This week I set out to write about healthy relationships and conflict resolution. I wrote out my draft, felt pretty good about it, and then BAM. That’s the sound of pride followed by a fall. I failed majorly in this area. I was hardened toward a certain issue. I demanded honesty and directness from someone, but in a very indirect and borderline passive-aggressive way. Yuck. Thankfully, this conflict happened with a dear friend, who isn’t afraid to call me out and call me to repentance.
This reminds me of something very important I need all of my readers to know:
I do not write to you as any kind of expert. I also do not write about things that I have somehow “mastered.” Rather, the opposite is true.
This website is full of lessons I am currently learning and re-learning. Please do not ever “disqualify” yourself, or walk away from the GH feeling shame.
Now, back to conflict resolution.
We all have lines that we do not let others cross. Even the most people-pleasing prone individuals have a limit. We form these lines as a way to help protect our beliefs, our core values, our family, and ourselves.
Every so often though, we let other people blur these lines and push past our boundaries.
We let people bend our values because of shared-genetics, positions of power, or in order to gain social acceptance.
It may start off small…
We smile and nod instead of redirecting gossip.
That off-colored joke just lingers, so we laugh awkwardly.
We don’t want to come across judgmental, so we remain silent while others talk about people as objects.
We know someone is hurting, but we avoid it instead of addressing it. It’s easier, and our own comfort matters more.
What we start to “keep the peace about” will continue to grow.
If we are not careful, we will find ourselves doing things, or allowing others to do things, that are the opposite of your core beliefs.
Why? Well, all for the sake of keeping the peace instead of making peace.
Peace Keeping vs. Peace Making
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
- Silence is not always golden. It is important to speak the truth in love. However, do not be surprised when your attempts to make peace are avoided. People do not like having critical conversations anymore, especially not without the “safety” of hiding behind a screen. Keep pressing in and stand firm in your convictions.
Sometimes the best way you can build peace is to embrace confrontation.
- Stop Making Excuses. Shared genetics does not give someone a free pass to engage in wrongdoing, or to be abusive. Do not allow others to cross your boundaries simply because they are “family.” The same goes for anyone in a position of power in your life.
Setting and keeping boundaries is not hateful. Loving someone does not mean becoming their doormat. To love is to speak truth, to live with integrity, and to walk away if things cannot be resolved. God does His best heart-changing work when we surrender to His will, and we stop trying to fix other people.
Richard and I have had to make some tough decisions when lines were repeatedly being crossed. We did this in order to keep our children safe, and to follow the biblical guidelines for conflict. It cost us, it was not and is not easy, but peace-making is always worth it.
- Beware of gossip in disguise. When peace is not in the midst of a relationship, be very careful about what you do next. “Processing” out-loud, venting, or even prayer requests, can all be forms of gossip. Indirect approaches to conflict do not work. Skip the sin-trap, and go directly to the person.“If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he won’t listen, take one or two others with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established.
Why does it matter?
PeaceKEEPING is guarding our own comforts, above the all else.
PeaceMAKING wins others, restores others, and ultimately points to the Source of our peace.
Let’s strive together to both be at peace, and to make peace.
To read more of our posts on relationships, click the links below!