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Posts tagged ‘genuine communication’

I’m Wrong — BUT — What About Him (or Her)?

SOURCE:  Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 120.


Going the Wrong Way Down a One-Way Street

Because most of us do not like to admit that we have sinned, we tend to conceal, deny, or rationalize our wrongs.

If we cannot completely cover up what we have done, we try to minimize our wrongdoing by saying that we simply made a “mistake” or an “error in judgment.”

Another way to avoid responsibility for our sins is to shift the blame to others or to say that they made us act the way we did.

When our wrongs are too obvious to ignore, we practice what I call the 40/60 Rule. It goes something like this: “Well, I know I’m not perfect, and I admit I am partially to blame for this problem. I’d say that about 40% of the fault is mine. That means 60% of the fault is hers. Since she is 20% more to blame than I am, she should be the one to ask for forgiveness.” I never actually say or think these exact words, but I often catch myself resorting to this tactic in subtle ways. By believing that my sins have been more than canceled by another’s sins, I can divert attention from myself and avoid repentance and confession.

“It’s two-way street, you know … I did stuff, but he did stuff, too! Why aren’t we talking about HIS stuff?” These words, which were spoken in the midst of an actual conflict, reflect another variation of the 40/60 rule. We say it’s a two-way street, but the problem is that in reality we still treat it like a one-way street. “When the other person is willing to ‘drive’ to me, only then will I think about confessing my part of the conflict.”

But that’s not the way Jesus spells things out in Luke 6:41-42. There he gives his famous words on “getting the log out” of your own eye first, before you ever get around to removing the splinter from your brother’s or sister’s eye. And just a few verses earlier, Jesus tells us to love our enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. (Luke 6:35)

What about the confessions we make?

Do we withhold our confession until we have assurance that the other person will confess his or her part? Or are we willing to confess “expecting nothing in return”?

It is a two-way street, but the responsibility that God calls each of us to is all one-way.

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The give and take of healthy relationships

SOURCE:  Taken from an article by Leslie Vernick

I want to talk about the importance of reciprocity in maintaining healthy adult relationships.

Reciprocity means that both people in the relationship give and both people in the relationship receive. Power and responsibility for the care and maintenance of the relationship are shared, and there is not a double standard where one person receives the goodies of the relationship while the other person does most of the work.

There may be seasons where one person gives much more than the other due to illness, incapacity or other problems, but when both individuals in the relationship are capable, reciprocity means that both individuals are givers and both individuals are receivers.

For example, John and Mary constantly argued about their budget. Mary required John to be accountable for every penny he spent, yet Mary did not hold herself to that same standard. She always had an excuse as to why her spending was more justified than John’s. John agreed that Mary was a better money manager than he was yet there was something fundamentally imbalanced in their marriage. Over time, he began to feel resentful and started acting out like a rebellious teenager, taking money out of the ATM without telling Mary. That caused more conflict between them.

John wanted some decision making power as to how they managed their money. He wanted to be a part of a “we” decision regarding their finances instead of feeling like a child being given an allowance. In order to rebalance their marriage, Mary would need to share the decision making with John instead of informing him of her decisions.

In another example, Amber felt frustrated with herself for always saying “yes” when she wanted to say “no”. She lacked the freedom to say no in her relationships because she feared that if she said “no”, people wouldn’t like her or she would lose their friendship. But as she began to evaluate her relationships, she realized that most of her friendships were very lopsided, with her being the giver and her friends being the takers. It didn’t surprise her that she felt afraid that if she stopped being such a generous giver, she might lose some of her friends. Yet she was tired of having friends who gladly took from her yet never gave anything back.

Amber realized that if she wanted to have healthier relationships with these people, she would need to start speaking up about her own needs and feelings in the hopes of rebalancing their relationship.

Stuck in Relationships

SOURCE:  Paul Tripp

I’ve spent thousands of hours in counseling sessions with people who are stuck in relationships. It wasn’t always a husband and wife in a marriage gone bad; any two people in any type of relationship can find themselves stuck.

Are you in a relationship that has lost its passion? I’m not just talking about marital romance. A parent and child who once adored each other can now live in hostile tension. Two siblings who loved each other growing up can now be separated by anger. Co-workers or neighbors who used to get along so easily can now find it hard to have an argument-free conversation.

I would assume that everyone reading this Article can identify at least one relationship that isn’t as joyful as it could be. But, if you have a good history with relationships, don’t skip over this material. God can use you as an instrument of reconciliation between others.

To begin, let’s look at 10 typical signs of a relationship gone bad:

  1. Do you struggle to be intimate with the other person? (Don’t just apply this to the sexual life of a husband and wife; intimacy can be defined as “closeness”)
  2. Do you struggle – or are you afraid – to talk about important subjects with the other person?
  3. Do you use words as weapons to hurt and tear down instead of using words to build up and give grace? (Ephesians 4:29)
  4. Do you spend more time criticizing the behavior of the other person than you do reflecting on the motives of your own heart?
  5. Do you continually struggle to solve problems and resolve conflict?
  6. Do you ever wish – even just for a moment – that you had never met (or had) the other person in the relationship?
  7. Do you struggle to serve the other person, or, have you lost the joy you once had in serving that person?
  8. Do you find yourself angrily replaying the conversations and interactions you had with the other person?
  9. Do you try to make yourself busy so you don’t have to interact with the other person? (In other words, do you look for excuses that allow you to avoid them)
  10. As a whole, would you say that the quality of your relationship is worse now than it was ____ months/years ago?

SIX STEPS

Every relationship is going to experience conflict. After all, you – a sinner – are living with other sinners in a fallen world. It’s bound to be messy!

So, I want to introduce you to a 6-step biblical process for changing a relationship. Before I tell you the steps, you need to know three things about this process:

  1. The order of these steps is crucial to the process of change
  2. Don’t move on to the next step until the current work is complete
  3. Change is a process, not an event. This process could take months – even years. Don’t rush it.

Here we go:

1. Confession & Forgiveness

If change is ever going to take place, it has to begin with an honest confession of wrongs done, followed by an honest and humble granting of forgiveness. If you’re refusing to admit you wronged the other person, and/or refusing to let their wrongs go, you won’t get unstuck.

2. Trusting & Entrusting

Now that the past has been dealt with, we need to deal with the present. You need to do everything you can to become a trustworthy person. And then, you need to be willing to be vulnerable. Entrust yourself to the other person, knowing that they’re still imperfect people.

3. Uprooting & Planting

This is a very concrete step: what specific things do you need to get rid of in your relationship that interfere, and what do you need to replace them with? Don’t just work on your schedule and activities; be specific about words and actions and responses.

4. Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

This is a broad Biblical theme, but you need to make it specific. Who is this person in your relationship, and what do they struggle with? How can you specifically show love to their specific needs and desires?

5. Deal With Sin

I said earlier that change doesn’t happen overnight, so you need to determine what you’re going to do when the other person sins. How you do this is up to you, but you need to give the other person the right to say, “Hold on, what you just did or said was wrong – let’s talk about it.”

6. Watch & Pray

Even when significant change has taken place, you still need to guard your relationship. You’re in a war zone, fighting your own sin and the temptation of the outside world. Watch over your behavior and pray for the grace of God to give you eyes that see yourself with accuracy.

There is help and hope for you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One day, your relationships will be completely free from conflict and strife, but the Bible gives you practical steps for change, right here, right now.

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