No one likes to work. If we’re all honest with each other, no matter how much we love our jobs, or the daily tasks we carry out, we’d all much rather be out “playing,” than working. We could all make a list of all those things that ignite those excitatory chemicals in our brain: shopping, reading, running, eating (I like to eat), vacationing and how the list could go on. Yeah, work isn't fun, but it is rewarding. I’ve learned that work isn’t just confined to the workplace (even if your workplace is in the home, chasing ankle biters), but we must work at anything we desire to see a result from. If you want to eat healthy, you have to work at it. Exercise is calling “working out.” Acquiring knowledge takes work and so does building and maintaining relationships.
And with relationships comes the potential for conflict, which presents the probability of confrontation. This word has such a negative stigma with it. The truth is, when a relationship has value to us, then we establish, that we love and care about another person enough to sit down and talk. It sends the message that, “You mean that much to me. I’m not walking away from this, I’m walking into it.”
I’ve found in scripture where Jesus is constantly moving toward confrontation, not away from it. Why would the man often referred to as “The Prince of Peace” be drawn to such things? He came to bring a new way of thinking and one of those thoughts is that confrontation has the potential to BUILD the relationship, not destroy it.
Here are some tips and tricks for making those really hard conversations, not so hard:
Enter into conflict with a reconciling spirit(even if you think they are wrong). The spirit by which you go will determine the results by which you leave. Matt 18:15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. Ephesians 4:26 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”
When it comes to relational rifts: don't even let the sun go down without dealing with it.
This doesn’t always mean you have to go to that person that day, it does mean you have to go to Jesus that day. The space between His instruction and your obedience could cost you. It’s the difference between living your destiny and just talking about it. I tell my girls- “slow obedience is no obedience.” When intentions aren’t turned into initiative, you pay the price. Act with lighting speed to a relational crisis. Take it to prayer and do just as much listening as you do talking.
Before you confront the person, confront your assumptions about that person.
The word “assumed” really grinds my gears. Assumption is knowledge we haven’t actually worked for: it’s birthed from an attitude of apathy. When we don’t stop long enough to consider what it’s like to be the other person, to ask, or to open ourselves up to the possibility that their might be another view out there, we assume.
Three most dangerous words we can bring into a relationship: I just assumed.
Our assumptions and presumptions should never be brought to the table. You need to deal with those outside of a heart to heart conversation.
I want to offer you God’s thoughts about you, not mine.
When we bring our hearts and leave our opinions, we make room for honest conversations that honor each other.
Proverbs 27:6 says “faithful are the wounds of a friend.”
Love demands us to do hard things.
Love requires me to check my own heart before I check the hearts of others. To chew on my words before spitting them out. And to take into consideration that the people in my life are not there so that they can learn from me, but so I can learn from them.
Yet even though we must do hard things in the name of love, love always has our back.
Romans 8:31 (NLT) What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?
I’m quite convinced that if we can enter into relationship with others using the same relational model that God has with us, the relationship will thrive and not simply survive. When I can enter into a conversation and I know that you are for me, not against me and you know I am for you, not against you, that’s love.
That's the kind of work that I'll roll my sleeves up for.