“He has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
We have all experienced broken relationships. In a small town, we try to keep everyone happy so that we do not hurt friends and family. However, because we are human, we will naturally break relationships. We will say something, insinuate something, use a certain tone, or do something. Something will happen where we will hurt someone else. It is inevitable. In those times, we need to have the humility to own our actions and ask forgiveness, even when we did not mean to do harm.
Sometimes, we are not the one who hurt, but the one who was hurt. Someone did something, said something, insinuated something, or used a certain tone. And, we were hurt.
In those moments, we have three choices. We could build an emotional wall between ourselves and the offender. We keep the offender away, we protect ourselves from future hurt, and we plant bitterness in our heart. This is the easy action. But when we do this, we do not allow our emotional wounds to heal. We hurt ourselves even more than the person who hurt us.
Choice two is the better choice: we seek reconciliation. The first step to reconciliation is understanding each other. We are honest about our feelings and the thoughts behind those feelings. Then, we approach the offender and share those feelings and thoughts in a non-judgmental, level-headed way. After speaking, we allow the offender to share their side. The goal is mutual understanding, not venting.
The second step to reconciliation is to prevent further hurts. No one is perfect. In reconciliation both parties admit their flaws and work toward maturity, changing based upon the insights of the other. This requires humility. But, as we conflict well, we grow into better people.
Sometimes, these two steps are too hard to be taken alone. In difficult conversations, a mature third party, like a friend or a pastor, can be invited into the discussion to work as an unbiased mediator.
The third choice we could take is legal action. Sometimes someone has hurt us and crossed into abuse. This is the hardest step to take but must be done. Abuse is a crime and should be prosecuted. Reach out to someone trusted to walk with you through the process and seek spiritual counseling to heal from hurts inflicted on you.
Pastor of Calvary Bible Church, Neligh, NE. Missionary with RHMA. Husband to Maggie. Father to Grace, David, and Daniel. Saved by Jesus Christ