Friday, January 31, 2014

The problem not the person…

In getting peace in a relational conflict you need to attack the problem not the person.  This is tricky, but it can be learned. 

On the one hand you've got to attack the problem in your relationship honestly whether it's a friendship, partnership, marriage or whatever.  You've got to deal with it, not beat around the bush, you've got to call a spade a spade, say this is wrong, this is not right, there's something wrong in our relationship.  You face the truth about your relationship.  Be straightforward about it, candid, blunt – on the one hand, attack the problem. 

On the other hand, you need to attack the problem without attacking the person.  So you need to speak the truth compassionately. 

Proverbs 10:10 (LB), "Bold reproof leads to peace."  Facing the facts is how you have peace in a relationship. 
Ephesians 4:25 (LB), “When we lie to each other, we're only hurting ourselves” and you're only hurting your relationship.  But "By speaking the truth in the spirit of love we grow up in every way in Christ."  Ephesians 4:15 (TEV)

What are you pretending is not a problem in your relationship?  What are you pretending not to know?  Anytime I talk with a couple and they've had conflict and there's no peace in their relationship it tells me one thing:  somebody's hiding something.  It is the truth that sets you free.  When you're honest about "This is not meeting my needs, this is not working out, this is causing great friction among us" then the truth sets you free.  You've got to be honest.

But do it in a spirit of love.  You say it in a way that you value the relationship.  You're never persuasive when you're abrasive.  You don't get your point across by being cross.  You've got to stop fixing the blame in order to start fixing the problem.  There is no place in peacemaking for sarcasm and labeling and nagging and judging.  You know by experience that those things don't change anybody anyway.  They don't work.  Speak the truth in the spirit of love.

Just a thought from the front porch…

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