This post is extremely personal but I wanted to share it because I think that it's important for people to know how God works in our lives and this is just one of those incredible instances where He really spoke to me.
If you're currently in conflict with someone or having problems with a friend, then read on. I honestly think this could help you and I sure hope it does because it made me realize so many things about myself. I got this from a book I'm reading called "The Purpose Driven Life".
Being a Peacemaker.
It's so easy to be the "Peace Lover" because everyone enjoys peace. It's also very easy just be "Peaceable" and not be disturbed by anything. But rarely has it crossed our minds to be Peacemakers. Why?
Because resolving conflict takes way too much effort and peacemaking is hard work.
This message spoke to me because it resurfaced a friendship that I had chosen to forget. I've buried it so deep that I never thought about it for years. I gave up on that friendship because I was too tired to resolve it. I've never spoken to her and tried not to care anymore. While reading this chapter, her name would pop up in my head and my heart would beat faster than usual. It hit me and I was like, "Ohhhh greeaaaat. God, you're always full of surprises!" I read on and learned about:
How to Restore a Relationship:
Talk to God before talking to the person.
If you will pray about the conflict first, you'll often discover that either God changes your heart or he changes the other person. He's never surprised or upset about your anger, hurt, insecurity, so tell him exactly how you feel. No one can meet all of your needs except God. FACT.
Always take the initiative.
It doesn't matter whether you are the offender or the offended: God expects you to make the first move. Delay only deepens resentment.(I know this is difficult but it also shows maturity and how important that relationship is to you)
Sympathize with their feelings.
Don't try to talk people out of how they feel at first. Just listen and let them unload emotionally without being defensive. Nod that you understand even when you don't agree. Feelings aren't always true or logical.
"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense"
Patience comes from wisdom and wisdom comes from hearing the perspective of others.
Listening says, "I value your opinion, I care about our relationship, and you matter to me"
Confess your part of the conflict.
Confession is a powerful tool for reconciliation. Often the way we handle a conflict creates a bigger hurt than the original problem itself. When you begin by humbly admitting your mistakes, it diffuses the other person's anger because they were probably expecting you to be defensive. Don't make excuses or shift the blame; just honestly own up to any part you have played in the conflict.
Attack the problem, not the person.
How you say it is as important as what you say.
"A wise, mature person is known for his understanding. The pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is."
Nagging never works. You're never persuasive when you are abrasive.
Cooperate as much as possible.
Peace always has a price tag. Sometimes it costs our pride; it often costs our self-centeredness. Do your best to compromise, adjust to others and show preference to what they need.
Emphasize reconciliation, not resolution.
Reconciliation focuses on the relationship, while resolution focuses on the problem. When we focus on reconciliation, the problem loses significance and often becomes irrelevant.
So after reflecting on these things, I realized that I've been avoiding the problem, I ran away from it thinking that if I try to forget it, it would magically disappear. But that would also make me a coward and someone who obviously hasn't grown up. So I wrote her a letter admitting my faults, apologizing to her and telling her that I wanted to rebuild our friendship. IT WASN'T EASY. I'll tell you that. But as long as your heart is in the right place, nothing can go wrong.
Life is all about learning how to love, and God wants us to value relationships and make the effort to maintain them instead of discarding them whenever there's a riff, a hurt or a conflict.
I encourage you to make peace with that person whom you haven't spoken to in years.
Relationships are worth restoring. Do everything in your part to live in peace with everybody.