Relationships take work! In dealing with people, we are sometimes hurt by their flaws or sins. We are then left with the choice of how to respond. It can be really complicated at times!
“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”(Prov 15:28)
Thoughtful believers want to walk in Christlikeness, however tempted to attack or withdraw. God calls us to relationship and fellowship, knowing that we will rub against one another from time to time. We might be called on to extend mercy and overlook a wrong, or it may be time to speak the truth in love.
“Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Prov 27:17)
How to know what is appropriate in your given situation?
Jesus taught us that when we see a problem in another, to “take the log out of our own eye first”. This involves dealing with our offended heart, so that we can minister to our brother out of purity. It may also involve getting past our fear of what may happen if we say anything.
I recently asked Diana Gonzalez, a fantastic Lifeforming Coach Trainer, her thoughts about what is appropriate when hurt by others. She gave these clarifying reasons:
Reasons to back off of others whose actions/words are hurting me:
* When they are “weaker vessels” than me, meaning God is asking me to take the pain in order for His work to get done in their lives, so I must exercise mercy and forbearance
* When I am so mad that I will lash out if I speak up, so I have to get some distance and Holy Spirit help first
* When my motives are not pure – it’s more about me than them
Reasons to let people know how their actions affect me:
* So that I don’t write them off in my heart as jerks who don’t deserve vulnerability from me
* So that they grow in maturity by having someone hold up a mirror to their actions in order to not do the same thing to others in their lives and learn new relational skills
* When I sense it’s God’s timing to confront them and move past this kind of behavior
* When I feel like I am the “weaker vessel” and God is not calling me to be a martyr, but to say “ouch” when it hurts because I am in a season of pain and He is not asking me to take more than I can bear, so they will be in trouble with God if they don’t back off
When it is time to speak up, think about what would be God’s best possible outcome. Consider what you can do to give your brother the best chance to respond well.
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” (Rom 12:18)
May the Lord grant you increased wisdom, favor, and grace in all your relationships!