Some days are harder than others because of other people. And I am one of them.
There, I said it.
Not all of us get along all the time, as we are all very different from one another.
At times, those differences can be an asset. And sometimes, they can become a problem for one or the both of the people involved.
Often, misunderstandings or snap judgments can cause division, especially when it remains unspoken between the two parties. And even more when the enemy strengthens the wedge, whispering lies and discouragement.
There are many ways in which people can not get along – whether language & cultural, background & work, age & gender differences. And sometimes, it has nothing to do with the other person, but is a choice within to embrace a bad mood, deliberately hurt others, and/or are just having a bad day,
Now that we’ve looked at what may cause a relational battle, how do we deal with them?
Jesus showed us four key ways to do so while among people on earth:
- Speak the truth as you address with the real matter going on.
- Speak only when God prompts you to.
- Whenever possible, be kind.
- Meet the need you discover in the other person.
For example, the woman with a bleeding problem for 12 years who touched the hem of Jesus’ robe in a busy crowd (Luke 8:43-48). This woman would have not only been broke after 12 years of trying to get help, but also shunned because of the Jewish purification rules. She would likely be exceptionally lonely as a result, as well as desperate for relief. When Jesus sensed her touch Him, He publicly addressed the issue. Did He have to? No, she was healed. But He did because her deeper need was to be made completely whole, including being able to have relationships again.
You will notice that He even meets with & ministers to a prominent Pharisee in His day, Nicodemus (John 3:1-21) despite often navigating the Pharisees’ negative confrontations throughout His ministry, and their contribution to His trial & crucifixion. He saw the value in forming a relationship with someone who would have been considered His enemy.
God looks at the heart as much as He sees the behavior.
We too need to ask Him to guide us in our relationships. To learn when to speak truth, when to listen, when to stay silent, when to put the other person first, when to pray all the more, and when to forgive. And when all else fails, to put ourselves in time out. (To be honest, often each of these in the same day!)
Be encouraged that God will help you navigate hard relationships. After all, He made everyone involved and knows each of us way better than we ever could know one another. When we invite Him to guide us, He will guide us to the best resolution possible in that moment.
I love this quote by Lysa TerKeurst, as she perfectly captures what I believe is God’s heart for improving relationships:
“When I can feel an argument brewing, I have to remember my goal is to tackle the issue, not the person. When I set out to prove I’m right, it always leads to conflict escalation. When I set out to improve the relationship, it can help lead to conflict resolution.”
#battlecry #relational #battles #hopefortheharddays