Browsing Tag

forgiveness

Healing, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships, Spiritual Formation

Your Greatest Enemy In Conflict

July 1, 2014

Remember who the real enemy is.”

It’s one of the most haunting lines from the second Hunger Games movie. Probably because the truth in that line hits us so profoundly. It bothers us how quickly and completely we can forget and allow our perception to become skewed the minute conflict strikes.

remember who the enemy is

Relationship Problems…

Your spouse does something inconsiderate, but it’s not the first time. You’re hurt but you don’t want to say, “That hurt my feelings.” Instead, you speak harshly, emotionally withdraw, or both. The conflict escalates until the peacemaker in the relationship offers a repair attempt and then you’re back to normal.

Like wheels that fall into ruts on a well-worn dirt path, your relationship probably has ruts that you naturally slide into when a conflict rises.

The other day, Bonnie and I had a small “disruption,” and I chose the emotional withdrawal approach. As soon as we get into bed, I turn my back to her and offer a disingenuous “good night.” I then start to think about all the comforting reasons why truth was on my side.

Bonnie then puts her hand on my shoulder, pulls me over to face her, and starts to kiss my arm without saying a word. In this instance, I was the one who should have made a repair attempt, not her. I was the one who overreacted, she didn’t even have anything to apologize for. It didn’t matter, she wasn’t going to allow pride to get in the way of love.

Our greatest enemy in conflict isn’t the other person, it’s our own pride. That is a wall that we must be ruthless to recognize and to tear down.

Pride insidiously masquerades as truth.

Pride, not truth, is what escalates and perpetuates conflicts.

God’s love however, is not self-seeking and it doesn’t insist on it’s own way.

It doesn’t wait for the offending party to make everything right before it’s offered again.

The problem is that we seldom recognize our own pride.

Are You Struggling With Pride?

Here’s a quick litmus test:

  • Are you quick to repent?
  • Do you forgive those who sin against you?
  • Do those who know you best occasionally confront you with your sin and in response, you acknowledge it, repent, and strive to strengthen the relationship?
  • Are most of your relationships healthy or, when you look behind you, are there a lot of broken relationships left in your wake?

If you’re slow to repent, struggle to forgive people, and live with a lot of broken relationships, truth is not on your side. Jesus elevates reconciliation higher than worship (Matthew 5) and Paul reminds us that, “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”

In the wisdom literature (Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes), one of the clearest distinguishing factors between wisdom and foolishness is how we respond to correction.

pride

If our posture isn’t humble and we don’t practice regular repentance, there’s a good chance that our view of God is just a glorified version of ourselves.

Tear down your pride before your pride tears down another relationship!

That night, Bonnie loved me by first setting aside her pride. I didn’t say it at the time, but it made me want to love her the same way the next time we’re in a conflict. It’s a thousand reasons like this that the apostle Paul writes that such love, “does not fail.”

love never fails

Don't miss an article! Get them sent right to your email.

Comments
Featured Posts, Healing, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships, Spiritual Formation

Your Past is Your Most Common and Hidden Adversary

May 25, 2014

past pain

“Behold, I am making all things new!” —Jesus

 “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” —Mark Twain

 

Two opposing viewpoints, right? So, which one will it be?
You’ve got several options when it comes to the brokenness in your family tree.

You can excuse it, “She did the best she could under the circumstances.”
You can ignore it, “Nothing good comes from digging up the past.”
You can resist it, “I’ll never be like them!”
Or, you can courageously face it and choose to forgive, “God, help me see my family and past as You see it and allow your grace to heal and transform it.”

Brandon and Michaela had each heard hundreds of sermons. But when they got married four years ago, there were deep, entrenched parts of their souls that were untouched by the power and grace of Jesus. Somehow, two biblical truths had managed to evade them:

  • The blessings and sins of our families going back a couple generations profoundly impact us today.
  • Discipleship requires putting off the sinful patterns of our family of origin and relearning how to do life God’s way.

The real idea behind generational curses in the Old Testament is more of an observation than a spiritual law: sin naturally spreads until there is a deliberate break. I give what I’ve received and I withhold what was withheld from me. The break happens when I say, “I see this now for what it really is and I don’t want to be a part of it. I don’t want it to be a part of me and I certainly don’t want to inadvertently pass it on to my kids. So, I need to name it, forgive it, and then step fully into a new beginning through the grace of God.”

Breaking generational patterns requires 3 deliberate steps: Continue Reading…

Don't miss an article! Get them sent right to your email.

Comments
Healing, Spiritual Formation

There’s Really Only One Thing That Matters

March 29, 2014

the most important thing

“The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationships we maintain. This is all God asks us to give our attention to and it is the one thing that is continually under attack.” –Oswald Chambers

The one thing that matters more than anything else today is the quality of your relationships.

It’s easy to segment our relationship with God from our relationships with people, especially those we struggle with the most, but a quick survey of the New Testament confirms it, “We can’t love God and yet withhold love from people.” (1 John 4:7-21)

Consider this surprising connection Jesus makes between faith and forgiveness: Continue Reading…

Don't miss an article! Get them sent right to your email.

Comments
Featured Posts, Healing

Two Things About Anger That Might Surprise You

March 18, 2014

crazy housewife

1) Anger is a masking emotion

Anger covers up primary emotions, like shame, fear, or insecurity. When we can’t deal with the deeper feeling that a circumstance triggers, anger becomes our way to self-sooth and self-protect.

When anger starts to rise up, ask yourself, “What’s the emotion behind the anger?”

Then you can start to address the root cause of the struggle. Continue Reading…

Don't miss an article! Get them sent right to your email.

Comments