- Charles Spurgeon (via —thefearofgod)
Restoring relationships- Solving problems God’s way
1. Talk to God before talking to the person. Discuss the problem with God. If you will pray about the conflict first instead of gossiping to a friend, you will often discover that either God changes your heart or he changes the other person without your help. All your relationships would go smoother if you would just pray more about them.
Most conflict is rooted in unmet needs. Some of these needs can only be met by God. When you expect anyone – a friend, spouse, boss, or family member – to meet a need that only God can fulfill, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and bitterness. No one can meet all of your needs except God. 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?”
2. Be initiative. It doesn’t matter whether you are the offender or the offended: God expects you to make the first move. Don’t wait for the other party. Go to them first. Restoring broken relationships is so important, Jesus commanded us to settle a grudge against someone before we come before God to make an offering. After going to the person to make things right, then only can we come back and work things out with God.”
Acting quickly also reduces the spiritual damage to you. The Bible says sin, including unresolved conflict, blocks our fellowship with God and keeps our prayers from being answered, besides making us miserable.
Don’t procrastinate, make excuses, or promise, “I’ll get around to it someday.” Schedule a face-to-face meeting as soon as possible. Delay only deepens resentment and makes matters worse. In conflict, time heals nothing; it causes hurts to fester. It is also important to choose the right time and place to meet. Don’t meet when either of the parties are tired or rushed or will be interrupted. The best time is when both are at their best.
3. Sympathize with their feelings. Use your ears more than your mouth. Before attempting to solve any disagreement, you must first listen to people’s feelings. St. Paul advised, “Look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own.” (Phil 2:4) It means pay close attention! Focus on their feelings, not the facts. Begin with sympathy, not solutions.
Don’t try to talk people out of how they feel at first. Just listen and let them unload emotionally without being defensive. Nod that you understand even when you don’t agree. Feelings are not always true or logical. In fact, resentment makes us act and think in foolish ways.
In contrast, the Bible says, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”(Prov 19:11)
Patience comes from wisdom, and wisdom comes from hearing the perspective of others. Listening says, “I value your opinion, I care about our relationship, and you matter to me.” The cliché is true: People don’t care what we know until they know we care. To restore fellowship “we must bear the ‘burden’ of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others.
4. Humbly admit to your part of the conflict. If you are serious about restoring a relationship, you should begin with admitting your own mistakes or sin. Jesus said it’s the way to see things more clearly: “First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Mat 7:5) Since we all have blind spots, you may need to ask a third party to help you evaluate your own actions before meeting with the person with whom you have a conflict. Also ask God to show you how much of a problem is your fault. Ask, “Am I the problem? Am I being unrealistic, insensitive, or am I overly sensitive?
Often, the way we handle a conflict creates a bigger hurt than the original problem itself. When we begin to humbly admit our mistakes, it defuses the other person’s anger and disarms their attack because they were probably expecting us to be defensive. Don’t make excuses or shift the blame; just honestly own up to any part you have played in the conflict. Accept responsibility for your mistakes and ask for forgiveness.
5. Attack the problem, not the person. You cannot fix the problem if you’re consumed with fixing the blame. You must choose between the two. In resolving conflict, how you say it is as important as what you say. If you say it offensively, it will be received defensively. God tells us, “A wise, mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.” Nagging never works. You are never persuasive when you’re abrasive. For the sake of fellowship, we must avoid condemning, belittling, comparing, labeling, insulting, condescending, and being sarcastic. St. Paul sums it up this way: “Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.” (Eph 4:29)
6. Cooperate as much as possible. Paul said, “Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody.”(Rom 12:18) Peace always has a price tag. Sometimes it costs our pride; it often costs our self-centeredness. For the sake of fellowship, do your best to compromise, adjust to others, and show preference to what they need. A paraphrase of Jesus’ seventh beatitude says, “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.” (Mat 5:9)
7. Emphasize reconciliation, not resolution. It is unrealistic to expect everyone to agree about everything.
Reconciliation focuses on the relationship, while resolution focuses on the problem. When we focus on reconciliation, the problem loses significance and often becomes irrelevant.
We can reestablish a relationship even when we are unable to resolve our differences. Christians often have legitimate, honest disagreements and differing opinions, but we can disagree without being disagreeable. The same diamond looks different from different angles. God expects unity, not uniformity, and we can walk arm-in-arm without seeing eye-to-eye on every issue. This doesn’t mean you give up on finding a solution. You may need to continue discussing and even debating – but you do it in a spirit of harmony. Reconciliation means you bury the hatchet, not necessarily the issue.
-The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
a Sacrificial Kind of Love.
this Kind of Love…
It hurts the heart, but does not hurt the body physically.
It tampers with the spirit but cannot and will not ever kill it.
This Kind of Love…
It’s the most powerful sort of feeling I’ve ever felt in my life, to put it bluntly.
A sacrificial kind of Love.
I’VE GIVEN UP ON YOU. But YET EVEN THOUGH I am so GRATEFUL for you.
And I wanted to remind myself that in an entry and check tumblr for future’s sake what I realized today.
scars of insecurities I thought I had surrendered or “graduated” from. Only this year I’ve seen the impact of them when I didn’t associate with you any longer. It was like Christ was pulling me closer to Himself and learning to depend on Him. I was looking to you as if you would support me and understand me but I expected so much from you. I’ve hurt you too. I wanted you to be there but you couldn’t. I expected you to understand me so well, but I realized you didn’t. It was wrong for me to expect so much from you. And I’ve been terrified and tormented by my mistakes.
I’ve messed up and prayed for a way to resolve things. I like resolutions and hate the
wall that was built. I hated how I needed to distance myself. But yet it was necessary. It was necessary for me to see how much I’ve put high expectations that shouldn’t have been there. It was necessary for me to see how much you did mean to me. You mean a lot even now. But I pursued reconciliation — I wrote emails — but time and time again I felt disappointed, doubtful and felt like I tried so hard. It still seemed like you are too far from me.
And yet, God worked in my heart. He purged, purified, sanctified; He showed me that I cared so much about how you were doing and less about what God wanted to do through this. My eyes and heart are awake now as I realize the my mistakes, our shortcomings, and how God does things. I’ve realized I’ve
trusted in fears and insecurities more while putting you on a pedestal because you mattered that much.
Even with the best intentions to see you grow and mature, I realize I cannot be there for you, too. We are on our separate roads that God prepared for us. I wanted to say so much to you but it isn’t time now. And I don’t know when that time will ever happen. Some days I think you’ve forgotten; and some days I think you feel the same way about me. But I didn’t forget. I wanted to see what you would do. I wanted to see if you really meant what you said.
And I don’t know what happened but I think both of us don’t know what to do at all any longer.
So I’ve decided to surrender. I’ve given up. I feel like too much of this year was spent tormented and fearful and I cannot be like that any longer. I know we are all human; we are all in need of grace. And I cannot figure this out any longer. We are really on different roads and we need to be on these roads. We must both submit to God’s will. I need to believe in what God wants for me in Christ Jesus, as His daughter, and to yearn for that Will in my life. I want the same for you, too.
I’ve trusted in God for you. I want you to be more like Him. I want you to continue to bless people because that’s what you’ll always be remembered for in my head. You need to worship more and love God more. I want you to see yourself defined by Jesus more. It’s amazing when I see more people I’ve known grow in their love and faithfulness when they surrender to God. I’ve always known that God will use you wherever you may be. I know God is so good to you and me. And I know that you understand that very well.
I love you, my friend. But Jesus loves you
more than me. And Jesus is much better than me. So I’m giving up not because I hate you or I don’t want to forgive you (but I have), but because Christ has this all together.
We must trust in His will for us. I must trust that His will is better than any plan that I can make. And I know God will take good care of me. And I know He will also take good care of you.
So I’m raising the white flag today of surrender.
I cannot any longer dwell and look backwards. I am giving up.
I love you but this is goodbye.