Building your case.
When little kids fight, they flare, they pout, they tattle, and they make up. It’s over! As we get older and conflicts arise, we tend to foster bitterness, hold onto grudges, and plot retaliation.
That is exactly the opposite of God’s desire for us. He created us to live in harmony with Him and with others. Hebrews 12:14-15 specifically says, “WORK (emphasis mine) at living in peace with everyone, … Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”
That’s right, we have to WORK at living in peace with everyone cuz we all have opinions and beliefs we feel are the correct ones. We all have soft spots and past hurts that we want to protect. When we bump into someone who triggers us, it’s super easy for an offense to grow, bitterness to take root and our version of justice to be meted out.
The right – but hard thing to do.
When an offense is blossoming or when bitterness has taken root the right — but hard — thing to do is have a conversation with the person you’re honked at. If you get used to having awkward conversations about little things, you’ll be practiced and brave enough to have a hard conversation when a bigger offense develops.
During the loooong pandemic, most of my in-person speaking gigs cancelled, so I had loads of time for friends, neighbors and family members. There were long mid-day phone calls, leisurely impromptu coffee dates, and time to dog-sit, play games and take walks! It was great.
Then the world started to open up and it was time for me to get back to the work of writing and marketing and speaking. When I began declining invitations to go and do and play, feelings got hurt.
The awkward conversation.
I realized in short order that I had to have the hard, but awkward conversations with those who did not understand my job. To them, I was only “working” when I was at an event. The truth is, speaking on stages starts with a lot of research and editing, not to mention strategy calls and planning.
One quick awkward conversation cut down a bitter root, shed understanding and restored the peace between us.
God’s plan for peace.
Friend, God knew conflict was going to happen to all of us, so he provided a way of restoring peace and harmony in our hearts and relationships. In Matthew 18:15, the plan is clearly laid out.
“If your brother or sister sins (offends), go and point out their fault (what has you so upset), just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”
The Message version says, “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend.
Don’t ask 45 other people for an opinion. Or post the offense on Facebook or send an angry text. No pouting, cold shoulders or shutting down. Call or sit down with them and have the conversation so peace can prevail. Explain the situation and come to an agreement to resolve the conflict.
Who do you need to be at peace with and is there a way to make that happen? Is there a hard conversation you’ve been putting off? May today be the day for your peace to be restored.
Verse for today: Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – Romans 12:17-18
Prayer: God, I want to be at peace with you and your people. Help me to take responsibility for my part of any issue. Give me courage to have hard conversations the perfect words for peace to be restored. In Jesus Name amen.