About five or six years ago there was a relationship in my life that turned sour. I didn’t know why. I didn’t particularly dislike the person, perhaps I didn’t understand her fully, but I didn’t dislike her. And I couldn’t think of a reason she would have to dislike me.
At first I chalked it up to a difference in personalities or perhaps backgrounds. But over time that wasn’t a satisfying answer. The tension between us, while never spoken but certainly felt, threatened to spill over into other relationships.
I knew I had to do something about it but I didn’t want to. I drug my feet, I whined to my husband, I avoided her. My husband got to the point where he wouldn’t listen to what I had to say about the topic, his standard response became, “you need to deal with it.” He was right.
Finally God got a hold of my heart. Interestingly enough one Sunday our pastor challenged our congregation to make our relationships right with one another. I don’t remember everything he said but I do remember how uncomfortable I was. I was convicted that even though I didn’t think I had been to blame in causing the tension I was guilty of allowing it to continue. I called her that afternoon.
God takes seriously the peace of his family. Relationships matter. Procrastinating in making a relationship right, whether through forgiveness, a truthful word, encouragement, etc. is not acceptable for those of us who prize a right relationship with God and our brothers and sisters.
I don’t know what you may be facing. It may be years of abuse that has piled up at your door. It may be a nudge from God to take a hurting young mom under your wing. It may be a woman in sin you need to speak challenging words of life to. I don’t know what it is that’s nagging you, but I know most of us have been there at some point or another at a crossroads with another person.
I also know, more often than not, that we tend to avoid dealing with the elephants stinking up our rooms. If you are struggling with a relationship I can take an educated guess that it’s affecting your sleep, your eating habits, and even other relationships.
I try to avoid that kind of turmoil and procrastination in reclaiming peace in relationships because of what I learned that Sunday afternoon when I made the difficult phone call. When I called that Sunday afternoon I addressed head on the tension in our relationship. I told her I was sorry it was there, confessed I didn’t know why it was, and asked her if she had an offense against me. She said she thought I was mad at her. Turns out neither of us was mad!
We talked for a while, asked for forgiveness for letting the tension build and go left unchecked, and committed to keep communication open. We ended up spending the next year praying together for our church and growing in understanding and respect. We most likely still have different views on certain things, and our personalities and backgrounds are still dissimilar, but the difference isn’t bad.
I learned a lot that afternoon about conflict and people. It’s really a lot easier than we think to deal with issues when we face them head on. And it’s always better to deal with relationship issues today instead of tomorrow.
Is there a time when you gathered your courage and made the hard call? If you have a relationship to work on what’s holding you back, and what are you going to do about it?
Beck is passionate about encouraging women to use their influence for other women and has written the ebook Sister to Sister; A Mentor’s Handbook. It’s a privilege to serve in ministry with her husband and homeschool their two children, Max and Maggie. Beck is the Director of Online Community for CausePub and is also the founder of Mercy’s Refuge, an outreach to the vulnerable of Serbia. You can connect with her at her blog Beck Far From Home, or on Facebook.