God said to my heart, “You have the gift of reconciliation.”
When that was spoken, I didn’t understand it. I knew that Jesus died to reconcile us to God, but what did that have to do with me?
I’ve always been the kind of person who is distracted to the point of immobility when there is an unreconciled conflict.
I remember being at an event with one of my former bosses. We got a call from human resources on our cell phones to call immediately — the tone was “you are in trouble.” My boss said, “We can’t call now since we are working the conference booth. We will call at lunch.” It didn’t bother him in the least.
But it bothered me a lot.
When I finally was able to call HR and settle the misunderstanding, my boss said, “You couldn’t let it go, could you?” I said, “No, I wanted to make sure everything was right.” I couldn’t rest until it was cleared up. (That isn’t necessarily a good thing, but that’s another post.)
I was thankful the misunderstanding was reconciled.
In another situation, a colleague was very upset with me. I was chewed out in front of everyone there. I wanted to defend myself, but instead, I said, “I’m here to serve you — what can I do to make this a good experience for you?” Once we were back in the office, I asked if we could talk through what happened, and this man said no.
I had to leave that misunderstanding and others unreconciled.
Maybe you’ve experienced something like this:
- Falsely accused by friends and foes alike.
- Talked about behind your back by friends (and they think you don’t know).
- Had friends struggle with something and place blame on you for how they are feeling.
- Friends who stopped returning Facebook messages, texts or calls.
- Had some folks say there isn’t anything wrong, but they stop making an effort to spend time together.
- Folks post criticizing things on your Facebook wall, but they won’t respond to your request to talk about it on the phone or in person.
Here are some ways the enemy uses us against each other:
1. He uses fear of not having reconciliation to keep you in his grip.
This is what I mentioned at the beginning of this article. I still want the opportunity to hear someone out and apologize if necessary. But if taken to an extreme, fear of man means you care more about what man thinks than what God thinks. That makes anxiety levels rise because you care more about resolving the conflict than asking God what He thinks of it. You start obsessing about resolving it, and it takes you right out of a state of peace.
On the other hand, sometimes conflict is good. It brings out something that hasn’t been seen so it can be reconciled — either in you or in relationships. So you need to find the balance between trying to reconcile and not letting it control you.
2. He wants to discourage you from reaching out.
If we reach out and reconcile ourselves to one another, then the enemy loses ground. He wants to keep us judging each other, because it is there that we are more vulnerable to his ideas. They sound like this:
- That person isn’t healthy, and you don’t want them around you.
- That person always has drama in their life, and you don’t need that.
- That person just bugs you, and that is discernment.
- That person has been in that situation for a long time, so it must be something God is dealing with in them.
What are we really saying when we gossip, slander, don’t return calls and leave conflict unresolved? We are saying, “You aren’t worth it.”
We say we are setting boundaries when, really, we are building walls.
When there is conflict or misunderstanding, ask God these questions before doing anything else:
- Did I do something I need to apologize for?
- If God says “yes”: What did I do, and what do I need to do to make it right? If God says “no”: Do I need to do anything, and if so, what?
- God, how do you see this person? What are they afraid of that is making them act this way?
- God, what do you want to say to me about this situation?
- God, what is the enemy trying to do here?
- God, how should I respond to what you’ve shown me today?
Once I’ve stepped out in a greater measure of faith in this area, I experience more conflict! We must not be surprised when it escalates. The enemy knows what has stopped or distracted you in the past. So you must be diligent to overcome without delay.
We are to love each other because every person was worth it to Jesus.
I encourage you to reach out by a phone call or in-person meeting when you know someone has something against you or you have something against them. Maybe it’s not a conflict yet, but a hard discussion you need to have. Be the first and proactive daughter/son of God. Don’t break a commitment, have your say, blame or challenge someone through email. Or text. Or through Facebook. When you leave a note in that way, they are left hanging until it can be resolved.
That doesn’t honor the other person; that doesn’t say, “You ARE worth my time.”
Next week, I’ll share 10 tips to reconcile well, so be sure to visit here again. I promise you … this is a key to having healthy and lasting relationships.