You know the situation—little things that don’t seem to matter get over looked. You say “I can live with that.” Then, all of a sudden it seems, they reach a critical point and …you blow, giving someone “a piece of your mind”. An important relationship struggles to stay off the rocks.
Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:15, “speaking the truth in love,” are often used as a justification to say what we want. It’s so much easier than biting our tongue and pursing the things that nurture healthy, trusting relationships.
What can we do to keep this from happening?
How can we make the relationship better, not worse?
Here are a few things that will help move us forward in our key relationships:
First, keep in regular communication. Talk with each other about what is important, what each of you need. Ask, “Is it me, you, or both of us who creates the problem? How can we solve it together?”
Second, choose to respect each other. Remember, you were both created in the image of God. True love works to respect the other person no matter the differences. It seeks to build up and restore, not tear down and destroy.
Third, don’t tear down the other. Many times, in our desire to look like more, we choose to make the other person seem less. This is self-pursuit rather than Godly pursuit and an ambition for others.
Fourth, remember the other person is created in the image of God but is damaged by sin. It would not make sense to expect someone who has lost a leg to run as a two-legged sprinter. But, we often expect those close to us to act complete even though they are spiritually and emotionally damaged. It is grace, originating with God and flowing through us that restores the image of God in our lives and makes our relationships fulfilling and fruitful.
Fifth and finally, ask for God’s perspective of the other person. Ask God what he created them to be and what you are to be together. Confrontation should always happen within the context of a positive, loving, encouraging relationship and be for the purpose of working for what God wants. Without that, it’s more about policing someone for your own benefit.
Make sure your confrontation is out of a deep desire for this person’s Best, and not out of frustration that you are not getting what you want. That’s called manipulation.