Restoring a broken relationship is one of the most difficult things we go through. As humans, we struggle daily with selfishness and putting others first. This inner battle seems to rage at insane levels when we feel hurt, misused, or underappreciated. In the heat of the moment we blast others with painful looks, paralyzing comments, and hurtful actions. As Christians, we are called to put such things behind us, and strive to place God first, and others second in this life that we live. We tend to throw these values out of the window when a relationship is threatened and we feel the need to bow up and stand our ground. Some have mastered the technique of proper ways to handle confrontation, and handle issues with grace and humility. For others, like me, we say things we shouldn’t, or give looks we shouldn’t give, and a relationship suffers because of it. How do we mend the hurt we have caused while we work at bettering our attitudes during confrontations? Listed below, are some wonderful tips I came across several years ago that are excellent ways to mend relationships that have felt the wrath of our selfish ways.
Talk to God before you approach
James 4:1-4 talks about the pride of a person and the strife they cause because of their own desires. At the end of verse 4, it is written “you do not have, because you do not ask.” If we want self control to resolve the conflict, we must ask of it through prayer. We must ask for forgiveness for hurting our fellow Christian, and ask for the wisdom and patience to resolve the conflict. Prayer is a calming conversation with our Creator. Take pleasure in knowing that he knows you best and that after lying your burdens down at His feet, He will guide you on to the next step of resolution.
Take the initiative
After tempers have settled through prayers for control, we must take it upon ourselves to mend the conflict. Job 5:2 states “Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.” Take the initiative and set aside any resentment or envy as to clear your heart from these emotions that block our view to peace.
Sympathize with their feelings
“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 This truth will be able to keep us out of most conflicts if we practice it. If in a conflict, listen to the others feelings of hurt and relate to what they are going through. We can’t understand the pain we have caused if we do not listen to the one who has been offended. Listen with an open heart and an open mind, so you both can move on to healing.
Confess your part of the conflict
1 John 1:8 states, “ If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” This is the hardest part, admitting our wrongs. I had rather jump off into an icy cold pond than admit I am wrong at times. Being in the wrong hurts, it hurts our pride, and it hurts our very being. It makes us feel inadequate and not in control. Confession frees us of any guilt associated with the wrong and heals the heart of the brother or sister that has been offended. It also heals and humbles our hearts as the offender.
Attack the problem, not the person
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 We all too often put a face to the problem, and that face is often the person who has offended us. We have heard the expression, “hate the sin, not the sinner” and this little saying should be at the forefront of our minds when we are hurt. If we attack the person and not the problem, we are fighting against any type of constructive resolution.
Cooperate as much as possible
Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Some problems we find ourselves in are just devastating and difficult, no matter how we look at it. Using the tips mentioned above is a great way to keep yourself from being angry without sin, but the same may not be true for the other party involved. They may not hold to these standards of living and that can make reconciliation tough. We must posses the wisdom and love to keep our heads on straight, even if the other person is flying off the handle. Do what you can in love, and brace yourself for any unforeseen issues that may develop while trying to resolve issues.
These tips are wonderful ways to keep our cool when we find ourselves in difficult situations. Resolving conflicts is all about the relationship you are trying to restore. We must emphasize the fact that we are looking for reconciliation with the person first, and a resolution to the problem second. Reflect on God’s instructions as to how we are to treat others and when in a difficult situation, go to his word, and adhere to the tips stated above from scripture to live at peace with others, and with ourselves.