PDL Day 20 – Restoring Broken Fellowship

My Blog Block

My dear friend, Leslie A., made this. She's very creative, isn't she?

“Because life is all about learning how to love, God wants us to value relationships and make the effort to maintain them instead of discarding them whenever there is a rift, a hurt, or a conflict.”

Jesus said, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.”  He said, “Blessed are those who work for peace”those who actively seek to resolve conflict.  Peacemakers are rare because peacemaking is hard work.”

We are supposed to learn how to “love and relate to others.”  “Peacemaking is one of the most important skills you can develop.  Unfortunately, most of us were never taught how to resolve conflict.” 

It is not about “avoiding conflict.  Running from a problem, pretending it doesn’t exist, or being afraid to talk about it is actually cowardice.  Sometimes we need to avoid conflict, sometimes we need to create it, and sometimes we need to resolve it.  This is why we must pray for” God’s “continual guidance.”

It’s not about “appeasement.  Always giving in, acting like a doormat, and allowing others to always run over you is not what Jesus had in mind.  He refused to back down on many issues, standing his ground in the face of evil opposition.”

“Talk to God before talking to the person.  Most conflict is rooted in unmet needs.”  When you expect anyone in your life 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.”

“Always take the initiative.  Don’t wait for the other party.  Delay only deepens resentment and makes matters worse.  In conflict, time heals nothing; it causes hurts to fester.” 

I can see and understand Mr. Warren’s point here.  I also feel that’s not true in every situation.  Have you never had a friend, family member of co-worker that you became angry or resentful with and you chose to be angry for a little while, and then silent, ignoring them and the problem?  This is a person you have no choice but to see and be around every day or nearly every day of the week.  You held a grudge for a little while, staying angry with them.  Over a week or two, you start talking with this person again, laughing with this person, listening to this person and you realize you’ve become friends again?  You actually like the person again and forget about the argument you had with them.  You’ve moved on.  I don’t think every fight needs to be resolved.  For some, it might.  Everyone is different and everyone deals with issues differently.  For some, time does heal hurt.  For me, on many issues I’ve had, time has healed hurt.  I think, sometimes you need a little time and a little silence to make peace.

“Sympathize with their feelings.  This means using “your ears more than your mouth.  Nod that you understand even when you don’t agree.”

“Patience comes from wisdom, and wisdom comes from hearing the perspective of others.”

“Confess your part of the conflict.  When you begin by humbly admitting your mistakes, it defuses the other person’s anger and disarms their attack because they were probably expecting you to be defensive.”

“Attack the problem, not the person.”  The Bible says, “A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.”  “A soft answer is always better than a sarcastic one.”

“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.” 

Have you noticed the difference between telling your child to do something, suggesting or asking?  I suppose the ease of the child’s willingness to help out or want to please you, depends on the kid.  They are all so different.  Some are more stubborn and headstrong than others.  I know I was more stubborn than Hallie.  Still am.  When I tell her to do something, she might scoff, huff, complain, roll her eyes, her body language is defensive.  When I suggest, she might say, “In a minute,” or “Do I have to?”  When I ask her politely and with respect, as if she were an actual person (because, believe it or not, they are not just our kids – they are people.  Small people.  Who need to learn how to speak with others, politely and with respect.  They learn from you.”), she responds very differently.  Yes, sometimes bribery is used.  I do not always recommend this method.  At times, when you are too tired and do not want to deal with opposition, you do whatever works to help reach the solution – yes, bribery.  Little briberies.  “If you do this with a glad heart, I’ll buy you an ice cream cone tomorrow after school.”  “If you do this gladly and without complaint, I will let you watch tv for 20 minutes.”  Explaining that last one, we do not watch much tv.  We are gone a lot, we have different activities we are both involved in, there are a lot more important things to do at home besides watching tv.  Plus, there’s just not that much quality tv these days.

Most of the time, though, if you want your child to respect you more and be an honorable person, I would not use much, if any, bribery.  I do not use bribery much.  I do want her to respect my authority and be honorable, not lazy, nor a complainer.  Sometimes, she gets grounded for her opposition.  But, I’ve realized that asking her politely and respectfully, she’s more willing to do it, while wearing a smile and even offering me a smooch.  😉  Politeness and respectfullness goes both ways.  It is very much appreciated and it shows that you care for that person, no matter their age, or their position.

“Emphasize reconciliation, not resolution.”  Everyone is not always going to agree about everything.  Duh.  “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.”  “. . . we can disagree without being disagreeable.  God expects unity, not uniformity, and we can walk arm-in-arm without seeing eye-to-eye on every issue.”

I had a disagreement with a close friend.  We see sooo many things differently.  We believe in different things, different ways of life, different views of heaven and hell – sooo many things.  I told her something that was very important to me.  She said something in return that was cold, harsh, insensitive and just blew me away.  As I said, we see many things differently.  I became very angry with her.  We said a few things back and forth that upset us both, making us more angry and upset – I made her cry.  I was too angry and stubborn to cry.  Time passed.  Not a lot of time, but a little.  We agreed that we see things differently.  In the past, this has only strengthened our friendship, because we value each other, we value that we have our own opinions on things – it’s not about being right or wrong in our beliefs and opinions – it’s about respecting each other and respecting that we have our own minds and thoughts and feelings about things.  We eventually apologized for hurting each other.  I don’t remember is she apologized for that thing she said that started the whole thing, but it didn’t seem to matter.  Now, I am careful about what I say about certain things, which is ok with me, because I know how honest she is and she expresses herself and that’s ok, too.  I choose to avoid conflict, so there are certain subjects I won’t discuss.  I value the friendship.  I want to continue our friendship forever, because she is a special person.  She’s an honest person, and caring, and compassion, and strong.  Strong-willed and stubborn like me.  She has a good heart.  She has many qualities I admire about her and she knows how to be a good friend.  People disagree and argue, but we should try to mend our differences.  We don’t have to agree with them.  We can simply agree to disagree and if we want to avoid debate and possible conflict, we don’t discuss those heated issues.  Simple, huh?  It works for us. 

“Reconciliation means you bury the hatchet, not necessarily the issue.”

“Who do you need to contact as a result of this chapter?  With whom do you need to restore fellowship?  Don’t delay another second.  Pause right now and talk to God about that person.  Then pick up the phone and begin the process.”

“. . . when you work for peace, you are doing what God would do.  That’s why God calls peacemakers his children.”

Pretty powerful chapter, huh?  Another good one.  Really makes me think of some things I need to work on and makes me think of people in my past that I need to make peace with.  I’m working with one of those people, very slowly.  Baby steps.  😉  It’s hard for me.  Certain people mess with your life and then your life is changed forever, not in a good way.  But we can use that – we can use those mess ups, that they have created, to make us stronger – to learn that we don’t want to continue with that pattern – to choose to be more protective of our children so certain things don’t happen to them.  We can also choose to forgive, to make peace with them and ourselves.  To just let it go.  I’ve done this once.  I think I can do it again.  One person at a time.  I can do this.  Baby steps.

I know that you are going to go out and make this an awesome day, just because you can.  Happy Saturday!  Have a ball!  Love you.  *hug*

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About Carol B Sessums

Writer, Editor, Coffee Addict, Lover of Mountains. Lives to shrink the planet, one story and connection at a time.
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