“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18
That is a simple statement, but loaded with implications. There is so much more depth than this amount of words usually provides. But the fingers are far reaching and can radically impact pieces of our lives we didn’t see at first.
Relationships are something worth fighting for. What we often do is fight in relationship, not for relationship — a profound difference. Here are some tactics to use when fighting for relationship:
- Fighting to understand the other side is better than fighting to be right. It is a hopeless battle when people go round and round trying to prove their own point. Try to understand where the other person is coming from. Then you will be able to address the real issue rather than addressing peripheral issues.
- Speaking the truth of your feelings poorly is better than keeping your feelings to yourself. Jesus said it is the truth that will set you free. Some have tried to teach that the truth is a person. While that is one application, that is not what Jesus said. What He said is, the truth will set you free. As long as we hold onto issues, we will never have a real relationship. We have to deal with them and let them go. Fighting for a false relationship is exhausting, and it will self-destruct in the long run. Anytime one side or both sides of a relationship lose the ability to be honest, the end of that relationship is inevitable.
- Dealing with questionable situations singularly is better than lumping several actions into one potentially false assumption. We all know what we do when we assume. It is especially true when we have an assumption about someone and then try to read all other actions through that assumption. Pretty soon, the other person can’t even walk across the street right.
- Owning my part before making them own theirs is better than making sure I have made my point before I take any ownership. The goal of fighting for relationship is restoring the relationship, not being right. Both sides will have valid points. And both sides will be wrong. Accepting that and owning my piece is a mark of maturity.
- Traveling light emotionally is better than allowing bitterness to take root. Forgive quickly. Don’t hold onto issues from the past. Deal with problems sooner than later. Hurt feelings are the opposite of plants — they grow in the dark. Bringing them out into the sunlight helps them die.
Much more could be added to this list. What would you add?
May you be found fighting for relationships. May you be the champion of conflict resolution. And may you be a living example of what it truly means to live at peace with everyone.