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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Truth Heals

truthNothing hurts and nothing heals like the truth. Facing the truth is sometimes like getting a shot from the doctor. Facing the truth sometimes brings a sting, but eventually healing will come and we will feel better.

The truth heals us and restores us when we place our life in the hands of God. Without placing our life in Christ’s love and grace, the truth can only hurt us and there are even times when the truth can maim and traumatize us.However, God has organized things in such a way as to bless us and heal us when we are with Him and when we rejoice in knowing the truth.

The truth heals and restores our soul because when we live and immerse ourselves in the truth, eventually the truth will lead us to God. We are healed and restored by the truth because the truth always leads us to a place where we find comfort and love in His presence.

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is this…God loves us beyond our ability to fully comprehend. All the hurt, trauma, and tragedy of this life can be washed away in the truth of God’s love and grace if we are willing to be His child. This washing away of our darkness is how the truth heals and restores us.

After we are washed clean by Christ’s love, we find ourselves being wrapped up in His arms. In the washing away of our lies and deceptions, we begin to see clearly our Savior who stands by us every second of our life. We also see He wants us to join Him in Heaven after our mission on earth has been completed.

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Healing the Wounds of The Past

knees4We all go through struggles and hard times. Life is not fair. There are times of sadness, despair, and regret.

The Psalmist paints a picture of someone trapped in an emotional downward spiral. Everything seems overwhelming and yet, in the end, they were able to say that there is encouragement in seeking God’s help. Why? Because God hears us.

There are two types of trauma that bring the kind of despair that we read in today’s passage. There is the trauma of “not getting what we need” , and then there is the trauma of “getting something that we should have never received.”

The first is the result of neglect and abandonment, the second from abuse. But the good news is that God hears us in our despair, and He can help us.

Life brings each of us inescapable traumas that block maturity. God’s redemptive activity comes to us in two ways: He brings healing to our traumas, and adopts us into His family. Both ways boost us through our blocks to maturity, along the way to wholeness, With these boosts, we will be able to live from the hearts He gave us, our true identities will emerge, and our relationships with family and community will be characterized by joy.

Today, praise God for His healing. It is there for you as you bring your pain to Him. Also, praise God for His family. It is through the fellowship and love from each other that we are made whole and can experience the joy He has for us.

“Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.” – “Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. For the LORD hears the cries of the needy.”

Psalms 69: 1-3, 32-33 (NLT)

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Emotional Healing

hearts3Emotional pain is the scourge of the heart and soul. Emotional pain eats away at our humanity. Emotional pain is a burden taking away the quality of our life and most assuredly our emotional pain weighs us down. When we are burdened by our emotional pain we need to lighten the burden. When we hurt, we need a way to take some of the weight off our heart and soul. There is a way to lighten our burden of emotional pain. The way to lighten our load is to tune into the upward pulling force of Jesus.

If you let Him, Jesus is always pulling upward upon your heart. If you let Him, Jesus is always pulling upward upon your burden. Jesus, in His love, is always pulling your burden upward toward Heaven. Jesus is now with you and He is now supporting you, guiding you, and giving you hope as He pulls you upward.

In our emotional pain, we need hope things will change. If there is one supernatural ingredient Christ brings to all of us in our pain, it is hope. Jesus did not come to our world to push you down but to pull you up. Now, take your emotional burden and hold your burden out to Him. Hold your burden out so His light and love can shine into your heart. As you hold your burden out in front of you, watch as Jesus comes and places His healing hands of power upon your hurt…and see His light and love pulling your emotional hurt over to Him…lightening your load, lightening your burden, and lightening your pain.

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Only God Completes You

colossiansEvery human being is born with three basic God-given needs for love, security, and significance. When these needs aren’t met it creates a void begging to be filled. Wherever there is a void, it is going to be filled with something even it’s destructive.

Because basic needs, especially for love, weren’t met this causes people to have faulty core beliefs about themselves and therefore often settle for relationships that are emotionally unavailable and imbalanced which creates conflict at all levels leading to emotional pain and frustration.

It’s not your job to fix someone else. It’s not their job to fix or complete you. It’s God’s job.

Only the One who created us has the power to change, fix, complete, and satisfy us with His unfailing love. Don’t set others up for failure to do what only God is able to do. You will live with constant disappointment.

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Forgiving One Another

compassionGod cares about our relationships and wants us to be right with one another. Too often close relationships are torn apart due to hurts, misunderstandings, offenses, pride, unresolved issues, and emotions can run deep, cut at the heart filling us with bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness.

And usually, it’s the relationships we treasure the most that breakdown and cause the deepest pain. Rather than confront the issues, it may seem easier to avoid, blame others and feel justified holding on to our hurts and anger.

Yet God calls us higher. His word says that as much as depends on us to live at peace with all people (Romans 12:18). We need to forgive those who have wounded us and ask for forgiveness when we have wounded others. We will never be free unless we learn how to forgive and release our offenders at the foot of the cross.

We need only take ownership of our wrong doings and leave the rest at God’s feet endeavoring always to extend grace and leave the door open for reconciliation whenever possible. Are you struggling with forgiveness? Sometimes all it takes is to go to Jesus with a sincere heart and ask Him to give you a willingness to forgive, make amends and pursue peace. There is nothing that He can’t do with a willing and surrendered heart.

 

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Life Beyond Emotional Pain

life beyond pain“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Cor. 1:4

It is in our greatest struggles and pain that we encounter The Comforter – Our Jesus in the deepest intimate way. And we emerge on the other side with a heart of compassion for those who face the same hurts and struggles.

Our God not only heals and restores our broken hearts and lives, but He is faithful to turn our pain into a ministry of compassion to reach the hurting so we can comfort others as we have been comforted.

He truly gives us beauty for ashes.

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Our Need for Love

love in all the wrong places
Every human being has an inward need and craving for love. As children our parents were meant to model and fill our need for love often failing because many can only pour out what was poured into them, either healthy love or unhealthy love. If our need for love is not met, we will go through life trying to get our need met through people, places and things apart from God. We will go seeking after the wrong bread and start to feed off that which never satisfies our hunger for love.

Psalm 27 says, “A satisfied man craves the honeycomb, but to a hungry man even the bitter thing seems sweet.” What does this mean in modern language? Bad love is better than no love at all. It’s easy to judge those who stay in abusive or dysfunctional relationships, or the young woman who cruises bars giving her body away freely. How about women, young and old, who dress provocatively and cheapen themselves because they do not know their value and worth? The sad reality is that they are looking for love and acceptance, but like the song says, they are looking for love in all the wrong places. This cheap imitation of love is better than no love at all. Chances are they have never had their need for love met, so they try to get it anyway they know how.

So we keep running to people, places and things hoping they will fill our deepest need for love, but we are left continually unsatisfied. It is not wrong to desire to be loved, God created us for love, but it is desperately wrong for us to think that we can get our deepest need for love in anything other than the love of Christ.

Psalm 107:9 declares, “God satisfies the longing soul. He fills the hungry soul with goodness.” In other words, He will not take away our craving for love; instead He satisfies it the right way. Oswald Chambers wrote, “No love of the natural heart is safe unless the human heart has been satisfied by God first.”

Some of us know these truths in our heads but not in our hearts. If you are having a difficult time letting this truth resonate deeply into your heart and soul, it may be that there are some wounded areas that need to be healed so that you can experience the fullness of His radical love for you.

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