Getting Along with Each Other (4)
Here are two things you must do in order to mend a broken relationship. First, attack the problem, not the person. You can’t fix the problem if you’re concentrating on who you can blame. The Bible says, ‘A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up.’ (Proverbs 15:1 GNT) In resolving any conflict, how you say it is as important as what you say. If you say it on attack, you’ll be received defensively. ‘A wise, mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.’ (Proverbs 16:21 GNT) Nagging doesn’t work. Don’t use words that are condemning, belittling, comparing, labelling, insulting, condescending or sarcastic; rather, ‘Use…only helpful words…so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.’ (Ephesians 4:29 GNT) Second, focus on your relationship, not your differences. It’s unrealistic to expect everybody to agree about everything. But when we focus on the relationship, the problem often loses its significance, diminishes or becomes irrelevant. Often we can re-establish the relationship even though we’re unable to solve our differences. We’ll always have honest disagreements, but surely, by God’s grace, we can disagree without being disagreeable. We can walk arm-in-arm without seeing eye-to-eye. This doesn’t mean giving up on finding a solution. You may need to continue discussing it—but now you agree to do it in the spirit of love. Reconciliation means stopping fighting, not necessarily agreement on the issue. So who do you need to contact? With whom do you need to restore fellowship? Pick up the phone and begin the process.