Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Healing relationship rifts


CONFLICT is something I think most of us like to avoid.  I do.  Especially when I come home-- I want everything quiet and peaceful and serene.  And for the most part, it is-- I'm blessed in that way.   But there are still conflicts to face.  I'm always finding people that don't understand that it's all about me...  so we have conflict.

Seriously, isn't most conflict between people because one of you isn't getting what you want?  Or because you need to be right and win the argument?    And when you became a believer, did all of that stuff go away?  Maybe not as much as you thought it would.  As Caz pointed out Sunday, conflict is real and sometimes unavoidable.  If you believe that conflict among Christians can be avoided, you need to go back and start reading the New Testament more carefully.  There was a lot of conflict in the early Church.  And of course, Jesus was often in conflict with the religious authorities of his time.  So since we can't avoid conflict, we need to figure out how to handle it in a way that both honors God, and brings out the best in ourselves so that we can be the person we want to be.   One of my goals in handling a situation the way I think Jesus would want me to is that I know that's how I'll feel best about myself.   I never want my anger to make me act like someone I don't like.    Caz mentioned a couple of really good, simple guidelines in dealing with conflict that bear repeating:

1.  Handle conflict directly.  That's the biblical model.  It's also what works best.  Think how often situations have escalated (in a family or a work environment)  because the person feeling wronged or wounded talked to everyone except the person they feel wronged by.  Go to the person and explain how you feel about what happened-- not what they did wrong.  Give them a chance to talk about what they feel and how they saw the situation.

2.  Give up your need to be right.   This is key.  Especially in marriage!   I can be pretty stubborn sometimes.  I think if I keep talking, I can convince someone that I'm right.  I've had to learn to ask myself:  What do you really want-- to be right?  or to heal the relationship?   When we realize that our standing with Jesus is based entirely on GRACE, that we live continually in grace and love, it should help us let go of our need to be right.   

And if you don't need to be right, it'll be easier for you to take the other step that Caz mentioned:  to be the one to make the first move towards healing.  Jesus made the first move towards you.  Let's try acting more like Him the next time conflict comes up.

Pastor Rick