Get over it!
When little kids fight, they flare, they pout, they tattle, and they make up. It’s over! As we get older and get into conflicts, 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 each have opinions and systems we believe 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.
This past Christmas, as usual, I texted both my grown boys and reminded them to make sure they had Christmas cards in the mail to their grandparents. By implication, I figured they would recognize it as a subtle reminder to send one to me, too. If not a gift, at least a card. After all, I gave them life!
Well. Christmas came and went and nothing from my youngest. New Years was celebrated and nada from him. By mid-January, bitterness and hurt was taking root and I knew I’d have to talk to him.
The awkward conversation.
When he called, I told him,“I’m kinda down. Someone hurt my feelings.”
“Awww, that stinks, Mom. What happened?”
“You didn’t send me a Christmas card.”
Immediately, he said, “Oh, mom, I’m so sorry. It just got away from me. Do you want me to still send you one?”
Without any hesitation, I said, “Yes. Yes I do.”
The next week, I got a lovely non-Christmas card. Since it was mid-January, he had no choice but to improvise. The card had butterflies and blossoms on the front and a beautiful sentiment inside.
Mom, sorry I didn’t get this to you sooner. I love you so much and am very glad I’m your son. You’re the best mom in the world! Love you lots, Eli
One quick awkward conversation cut down a bitter root 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. Don’t post the offense on Facebook or send an angry text. Call or sit down with them and have the conversation so peace can prevail. Explain what happened to upset you 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.
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.