Browsing Tag


Healing Presence, Healthy Relationships, Marriage, Parenting, 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.


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.

Healing Presence, Healthy Relationships, Spiritual Formation

Have You Ever Felt Like it Was All Unraveling?

June 1, 2014


Sin complicates things. It sets things in motion.

Whether you have become bound by your own, or another’s sinfulness against you, the fact is, —here you are.

Bitterness. Anger. Pain. Despair.

Often, our lives end up in a twisted maze that we can’t make much sense of and we find ourselves in corners or dead ends, from which we see no way out. God must show up.

The Good News is —He does.

He pursues us tirelessly, with His limitless love. His healing love.

He promises to make the crooked paths straight, and to turn the most desperate, hidden and barren places in our lives into beautiful, fruitful fields.

The only requirement is our willingness to give Him the fragments of our lives and allow Him to begin to do His work.

“In Him, our will, intellect, imagination, feeling, and sensory being are hallowed and enlivened. We begin to fully live, to participate in the eternal, the immutable, the indestructible.”  —The Healing Presence, LeAnne Payne

Continue Reading…

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

Featured Posts, Healing Presence

Self Obsessed People Can’t Do This

February 20, 2014

unlocking handcuffs

Imagine you’re meeting a friend for coffee and she says, “My self-esteem has never been lower. My career is going backwards, I’m not happy about how I look, and the more I think about myself, the more depressed I get.” How would you respond?

Our natural tendency would be to try “inflate” her deflated self-esteem. After some positive affirmations, you might even say, “Forget what other people think. It’s about what you think that counts.”

She’s put herself on trial and you try to come to her defense. “You’ve got a great case for high self-esteem. Here’s why…” Or, you try to move her to the judge’s seat. “Just judge yourself.”

Now, contrast that with this perspective:

I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court. I don’t even judge myself. I don’t feel I have done anything wrong. But that doesn’t mean I’m not guilty. The Lord judges me. -1 Corinthians 4:3-4

He’s saying that you don’t belong on trial or in the judge’s seat. How great would it be to get to such a place!?

“My mind isn’t occupied with how people judge me. My mind isn’t even occupied with how I judge myself. I’m not avoiding something, my conscience is clear. It’s just not about me. God is my judge and he set me free!”

Here’s a sure sign that you’re growing in grace:

You’re not easily offended.

You don’t take yourself too seriously.

Everything doesn’t come back to you.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re around a truly humble person you don’t think, “Wow, he’s humble!” What you notice is that he’s genuinely interested in you. He’s not self-deprecating, he’s self-effacing. It’s not that he plays small or thinks less of himself, he simply thinks of himself less. He’s free to be truly present with you.

There’s a scripture that’s always fascinated me about this posture of humility. 

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” -Romans 12:15

Humility is the prerequisite for this posture with people. A self-obsessed person can’t do this- when you rejoice, he compares what he has and measures himself against your accomplishment. When you mourn, he thinks, “Woo, glad I’m not in his shoes!”

Paul reached a point in life where he was free from the approval and condemnation of people, which allowed him to truly serve and lead them.

The problem with self-esteem is that everyday you’re in court. You have the prosecution and the defense. You may be prideful one day, depressed the next. Just depends on how the jury is trending at the moment.

Paul’s secret is that he knew the trial was over. He was out of the courtroom and able to serve Jesus and be fully present to people.

How about you?



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

Healing Presence

A Silent Killer

February 12, 2014


Some good friends of ours have 5 kids and the whole family has been sick for weeks. They share the same symptoms and assume the problem must be their air or water quality. But no one can locate the exact source of the problem.

Bitterness can infect like this–silently contaminating every relationship we have while remaining largely undetected.

Take a minute to make sure bitterness has no root in your heart…

Hebrews 12:15 offers an intriguing word picture for the toxic effects of bitterness:

“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

Here’s the connection between bitterness in our hearts and the “defiling of many:”

Let’s use the story of Jacob and Esau as a case study. Genesis 27:41 says, “Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him.” Jacob stole a blessing from Esau that was very important to him and his future was greatly shaped by the loss. The theft basically changed the very trajectory of his life.

When we miss out on a blessing there are two great temptations we face:

-How we try to fill the void and compensate for what’s lacking in our lives.

-The bitterness that takes root in our souls.

Esau learned a valuable lesson as a boy—people aren’t trustworthy. If your mom and brother aren’t trustworthy, people aren’t trustworthy. I picture him making an inner vow: “That will never happen to me again!” He probably saw a little of Jacob in everyone. Can you imagine his response when someone accidentally slighted him? Or how difficult it would be to risk vulnerability and trust people in intimate relationships? There were probably all sorts of triggers that led him to react in ways far disproportionate to what a circumstance would warrant. Why? Because he wasn’t reacting to the specific circumstances. He was reacting to his history and out of a heart full of bitterness.

Bitter roots that aren’t pulled up grow large and defile future relationships. We eventually look to other people to repay debts that they don’t even owe us and could never repay. The reason we’re taught to not “let the Sun go down on our anger” (Ephesians 4:26) is because eventually we lose sight of its source and allow it to warp us. Our anger is spilling out, and we’re not even sure why anymore.

I imagine the writer of Hebrews counseling Esau, “Be careful that you don’t allow Jacob’s sin to hijack your life. Mourn the loss but don’t fall short of God’s grace and sin in response to his sin. God can heal the effects of his sin against you. He knows your needs. He will meet them according to His riches in glory. (Philippians 4:19) So, guard your heart against bitterness, because if you sit too long in unforgiveness, it’s going to reap trouble and defile many.”

What signature wounds continue to shape your life?

What has been stolen or where are there significant voids?

What inner vows have you made in response to them?

In the next post, “Funny You Should Mention That,” I’ll describe the way to uproot bitterness.

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