see the bigger picture, but His point of view can we truly gain the lesson, but know that God will use this situation for His good and that we can move on to Step Number Four.

Romans 8:28 says: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Step 4: Forgiveness

I’ve always heard it said that harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. Forgiveness is more about your response than the response of the other person. 

Like we learned in step one, all people are sinners and will fall short of the glory of God. Everyone will make mistakes, and it is imperative to forgive others. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we agree with the act, nor does it mean we have to forget what happened. It just means that you are letting go of the offense  you feel so God can grow peace in its place. 

If we are to ever have peace, we must forgive. 

Ephesians 4:32  says “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Step 5: A New Creation

In Christ, you are a new creation. NEW! That means that all the chains and old stories of who you used to be have been removed. 

Your past does not define you. 

Consider your past and all the conflict it has caused in your life as lessons learned and step into the true freedom that only Christ gives. Freedom from sin, shame, guilt, rejection, abuse, anger, fear, etc. 

When you are free from these things, conflict no longer has the power to keep you in chains. You are more than the conflict you’ve caused or been involved in. You are now free to leave your Fight Club and walk in newness, because you are more than the conflict you’ve had:

“You Are More?” by Tenth Avenue North…

She says, how did I get here?

I'm not who I once was.

And I'm crippled by the fear

That I've fallen too far to love

But don't you know who you are,

What's been done for you?

Yeah don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,

You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,

You are more than the problems you create,

You've been remade. 

Know Better. Do Better. Live Better. LEARN FROM CONFLICT.

Rocks before Sand!



“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

~Ephesians 4:32

Theme Song: 

You’ve Been Remade by Tenth Avenue North

References Used:

  • Fight Club Movie. (1999). Starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Directed by David Fincher. Distributed by 20th Century Fox. 
  • Willink, Jocko and Babin, Leif. (2017) Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win. New Work: St. Martin’s Press. 
  • The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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