How do we repair relationships without first repairing our own hearts? The Lord and I have talked a lot about how to walk through conflict —you know, the relational blow-ups that make you want to throw up? or run away? or cry? or break something?
God is depositing so many revelations about how to do life with others, even when it is messy. He is revealing a beauty in the process that is priceless and is almost worth the pain even. He is teaching me and you how to live as He lives. In Perfect Love.
Revelation One is to assess why this conflict is so big on our radar? Why the over the top emotional reaction ( select from prior list or add your own)? Why go there? God loves you and me. God loves the other person. We are both good. So let’s take a deep breath and just let the Holy Spirit tweak and heal without all the drama caused by insecurities. There is a peace that passes understanding. Drama steals that peace. So wait on the Lord to bring clarity, truth, and hope.
Speaking of insecurities, that is Revelation Two. We react because we are afraid the love has run out. Danny Silk calls it the Love Switch, and when we get hurt the first thing we do is turn the Love Switch off. We get stung by actions or words and then we question the intentions of the offending person. Does this person really love me? Is this person safe? Without clearly knowing the love connection, the commitment to relationship, it is difficult to trust. So we scramble, attack, hide or blame.
We want to “resolve the problem” but where is the love? We have to let the Lord first heal our hearts through forgiveness and grace so we can get the love back on for that person. Intention is a two way street. How are we communicating our continued love in this hard circumstance? Are we still speaking love and affection even though there is conflict? Through Jesus, is the Love Switch on?
As believers, we know this is a reality that Jesus is pleased to empower because His love is everlasting. He is teaching us how to love as He loves. Keep your love switch on. This requires faith. Strong faith that God is truly working all things for your good, but also for the other person’s good. (I’m glad He is God. This makes my head hurt.)
“What are you, man, if you do not learn love?” This question posed by Shawn MacDonald in the song Simply Nothing sums up Revelation Two.
And finally, Revelation Three came by way of a pertinent blog by Seth Godin. When God is talking, teaching, healing, He brings truth from all directions. Read it and let the Lord have His way in your conflict. Conflict is part of our transformation. We can press in to learn how to enjoy it because we trust the end result. “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Two questions behind every disagreement, by Seth Godin
Are we on the same team? and
What’s the right path forward?
Most of time, all we talk about is the path, without having the far more important but much more difficult conversation about agendas, goals and tone.
Is this a matter of respect? Power? Do you come out ahead if I fail? Has someone undercut you? Do we both want the same thing to happen here?
The reason politics in my country is diverging so much from useful governance has nothing to do with useful conversations and insight into what the right path is. It’s because defeat and power and humiliation and money have replaced “doing what works for all of us” as the driving force in politics.
If you feel disrespected, the person you disagree with is not going to be a useful partner in figuring out what the right path going forward might be. If one party (employee/customer/investor) only wins when the other party loses, what’s the point of talking about anything but that?
Deal with the agenda items and the dignity problems first before you try to work out the right strategic choices. (emphasis added)