When I have been hurt by someone, I have a difficult time letting them know. I much rather avoid the elephant in the room and brush things under the rug. As an introvert and natural people-pleaser, I find it excruciating to “talk things through” when there is a disagreement, disruption, or discord. But to keep the peace, I️ am discovering that it doesn’t mean being the “Welcome Rug.”
Reconciliation in Relationships
However, here’s what I find intriguing about Paul: he doesn’t hide from uncomfortableness. He doesn’t run away or make excuses. Rather, he faces the hard stuff head-on and with the right mindset. It is out of love that he lingers long to keep the peace.
Read 2 Corinthians 2:1-11. If we love someone, we want what is best for them. We want them to mature in holiness, not merely happiness. We desire for them to be gospel-centered, Christ-craving people. Gosh. I want this more than anything for the ones I love! And as a result, we cannot stand idly by when we see sin eating them alive. Before someone we love falls off the deep-end, it is our responsibility to speak up. Leave your emotions at the front door and address the issue at hand, always putting the other person before your interests or wants. But how do we keep the peace in love? Let’s get practical…
How Do We Effectively Communicate When We’ve Been Wronged?
- State the Issue – Stick to “I” comments and specifically address the problem at hand.
- Identify Sensory Data – Use your senses to communicate the problem. For example, “When I saw….”, “I heard…”, etc.
- Tell your Thoughts – Explain how your sensory data led to your interpretation. For example, “When I saw _[sensory data]_, it made me think_______________. Explain to the other person how you have reached your conclusion. Allow them time to respond.
- Explain your Feelings – Be vulnerable and honest here. How did the sensory data you collect impact on how you feel? We see Paul doing this in 1 Cor. 2:4 when he says, “For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.”
- Share your Wants – Explain your desire for healing and reconciliation and why it is important to you. Reaffirm your desire for a restored relationship. Build the person up (rather than tearing down). We see Paul doing this…
- v. 8 – “I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.”
- v. 9 – “I wrote that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything.”
- v. 10 – “Indeed what I have forgiven…has been for your sake in the presence of Christ so that we would not be outwitted by Satan.”
- Address Points of Action – How do you want to see the issue resolved? What steps can be taken to make amends? In the case of Paul, we don’t know what offense occurred, but we do know that a specific person had attacked Paul personally, resulting in the entire church community being impacted. Ultimately, Paul is calling for a restoration of this outcast church member…and calling on the saints to forgive.
The Extension of Forgiveness
Man, this is a tall order. When we are wronged and in a place of deep hurt, it takes supernatural work within us that only is accomplished by the Holy Spirit. But on the contrary, when we don’t forgive–bitterness, anger, malice, and envy take root. Let’s not allow the Enemy to win. Instead, let’s be people who are eager to forgive as Christ has forgiven us.
Is unforgiveness eating you up alive? Is there someone you need to forgive? Take the necessary steps to extend forgiveness.