The title of this tool is a play-on-words. It is built upon the last tool we learned. We looked at 12 words that can heel relationships: I am wrong. I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you.
In our last lesson we concluded this is what to do. Now we will learn how to put this together for an effective delivery. Remember, the best way to defeat the enemy is to make a friend of them.
The A, B, Cs for Handling Communication Breakdowns
These are the two primary ways people handle communication breakdowns.:
Avoidance. Psalm 55:6-8, was a plan devised by King David:
“And I said, Oh, that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. I would hasten my escape from he windy storm and tempest.”
Blame shifting. This is the oldest form of problem solving. We find our first example in Scripture in Genesis 3:12-13:
“And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat.”
Both avoidance and blame shifting are ineffective ways of dealing with unresolved issues. Neither will delay the inevitable but will make resolution more difficult to attain.
Adam, and all mankind, has paid a severe penalty for blame shifting. The Apostle Paul points this out as recorded in Romans 5:12: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
However, as we follow the narrative of David in Psalm 55, we see he learned a better way as recorded in verses 16 and 22:
“As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me.”
This is not a salvation passage. In this verse the Hebrew word, yaw-shah means to be open, wide or free (by implication) to be safe. There is safety in not avoiding resolution - at least with God.
In verses 6 through 8, David was plagued with the Big “I”. Note he used this first person personal pronoun five times. But in verse 22, after giving the matter to “the Lord” he is now speaking in the third person personal pronoun: “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”
How would God have us handle a breakdown In communication?
The C of the A, B, C’s is Confront. But who makes the first move?
Biblically speaking, two Christians at odds with one another should literally bump into each other on the way to reconciling. We are thus admonished to do so in II Corinthian 5:18: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”
If a Believer is at odds with a non-believer, it is always the Believers responsibility to take the first step to reconciliation. Review our previous lesson wherein we expounded on Matthew 5:23-24 and 18:15-18.
This is a calculated, that is, a well-planned approach that must be under girded with prayer. If appropriate, this should have prayer support from others if in doing so does not constitute a violation of the other person’s privacy.
Step One: State the case in a non-accusing manner. This is where the term a negative approach enters this approach. Example: “I do not know what I have done to create this problem between us.”
Step Two: In this statement you are accepting your percent of wrong in this matter. Remember, no one can be 100% right or wrong.
Step Three: Ask, “What can I do to make things right between us?”
This is an essential part in moving toward reconciliation. Do not tell the other person what they must do to make things better.
Many have balked at this approach saying, “I would get slaughtered if I put myself at the other person’s mercy.” No so. There are safe guards in this Bible-based method of settling matters. Two mindsets protect the one seeking to reconcile.
First, there is no right way to do the wrong thing. Don’t commit to doing wrong. Second, as a Believer I will not do anything illegal, immoral, unethical or un-biblical. If the person with whom you seek reconciliation requires you violate these principles decline to do so, but you can still continue this plan.
There are at least three responses you can expect. Knowing these will help you maintain your composure and press toward reconciliation.
You’re right; you’re wrong. If this is your response, simply follow up with the question, “How so?” or “Why so?” Either question can lead to gaining further information on which to continue a discussion.
You are not totally wrong. From this response, the same two questions, “How so?” or “Why so?” can advance the conversation in a positive direction.
It isn’t you; it is me.” Obviously this is the response we want to hear. However, this isn’t the end of the conversation. It is an opportunity to fine tune the relationship, but not with a haughty spirit.
Remember the biblical admonition found in Ephesians 4:32: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
In review, this is a positive approach in restoring relationships. Be convicted this is the step for you to take. Pray. Write your statements to be certain you are saying exactly what you need/want to say. Pray for the Holy Spirit to prepare you to deliver the message and for the intended receiver to hear you out.
Next Time:Practicing Living Principles from the Living Word in Marriage
Rev. Thomas (Tom) C. Lacy, Advisory Board Member of the Virginia Christian Alliance and Founder and Director, of New Hope Counseling Service.