Broken relationships and worry seem to go hand in hand.
If you did an inventory of what worries you most, you might find that relationships rise to the top of the list.
During this week, I’ve tried to give steps–both biblical and practical–to overcome your worries. Today we deal with step four. This may be the most difficult step of all.
Step One: Trust Your Father.
Step Two: Replace Anxiety with Prayer.
Step Three: Write Your Worry Down and Do Something About It.
Step Four: Repair Hurtful Relationships.
Think of the things Jesus talked about. One of those topics at the first of the list is relationships. He taught us to forgive and start over. He reminded us that forgiveness is not natural to us but is at the very heart of who God is.
How can we repair hurtful relationships?
First, we can pray the Father. I find tremendous strength when I pray for right words to speak and for a soft, receptive heart by the person with whom I have difficulty.
We often want to confront, and sometimes we should. But confrontation should not be our default setting. Not many of us want to be “confronted.” That should tell us that most people don’t respond well to being confronted. Prayer will let us know when confrontation is the key or when we should use a soft word. Remember, soft words turn away wrath.
These are opening lines I find helpful. “I want us to get along.” “I’m afraid I’ve hurt you, and I want you to forgive me.” “I’m so sorry.” “There’s something that has hurt our friendship.”
Second, we can be the catalyst to bring about reconciliation. Having prayed about the issue, we can ask for a time to “understand and be understood.” Our faith should make us take the first crucial step for reconciliation.
A word of caution: don’t do this by email or text, or even with a phone call. Real reconciliation has to be face to face.
Third, we can confess our sin and ask forgiveness when we are the offender and forgive when we are the one who has been hurt. I’ve often said: if two people are going to get along, someone has to be big enough to say I’m sorry and someone has to be big enough to forgive.
Fourth, we can remember that forgiveness and reconciliation are two way streets. Paul reminded us that we can’t make reconciliation take place by ourselves: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). While you can’t determine how the other person acts, you can determine to do your best to please the heavenly Father.
Finally, we can determine to do our best whether the other person does his/her best or not. “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink” (Romans 12:20). In spite of everything else, we can determine to act like our Father in heaven.
Thanks for reading these posts on worry. If you find them helpful, please pass them along to others.