Relationships and Community

It would appear that a number of Christians have no idea that the Church – the fellowship of believers – is about relationships. A number of current examples come to mind. 

Just the other day a young man who has travelled with me overseas and worked with me in my own country wrote a text asking me how I have been. Fair question I suppose until you realize that the last contact was made February, 2018 – almost four years ago. I have been in his area numerous times since then but no effort was made to meet with me or attend events I was ministering at. But, all of a sudden he is writing asking me how I am doing. Does he really care? I suspect not.

I have worked for a leader of a church for over a decade and known him much longer than that.  Twice – count them: one, two – he has asked me how I am doing personally. Just twice in over a decade. Should I mention I live in his home when in his area and that he has travel overseas with me. I know a lot about him; he knows next to nothing about me. A relationship? I think not.

I text the members of my house church every morning except the day we meet. Usually one or more of the members get back to me about what I noted in my text. You know, something the Lord is showing me, the work overseas, new contacts, prayer requests. However, there is someone who seldom and almost never has responded to the texts. And the texts have been going out almost daily since Covid began. Connected into the faith community. Nope! Afraid not. 

Then there are the others who I relate to…

I speak to a businessman every Sunday morning. He lives in Kazakhstan. We are connected.

I connect with a young man in northern New York State regularly throughout the week. We are connected, relate, share, and care.

I relate to a young man in the state of Maryland on a regular FaceTime call. We are connected and in a friendship.

I talk to leaders around the nation where I live (Canada) and in other nations like Kazakhstan, Armenia, Russia, Turkey on a semi-regular basis. We are connected.

I coffee with one of my daughters almost weekly. We are connected and in a relationship.

I spend time every week with another daughter and her husband. They drop over once or twice every week. We are connected. They express their love for us by wanting to relate and be a part of our lives. Connected, relationships and community.

The observation:

I think that part of the problem is that we have an “individualized” concert of the Christian faith. We see it as a personal relationship between me and God and don’t think of the corporate aspect of the faith as seen very quickly when reading the book of Acts and the epistles to the various New Testament churches. They met together. They fellowshipped daily. They worshipped together. They understood the Christian faith had a “one another” concept as there are 59 “on another” verses in the New Testament. 

In my past life as a priest, the denomination I belonged to had a sense of belonging and corporateness. Or, at least that was within their written “book to work by” called the Book of Common Prayer. There was a corporate time in the service for the confession of sin (as a body, a local church – like Israel in the Old Testament as a nation). There was a sense of praying together repeating with each other the same prayers. There was a corporateness to the teaching and the understanding of Church. That is often missing in the Pentecostal, evangelical, and Spirit-filled churches today. Maybe it is a carry over from the pioneer days when rugged individualism seemed to reign. Maybe not. Whatever the cause it is a missing ingredient in the life of the church. And, as a result between those who belong to a local assembly an even those we would call co-labourers and friends. 

I believe it is time to embrace true relationships within the Church. To regain a sense of belonging. A sense of connectedness. A sense of “we” in place of “me.” Dare I say, a sense of ownership and being engaged in the church – which is, after all, simply the people of God gathered. Surely we of all people should be open to becoming ‘a people’ and actually relating to each other at a significant level both during the week and on Sunday. 

Christian Fellowship and Community

So we talk a lot, as believers and followers of Jesus, about fellowship. Apparently it was a vital part of the early church and a main focus in the book of Acts and the ministry of the two chief apostles – Paul and Peter. Acts 2:42 states that the early church gathered daily for fellowship.

However, often we have not taken the time to think through what fellowship really is. What is it that makes gathering a few people together over coffee true Christian fellowship? 

1 John 1:7 states: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Christian fellowship has a number of aspects to it. In a brief study of fellowship in the New Testament it seems that Christians are to fellowship with one another in the following ways:

    • “Have peace with one another” (Mark 9:50) In this way we will be the salt of the earth.
    • “Be kindly affectionate to one another” (Romans 12:10) We are to love one another as members of one family.
    • “Giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:10). We are to prefer others in specific acts of service.
    • “Be of the same mind towards one another” (Romans 12:16). We are to be unified in values and goals. (See: Romans 15:5)
    • “Receive one another” (Romans 15:7). Fully accept one another.
    • “Admonish one another” (Romans 15:14). Caution one another, reminding each other of the dangers that might lie ahead.
    • “Greet one another” (Romans 16:16). Embrace one another in a full-hearted welcome. (See: 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14).
    • “Wait for one another” (1 Corinthians 11:33). We aren’t to selfishly move ahead of one another.
    • “Have the same care for one another” (1 Corinthians 12:25) Treat every member with the same concern and affection.
    • “Serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). We are now free to dedicate ourselves to one another, being a blessing, serving in practical ways. (See: 1 Peter 4:10).

Koinonia may also have reference to the collection and distribution of gifts (Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 8:4; 9:13; Hebrews 13:16). 

    • “Bearing with one another” (Ephesians 4:2). We are to bear with one another’s weaknesses,. Standing strong in our devotion to one another no matter how offended we might get. (See: Colossians 3:13)
    • “Be kind to one another” (Ephesians 4:32). Be gracious and easy going with one another.
    • “Tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (Ephesians 4:32). We Must be filled with compassion for one another, graciously forgiving one another from our hearts. (See: Colossians 3:13).
    • “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19). Bring the presence of the Lord into the center of our fellowship.
    • “Submitting to one another” (Ephesians 5:21). Respect one another and respond to one another with a word of encouragement in times of crisis and discouragement. (See: 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13; 10:25).
    • “Edify one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Always build each other up and not tear down; be a blessing and not a curse.
    • “Consider one another in order to stir up love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). Positively provoke one another to press forward in the will of God.
    • “Confess your sins to one another” (James 5:16). Be open and honest with one another.
    • “Pray for one another” (James 5:16). Stand in the gap for one another in the presence of the Lord.
    • “Having compassion for one another” (1 Peter 3:8). Be sympathetic for one another, identifying with each other at the point of need.
    • “Be hospitable to one another” (1 Peter 4:9). Have a sincere desire to host one another in our homes. 

These are summed up in 1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”

Something I have been thinking about….

Building Healthy Relationships – Part Three

We are talking about your ability to build healthy, long-term relationships. Last time we saw that we need to:

1> Care about people every day

2> Make yourself more valuable in your relationships

3> Put yourself in their world

4> Focus your relationships on benefiting others, not yourself

5> Be a consistent friend in your relationships

A> Believe the best about people

B> Don’t allow other people’s behaviour to control you 

C> Place high value on relationships, even in difficult situations

D> Unconditionally love people

Moving on…

6> Create great memories for people. 

It has been my experience and observation that most people do not maximize the experiences they have in life. To do so, two things are essential: intentionally on the front end of the experience and reflection on the back end. So, anytime you can help people to do those things, the experience becomes special for them, and it often creates a positive memory for them.

Most of us have traditions and memories associated with special days, but I want to challenge you to make memories out of everyday experiences. Every time you are with people, ask yourself these questions:

      • What can I say that will affirm those with me?
      • What questions can I ask that they will find interesting to discuss?
      • What can we do that will be different and fun?
      • What do I know that they would want to know?
      • Do I have a secret of my own that I can tell them?

All of these can lead to great memories. Many little things done repeatedly with high intention are better than big things done only occasionally. You can make big or small moments special for others, but you have to be intentional about it.

7> Move toward the relationships you desire in your life

Put yourself in a position to meet and spend time with the right people. I always want to spend time with people who know more than I do, and whenever I’m with someone I respect and have gotten to know, I ask them, “What do you know that I should know?” That question has given me a greater return in life than any other. The greatest way to know whom you should know is to ask someone who knows you. 

I want to encourage you to be intentional and show initiative by moving toward the relationships you desire in life. If you wait for the right people to meet you, you won’t meet the right people.

Whom do you know who knows someone you should know? You may be only one person away from the next big things that you need in your life. You may be thinking, I’n not a people person. If that’s true, ask people with strong relational skills to help you. Let them complement and complete you. You can draw people to you by saying to them, “I need you.” 

The more you value people, put yourself into their world, seek to add value to them, and be their friend, the better your life will be. Not only that, but doing these things will increase your people capacity, improve your potential, and improve your life. Just remember, helping people is always worth the effort. 

Building Healthy Relationships – Part Two

We are talking about your ability to build healthy, long-term relationships. Last time we saw that we need to:

1> Care about people every day

2> Make yourself more valuable in your relationships

3> Put yourself in their world

4> Focus your relationships on benefiting others, not yourself

Let’s move on from there…

5> Be a consistent friend in your relationships

I believe the ability to be a good friend is something that is often undervalued and overlooked today. Good relationships are built on consistency. Relationships that are volatile and continually up and down are not easy. They provide no relational “rest.” There is nothing pleasant about being in relationships that are continually high-maintenance. You can’t be good friends with people when someone has to walk on eggshells or when any conversation could be misinterpreted and lead to the end of the relationship.

We must be dependable and consistent. We must be trustworthy. Our friends must know that they can depend on us. How? These tips have helped many over the years:

A> Believe the best about people. Try to see people as they could be, not necessarily as they are. When you believe the best of people, you don’t feel the need to correct them or try to fix them. Believing the best of others is always the right thing to do, even if it means you may not always be right. People are more apt to change when another person believes in them than when people don’t believe in them.

B> Don’t allow other people’s behaviour to control you. Too often people allow the actions of others to impact their own attitudes and emotions. They let others’ inconsistency make them inconsistent. But you need to understand that when that happens, you’ve allowed it. As humans we have the capacity to create and control our own attitudes and emotions. We need to make that choice for ourselves every day. Otherwise, people will control us.

C> Place high value on relationships, even in difficult situations. Dealing with people is sometimes difficult. But even in the midst of difficulties we should make sure to do the right thing for the person and for ourselves relationally. At times you may simply need to end the relationship and walk away. Do so graciously and always leave the door open for the other person to reenter the relationship should they eventually choose to do so. 

D> Unconditionally love people. Unconditional love is the greatest gift we can give another person. It allows someone to feel secure, be vulnerable, sense their worth, and discover who they really are. I believe that all people long to have a consistent friend who loves them, believes in them, and is continually there for them no matter the circumstances. If you are willing to be that kind of person for others, not only will it expand your people capacity, it will  also give you a more satisfying life.

You may be thinking, I can’t do this with everyone, because some people are just difficult. That’s true — for all of us. In the end, our goal should be to treat others better than they treat us, to add value to them in a greater capacity than maybe they expect.

More next time…

Building Healthy Relationships – Part One

I realized many years ago that we are defined by our relationships. You can actually trace your successes and failures to the relationships in your life. 

Maybe up until now your relationships have not been as positive, rewarding, and productive as you’d like them to be. That’s okay, because you can learn how to build better relationships and increase your relational potential. You can actually cultivate healthy, stronger, long-term relationships that enable and encourage you to move forward in your life and career.

Here are some suggestions that you can apply to your life to move you forward towards healthier and mutually beneficial relationships…

1> Care about people every day

You cannot increase your people capacity unless you value people and care about them. If you don’t like people, don’t respect them, and don’t believe they have value, it stands as a barrier to building healthy relationships with others. You cannot secretly look down on others and build them up at the same time. However, if you truly care about people, it shows. And it makes the development of positive and healthy relationships possible.

2> Make yourself more valuable in your relationships

What’s the fastest way to make a relationship better? Make yourself better so that you have more to give within the relationships you are developing. That requires an abundance mind-set. That’s the belief that there’s more than enough for everyone and people always have the potential to find or create more.

Try improving yourself and your situation with the purpose of giving to others and see what happens. As you give, I guarantee that your ability to give more will increase. It will motivate you to give more of your thoughts, time, assets, relationships, influence, and giftedness.

I ask a lot of questions to discover how I can better add value to others. There is no better way to show people you value them than by asking for their opinion. Communicating is about adding value to people, not adding value to yourself. The more you know about people and the more you improve yourself, the more you can make a difference in the lives of others. You can give more value to others, and that increases your relational capacity. 

3> Put yourself in their world

Are you familiar with the saying, “It’s lonely at the top”? I don’t like it. It is a sign of disconnection. If you are a leader and you have been taught not to be friends with those who follow then it will be lonely at the top because it means no one is following you. In seminary I was taught that as the pastor I needed to not make friends within the congregation and that I must remain ‘somewhat separate’ so as to be better able to counsel and direct people. That simply is not good advice. Leaders and others who have self-isolated from others need to get off their mountain or out of their ivory tower, go to where people are, and spend time with them. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Make yourself available to the people in your life. And be alert to ways you can go to them when they need it. Sometimes you don’t even need to say a word. Just be there. Just let others know what they mean to you.

4> Focus your relationships on benefiting others, not yourself.

To build great relationships, you need to want more for people than you want from people. The people who want more for others and give more than they take in a relationship are pluses. The ones who want and take more than they give are minuses. That’s simple relational math. You need to determine that you want to be a plus with people. You should decide to make five relational deposits for every relational withdrawal you make from a relationship. That’s a great goal and will mean that you are building healthy, long-term relationships. 

You should never take any relationship for granted. You never want to assume that a relationship gives you privileges that are not yours. Assumption is a killer in relationships. It needs to be replaced by awareness. If you want to increase your relational capacity, you must be continually aware that relationships never stay the same. They never stay alive on their own. They need attention and need to be cultivated. And you have to keep being intentional about adding value to continue being a plus in another person’s life.  

More next time….

Growing Through Criticism – Part Four

Continuing to look at how we are to handle criticism …

9> Surround yourself with positive people.

When you have optional time, spend it with people who will build you up. Enough quality time with positive people will minimize the effect of negative criticism in your life. It will also discourage you from being critical. When a hawk is attacked by crows, he does not counterattack. Instead, he soars higher and higher in ever widening circles until the pests leave him alone. Circle above your adversaries rather than battle with them. If your positive attitude has any effect on negative people, it will be because of your example, not your defensiveness. So rise above them. It really is hard to soar like an eagle if you identify with the turkeys!

10> Concentrate on your task or mission — change your mistakes.

Most people do exactly the opposite — they change their mission and concentrate on their mistakes. If you run from your task each time you make a mistake, you will never accomplish anything. You will always be in a state of frustration and defeat. The only real mistakes in life are the mistakes from which we learn nothing. So instead of dwelling on them, count on making them, learning from them, and moving on to finish the job. There’s an Arabian proverb they says if you stop every time a dog barks, your road will never end. Don’t let your mistakes become roadblocks; make them building blocks.

In order to build strong relationships you need to know how to take criticism graceful, but there are also times when you will have to be the critic. It is possible to confront without ruining a relationship, but use caution, because careless confrontation can be devastating. Before you confront and be critical, check yourself in the following areas.

TEN TIPS FOR GIVING CRITICISM

1> Check your motive.

The goal of confrontation should be to help, not to humiliate. Three key questions will help you expose your true motives. So ask yourself:

A> Would I criticize this is it were not a personal matter? Sometime we react differently when we are emotionally or personally involved. 

B> Will criticism make me look better? Cutting someone down to boost yourself up is the lowest form of ego gratification. It’s the sign of a very insecure person. Remember that it isn’t necessary to blow out another person’s light to let your own shine.

C> Does this criticism bring pain our pleasure to me? When it is painful for you to criticize others, you are probably safe in doing it. If you get the slightest bit of pleasure out of doing it, you should hold your tongue. 

2> Make sure the issue is worthy of criticism.

To whom does it really matter? Sometimes our pride causes us to engage in skirmishes that need never happen. Continual, petty criticism is the mark of a small mind; you have to be little to belittle. The secret to not letting yourself be distracted and needled by insignificant issues is to keep your head up and your eyes on the goal.

3> Be specific. 

When you confront you must be tactfully explicit. Say exactly what you mean and provide examples to back yourself up. If you can’t be specific, don’t confront. People can usually tell when you are skirting an issue and will not respect you for it.

4> Don’t undermine the person’s self-confidence.

Try to find at least one area in which you can praise the person before you expose the problem. Stay away from all-inclusive statements like, “You always…” or “You never…” Assure them that you have confidence in them and their ability to handle the situation correctly.

5> Don’t compare one person with another.

Deal with people on an individual basis. Comparisons always cause resentment and resentment causes hostility. There’s no need to create a bigger problem than the one you already have, so why arouse heated emotions? If you stick to the facts, you’ll be less likely to put the person on the defensive. 

Growing Through Criticism – Part Three

We are looking at “tips for taking criticism” and we have seen:

1> Understand the difference between constructive and destructive criticism

2> Don’t take yourself too seriously

3> Look beyond the criticism and see the critic

4> Watch your own attitude toward the critic

5> Realize that good people get criticized.

Jesus, those motives were pure and character was spotless was called a glutton (Matthew 11:19); a winebibber – drunk (Luke 7:34); a Samaritan (John 8:48); a friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19 and Mark 2:16). If our lives are Christlike we can expect criticism. In fact, there are times when we should see criticism from the world as verification that our lives have been changed. A person whose mind is polluted and whose vision is not clear cannot understand or interpret behaviour based on obedience to God. So if you’re living on a higher plane than the world, expect some criticism.

6> Keep physically and spiritually in shape.

Physical exhaustion has a tremendous effect on the way we act and react; it distorts the way we see and handle life. Elijah succumbed to opposition when he was in a state of weariness. Jezebel was a firecracker, and her opposition sapped the preacher’s strength. Elijah complained, “It is enough, now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers” (1 Kings 19:4). Elijah was completely shaken. Watch weariness because Satan will take advantage. When we become overly tired, we can become overly critical, and at the same time we are less able to handle criticism from others.

7> Don’t just see the critic; see if there’s a crowd.

The following story illustrates this point. Mrs. Jones had invited a great and well-known violinist to entertain at her afternoon tea. When it was all over, everyone crowded around the musician.

“I’ve got to be honest with you,” said one of the guests, “I think your performance was absolutely terrible.”

Hearing his criticism, the hostess interposed: “Don’t pay any attention to him. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He only repeats what he hears everyone else say.”

I’m suggesting that you expand your vision; go beyond the critic and see if he has a cheering section. Consider the possibility that you are hearing the same criticism from several people. If this is the case, and the critics are reliable, you need to realize that you have a challenge to work on. If, on the other hand, you’re dealing with a pocket group of negative people, your challenge is to not be affected by them.

George Bernard Shaw, the Irish playwright, certainly had his critics, but he knew how to handle them. After one opening, a critic voiced his displeasure. He said, “It’s rotten! It’s rotten!” To which Shaw replied, “I agree with you perfectly, but what are we two against so many?”

8> Wait for time to prove them wrong.

Time is your best ally; it allows you to prove yourself right. Often, as events unfold, the cause for criticism is eliminated and you will be vindicated. You may be thinking, “ Easy for you to say, but you’re not where I am.” But I have been there many times. If you know your action or decision was right, hang in there. Time will prove you out.

Abraham Lincoln, the most loved president of the united States, was also the most criticized president. Probably no politician in history had worse things said about him. Here’s how the Chicago Times in 1865 evaluated Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address the day after he delivered it. “The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, and dish-watery utterances of a man who has been pointed out to intelligent foreigners as President of the United States.” Time, of course, has proved the scathing criticism wrong. 

Growing Through Criticism – Part Two

To grow through criticism there are some things to note…

1> Understand the difference between constructive and destructive criticism.

You need to learn how to interpret criticism. Is it positive criticism to build you up or negative to tear you down? Someone once said that constructive criticism is when I criticize you; destructive criticism is when you criticize me.

To determine the motive behind the confrontation, ask yourself some questions. 

A> In what spirit is it given? Look behind the words and determine the motives. Is the critic projecting a gentle attitude or a judgmental attitude? If your critic’s attitude is kind, you can rest assured that the criticism is meant to be constructive.

B> When is the criticism given? Times of confrontation must be shared privately, not within public view or hearing. If a person criticizes someone publicly, you can be sure his or her intentions are not the best. They are out to destroy and not to build.

C> Why is the criticism given? This question deals with the attitude of the critic. Is it for personal benefit and growth, or is it given from personal hurt? Sometimes the person who has experienced difficulties and problems will deal with others in a negative, critical way. 

2> Don’t take yourself too seriously.

If you can develop the ability to laugh at yourself, you will be much more relaxed when given or giving criticism. Face it, we all do some stupid and silly things. Blessed is he who can enjoy his blunders. We are approved by God; we don’t have to win the approval of others and look good in their eyes. We are not perfect people. Too many of us take ourselves too seriously and God not seriously enough.

3> Look beyond the criticism and see the critic.

When someone comes to me with news about another person, I am more interested in the person who said it than what was said. In fact, that’s one of my first questions: Who said it? Who told you that? When I find out who the perpetrator is, I know whether or not to listen. I will either straighten up and take it seriously or I will think to myself, “There they go again.”

Keep in mind certain considerations regarding your critic: First, is it someone whose character you respect? Adverse criticism from a wise man is more to be desired than the enthusiastic approval of a fool. Second, is this person frequently critical? Is criticism a pattern? If so, don’t place too much value in what they say. Possibly it’s a way to get attention. Criticism from a positive person, on the other hand, probably deserves your attention.

Finally, ask yourself this question: Does the critic sincerely want to help me? Remember that people who are busy rowing seldom have time to rock the boat.

4> Watch your own attitude towards the critic.

A negative attitude toward criticism can be more destructive than the criticism itself. Remember, a chip on the shoulder indicates wood higher up! Someone once said, “When you are being run out of town, get to the head of the line and look as though you are leading the parade.” In other words, maintain a positive attitude towards the critic. 

1 Peter 2:21-23 provides the right attitude toward criticism:

“This suffering is all part of the work God has given you. Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in his steps: He never sinned, never told a lie, never answered back when insulted; when he suffered he did not threaten to get even; he left his case in the hands of God who always judges fairly.”

Could it be that a poor attitude reveals the fact that we have trusted in ourselves, rather than in God who knows the entire situation? If we are trusting Him and are obedient, we can expect some criticism. He often calls us to take an unpopular stand. He has also called us to love those who are critical of us. 

Loving Difficult People – Part Four

Perhaps you have recognized someone you know in each of these caricatures we have been looking at. Or maybe you’re dealing with a person so difficult, he is in a category all by himself. Take heart; there are certain general rules which you can put into practice that will enable you to work more effectively with problem people.

1> Love them unconditionally.

2> Ask God for wisdom in working with them.

3> Stay emotionally healthy yourself.

4> Set and maintain proper personal boundaries with the person.

5> Be honest with God, yourself, and them.

The Process of Relationships

It’s important to understand the process of relationships; specifically the stages of a relational breakdown. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

  • The Honeymoon stage is the one we begin with. We usually have an unrealistic view of the relationship at this point. Obviously, what attracts people to each other, whether it be a business relationship, a friendship, or a romance are their positive qualities. The excitement of finding someone who meets some need in our lives tends to temporarily blind us to their negative traits.
  • Specific irritation is the stage where we begin to open our eyes and see things we don’t like. Here we develop a memory bank of these negative traits. But then we also see the relationship in a more realistic light. If you look back at the early weeks of your marriage or of a new job, you will probably recall the first incident that shook you into reality — the time you realized the honeymoon was over.
  • General discomfort should cause us to deal with the specific irritations that have piled up in our memory banks. We become more open, honest, and transparent about telling someone why they are making us uncomfortable.
  • Try harder stage of development where we raise our energy level to make a success of the relationship. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s very hard to separate the problem from the person.
  • Exhaustion often becomes a serious problem in a relationship because we are too tired to try any longer. We tend to throw up our hands and quit at this crucial point. 
  • Separation is the final stage. By this time the relationship has usually been terminated with little hope of restoration. Usually, by the time this happens we are too numb to even care or hurt.

The series of stages does not have to be completed; the cycle can be broken. Most often, if the process is reversed, it happens during the stage of general discomfort. At that point it is still possible to make the decision to accept what you don’t like about a person and to love that person unconditionally. As you try harder to overlook a person’s faults, it becomes easier to again focus your attention on his or her positive traits.

Problems in Relationships

In most relationship it is inevitable that at some point a confrontation will take place. At this crisis point it’s very important to approach the offending party prepared with the right attitude. If a confrontation is handled correctly, it can actually strengthen the relationship. If not, it can bring an abrupt, unhappy end to the relationship. In order for this not to happen, follow these six guidelines:

1> Bring in principle persons involved in the conflict. Experience has taught me that unless all persons involved come together, the whole story will never be pieced together accurately.

2> Line up the facts. Relying on hearsay evidence or “general impressions” will only invite emotion-laden rebuttals and, possibly, resentful counterattacks.

3> Never reprimand while angry. Make sure you are in control of your emotions. The angrier you are, the less objective you’ll be — and the less effective you will be in dealing with the problem or issue. It’s prudent to delay a confrontation until you’ve coolly asked yourself two questions: Could I have contributed to the problem? Were there mitigating circumstances I’m overlooking

4> Be precise about the offense. Let the person know exactly what the problem is. Don’t try to soften the blow by hemming and hawing or refusing to cough up the details. 

5> Get the other person’s side of the story. Always give the other person the chance to explain what happened and why they behaved as they did. There may be extenuating circumstances. Sometimes, you may even be a part of them. 

6> Don’t harbour a grudge. Once you have handled the issue, don’t carry around hostilities or unforgiveness. Let that person know you consider the problem a closed book and act accordingly.

 Our ultimate goal in dealing with relational problems should be to present the truth in such a way as to build and strengthen the relationship, not destroy it. Unfortunately, this cannot always be accomplished. If a relationship cannot stand an honest face-to-face encounter, then it probably is not a healthy relationship. In some cases, ending the relationship is the only solution, but this should be the last choice. 

Sometimes I have Stinking Thinking

https://rhm.podbean.com/e/sometimes-i-have-stinking-thinking/

Here is what I know:

Wrong thinking leads to wrong living

Here is another thing I know:

Manure happens

And, a third thing that I know:

One of the greatest stumbling blocks to spiritual life and spiritual growth is getting stuck in our negative, untrue, and impure thoughts instead of believing and living what God says in His Word

Our natural or built-in language is negative Read more