Today’s verse: Ephesians 4:15 (Msg)
“God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do.”
In the past week I have had no less than eight people share situational fears and/or concerns with me. Five of them with basically the same concern and they had no idea anyone else felt the same way, me included! These people are all truly amazing, heart centered, Christians and true leaders that I look up to and respect. What to do? What to do!
We all have or have had situations that we struggle with. Things and or people that we care about or know that are not “right”, and we are not exactly sure how to handle them. We just know that something (that elusive something that is not nothing) is not right. Maybe we know exactly what is wrong and want to fix it, but have some uneasiness. It could be a fear of actions or consequences. Sometimes we feel that we are alone in our thoughts and experiences and no one else is in the same place, so we must be wrong. Maybe the situation is hurting or limiting us.
This can be frustrating because we want to change things, we want to share our feelings and experiences, we want to feel heard, we just do not know the best way to do it.
We want to make things right, and in our hearts we do not want to hurt. In our faith we are taught to love above all else, our hearts tell us it is not right to hurt others, but our minds tell us, what is happening or, where we feel we are being directed, is wrong or that things should be better.
The way we handle these situations is important, and can be life changing for all involved. Or we could cause more damage and pain. We can NOT be aggressive in actions and/or speech. We cannot hold the thinking that,” I know what is right and you do not”. I am going to fix this because you are wrong. It is not our job to force or fix.
We can NOT have a passive stance. Holding to the ideas that nothing will work or change, it is not my job, or too bad and I don’t care. We cannot walk away or avoid.
Passive-aggressive people push my buttons, being sarcastic, or making comments or statement that are negative. This behavior ends up stirring the pot, those that do this end up walking away or avoiding healthy discussion, growth or exploration. I think these actions are the ones that “Fan the fire” and cause mis-communication and frustrations. There is little hope for changing or healing with this behavior.
What can we do? How can we honor our feelings? How can we be the point of change?
Let me share with you Maryanne’s world view on this: First and foremost start with prayer, then take time to get all of the information, try to see more than just one side. Make the choice to listen with an open mind, invite the counsel of a trusted friend or professional. As it states in the verse above, “Know the whole truth”. Act do not RE-act. (FYI, I am a major reactor! I continually work really work hard to overcome this primal response in myself)
Next, if it is safe, talk - start the conversation. It is important to speak the truth, share your feelings, your views, your concerns with those involved. This is probably the hardest of all things, speaking the truth, as Christ modeled for us, with love. It is not always easy, and sometimes it hurts and we get hurt. As it also says in the verse, “take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. I feel that it is through open and honest conversation,change and healing can happen. If you need support, invite a trusted friend to join you.
If possible, invite everyone to pray together, before the conversation. Pray for God’s guidance, Christ’s open heart and the Spirits direction to join you all. Understand there is more than one path in every walk, and that a solution might take more time and different directions than expected.
This is such an important lesson - that Christ himself addresses it in the book of Matthew starting with verse 18: “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.
“Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”
Know that you are never alone.
Know that change is guaranteed to happen in our lives.
Most importantly know that you have it in you to be the caring leader of change in the world around you.
This is what I believe: We go nowhere by accident, Wherever we go, God has sent us. Wherever we are, God has placed us there. Christ who lives within us has something to accomplish through us. So let us believe this, and go in His Grace, Love, and Power!
Richard Halverson-adapted by David Handley