The Grace Sifter In Relationship Conflict

Every person has a learned pattern of behavior when dealing with conflict.  Some lash out; others become critical, defensive and sarcastic, while some retreat like a turtle and avoid conflict altogether.  None of these patterns work towards solution and even create more conflict adding layers of bitterness and resentments causing hearts to get hardened and broken intimacy in relationships.

What’s God’s solution when conflict in relationships arises? GRACE! You see people model what was modeled to them. If they attack, they were attacked. If they are critical, they were criticized.  If they avoid, stuffing and avoidance were the names of the game growing up. These patterns are brought into relationships and affect those we love. It’s important not to personalize the wrongful reactions of other people. It has more to do with their faulty filters and less to do with you. Grace understands this.  It can build a bridge to healthy relationships.

God’s word says “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Instead of getting angry and replying in kind commit to sifting every conflict through a grace sifter.  Nothing gets through unless it contains grace.  Just like a flour sifter catches big lumps of flour that will ruin a recipe – nothing critical is allowed to sift through that will ruin our relationships. There is nothing wrong with the flour it’s just the wrong consistency. Likewise, conflict issues are legitimate and must be addressed and dealt with. But it’s our negative reaction to conflict that needs sifting through the filter of grace.

The next part of the recipe calls for seasoning with salt. Salt is a preservative. If your conversation is full of grace – allowing for faults and imperfections of others – it preserves relationships and brings peace to our lives. This is the perfect recipe for healthy God-centered relationships. Let’s get to cooking with grace.

“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”

Colossians 3:14

 

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Christian Hope

hope2

Many people do not understand why their hope fails, yet in reality, their concept of hope is wrong. That’s why it is of utmost importance to know what true hope is. Christian hope is not dependent on another person, place or thing, but rather dependent on the Lord alone.

It’s not wishful thinking, vague longing, or trying to fulfill a dream, but rather is assured, unchangeable, and absolute.

It’s not determined by circumstances, surroundings, events, or abilities, but rather by what is already secure and promised. And it is not dependent on the stars, luck, or chance but has already been determined and settled in the heart and mind of God for our good and because of His unfailing love for us.

No human being or situation can fulfill all your deepest needs. Both people and situations change throughout our lives.

You may have days of feeling satisfied, but the satisfaction is temporary, the glimmer of hope fleeting. Only God can provide you with the love, acceptance, and security that at the end of the day is at the root of what our hearts are longing for. And God stands ready to meet your deepest inner needs. This is where our true source of hope is. This is His promise to us – Jesus the Anchor of our soul firm and steadfast. He will meet our deepest needs.

 

 

 

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Emotions & Relationship Conflict

oftheheartThere is a direct correlation between relationship conflict and negative emotions. We were designed for love and intimacy.  Sadly, many of us were not given healthy forms of love. So we enter relationships with baggage full of skewed love systems and unmet needs expecting the other person to meet our emotional needs.

However, since unhealthy people tend to attract unhealthy individuals into their lives who enter the relationship with their own emotional baggage – unmet needs and skewed forms of love expecting us to love them as they think they should be loved – it’s  a great recipe for emotional pain and conflict.

People enter relationships with all kinds of learned negative patterns of behavior to deal with relationship conflict.

The truth is we will never be able to enjoy healthy mutually satisfying relationships until we deal with the issues of our own heart.  When we can identify the cause of our emotional pain, we can then process the effects they have on our life, and we can stop blaming others, take ownership of our negative feelings and behaviors and stop allowing others to control our emotions. People are not responsible for the way they make us feel.

Understanding and accepting this enables us to let others off the hook and give them permission to take ownership of their feelings and stop blaming us for how they feel.  Jesus heals and restores one heart at a time.

 

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Do You Have Hidden Anger?

anger-heartAnger can be overt – screaming, yelling, rage, throwing things, physically abusive, or it can be very covert. Many people suffer from underlying anger – slow simmering suppressed beneath the surface that surfaces occasionally. While this hidden anger is usually rooted in past childhood hurts, what lies underneath is ready to erupt at any moment much like a volcano.

For instance when someone does or says something wrong, the one with hidden and suppressed anger often overreacts. Or when someone makes an innocent mistake the magnitude of anger unleashed is out of proportion with the simple mistake. If you have hidden anger, you may find yourself at one extreme or another – hopelessness to extreme hostility and yet be completely unaware why you are experiencing these feelings and may even be clueless to the severity of your outbursts of anger towards others and how they are being hurt emotionally in the wake of your anger.

Unresolved anger causes deep wounds in your relationships with God and others. And it hurts little ones who are caught in the aftermath of a parent’s anger and may cause them to learn this modeled behavior to deal with conflict they will carry into adulthood affecting relationships at all levels.

This powerful emotion robs your heart of peace, joy and steals contentment from your spirit. It’s never too late to get to the root of anger and allow God to heal your heart. A willingness to admit you have hidden anger is the first step to freedom. God is faithful to heal and restore those who come to Him for healing

The Bible describes this perfectly. “When my heart was grieved, and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.”

(Psalm 73:21–22)

Signs of Hidden Anger:

Do you become irritable over little things?

Do you smile on the outside, while you hurt on the inside?

Do those close to you say that you blame others?

Do you become easily frustrated?

Do you find your identity and worth in excessive work?

Do you deny ever being impatient?

Do you have to have the last word?

If you find that you have hidden anger commit to letting go with God’s help.

 

“You must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” (Colossians 3:8). These things defile our hearts and keep us from intimacy with ourselves,

God and others.

A willingness to admit you have hidden anger is the first step to freedom. The next is identifying the source. Anger is a secondary emotion. It’s typically started and fueled by one of four sources: hurt, injustice, fear, or frustration. With these roots, anger is a secondary response to one or more of these four sources. Digging into buried feelings from your past can be painful. So, it can seem easier to stay angry than to uncover the cause, but God wants to set you free. He wants you to get rid of the bad fruit and be a storehouse that houses a plentiful harvest of good fruit. It’s not easy. It requires work and persistence. YOU ARE WORTH IT!

“ Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking a anything.” (James 1:4)

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True Change

godly-sorrow

Repeated apologies, promises never to do it again, remorse, tears, pleading for another chance are things repeat abusers say to those they hurt. Whether they are causing harm through emotional or physical abuse, committing adultery, being deceptive, lying, cheating, or are engaged in other destructive behaviors such as addiction, they genuinely feel bad when exposed and confronted and offer appeasement for the moment but nothing changes.

The behavior continues causing pain and destruction at all levels in families and relationships. That’s because God’s word says there is a huge difference between being sorry and repentance, between regretting the wrongs we have committed and committing to change behaviors that bind and hurt others.

Worldly sorrow does not lead to the brokenness and humility needed to get the human heart to a place of genuine Godly sorrow and repentance before a Holy God that produces a desire to change. Worldly sorrow causes the heart to harden and brings forth death in all areas of our lives, while Godly sorrow softens the heart and brings forth life.

If we continue to allow others to appease us with worldly sorrow, then we must understand that things will remain the same. This is called enabling. We can’t change another person’s heart but God can. Release them to God, guard your heart, and pray the Lord will orchestrate whatever needs to take place to produce Godly sorrow in someone who is hurting themselves and others. That’s where true change begins.

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Painful Breakups

What A Person DesiresWe were all created with three God given needs – for love, security, and acceptance. When people fail us it can cut at our self-worth because we look to them to meet the needs only God can fully meet.

Losing a relationship is always painful but can be devastating for some. God does bring people in our lives to reinforce our inherent needs but they are not meant to take His place as the only source of love that truly satisfies.

It we are dependent on people to meet our love needs what happens when they leave?

If you are feeling lost and rejected over a relationship loss turn to Jesus. He offers you love and acceptance. He will never reject you. Ephesians 1:6 says you are accepted in the beloved. The Lord wants to reaffirm your value and worth in Him. But it won’t be found in anyone or anything other than Him.

True identity does not come from relationships but from a relationship with our precious Savior Jesus Christ.

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The Critical Spirit

Critical SpiritReckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 18:21

When others criticize us as difficult as it may be to handle, God may be using them as ‘heavenly sandpaper” to teach, correct, and refine us. But constant harsh criticism, the kind that leaves us feeling demeaned, discouraged and devalued can cause emotional wounds, strain relationships, and stunt emotional growth especially when it comes at the hands of those we love and trust the most.

We are called to build each other up not tear each other down. Sadly, those who have a pattern of tearing down may be acting out modeled behavior of harsh criticism from early childhood. Don’t personalize a person’s critical spirit. They are acting out of woundedness causing them to sin against you.

Guard your heart against believing lies about yourself, set healthy boundaries to protect yourself, don’t retaliate, hold fast to God’s truth, pray for your offender and release them to Jesus.

You are His precious child. He will lift you up dispelling the lies with the truth of His word. Let the Balm of Gilead bring healing to your heart.

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Are You Controlled by Fear of Rejection?

photoAre you controlled by the fear of rejection from others? It’s been said that if we live for the approval of others, we will die from their rejection. People are flawed and carry skewed ways of looking at life and engaging in relationships from the way they were raised.

Often in our brokenness, we go to these same people for approval and our value and worth is at the mercy of what they think about us and they determine how we should think, feel and behave even if they are unhealthy.  Not wanting to lose their love and approval we often compromise our morals, beliefs and often allow others to hurt and mistreat us.

Finding our value and worth in anyone or anything other than Jesus is not only fruitless but emotionally damaging.

Quit putting your trust in man for love and acceptance. Trust in The Lord. You were made in the image of the living God. He loves you with His steadfast love and established your worth in Him.

If you are having trouble grasping this truth, then there is something hindering you from experiencing the fullness of Christ. Go to Jesus in prayer and ask Him to remove the barriers preventing you from living the abundant life. 

Jesus is faithful to pull out the roots that He did not plant and replant seeds watered and nourished by His uncondioanl love and grace that will cause the rejected to feel accepted firmly rooted and planted in His unfailing love.

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Love Need

imageLove is the bond of perfection.” Colossian 3:14

It is absolutely true that hurting people hurt people. Don’t be quick to judge the behavior on the surface and not see the need below.

When children feel unwanted, unheard, not valuable, incapable, powerless, or hurt, they often lash out. Parents love your children well.

The lack of love will damage a child emotionally and will have consequences throughout their lives affecting their own children. Stop the generational sins.

You cannot do it alone. Put on God’s love. His love is perfect. It leads towholeness. Jesus makes broken things new.

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Own Your Part

As Much as dependsWe can’t change people’s hearts. But God can! Where there is relationship conflict, we must remember that people react by the way they have learned to deal with matters of the heart, and it might not even be rooted in truth.

There are three sides to the story, but only one is accurate – God’s perspective. We are only responsible for our junk. We must ask God to show us our part – confess, repent and ask for forgiveness where applicable and give the rest to Him.

Don’t hold on to things and demand that people see things your way because it may be skewed by your own unhealthy life experiences. Keep your own side of the street clean. If you can change it, change it. If you can’t release it!

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