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Archive for July, 2012

This is a response I sent to a heartbroken sister. She was so like many I have spoken with, so like myself.  She shared of damaged relationships and expressed a desire for reconciliation.

Dear friend,

I hear your heart and want to wrap in the truth of Psalm 34:8

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I would also like to share with you what my husband and I have learned on our journey, it is this — when others have taken an offense at us and there has been a break in a relationship, it does little or no good to explain ourselves, to defend our choices, or to try to make them understand us, because when there has been a break in relationship, it is often rooted in a break in trust. Whether intended or not, those who are hurt by us have often experienced real pain. Our trying to defend ourselves against what we perceive to be a false perspective on their part only makes matters worse, because they have not chosen to trust us.

During our own times of great pain and confusion I cried out to the Lord many times,

“How could they do this? I don’t understand them.” 

That is when Proverbs 4:7 became a lifeline to me.

“..Though it cost you all you have, get understanding”

At first I told the Lord that I didn’t want to “get understanding”, I just wanted Him to make the ugliness and pain go away.

Then came His compassionate yet firm response:

Proverbs 18:2  A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.  (Yikes!)

So, He corrected my heart, and reminded me that His ways were above my ways, and His kingdom was far more important than my little world; that I did indeed need to seek from Him the understanding for the ones from whom I have felt wounded.

It wasn’t easy.

Sigh…. “Yes Lord, show me their hearts — help me to understand — to see the way You do.”

I began to see beyond my own pain and feelings of rejection. I saw how others had been disappointed — their trust broken and their lives affected by us, unintentionally, yes, but their pain was still very real to them.

We contacted a peacemaking organization, and with the help of their trained mediators, we scheduled a week of reconciliation meetings and sent out invitations to everyone with whom we had broken relationships. We were instructed that the first step was not to “tell our own story,” but to listen to the hearts of those who had been offended. We were directed to try to see from the other’s point of view.

It was hard, very hard, but it was life changing for us.

God showed us that when loved ones or any group of people are separated, both sides feel hurt and offended. The path to restoration starts with one side seeing the conflict from the other’s viewpoint. This understanding fuels love and diminishes defensiveness, which alters the way we relate with the offended ones. This compassion for the other is necessary if there is to be reconciliation.

I cannot tell you that all broken relationships are a sure or easy fix – you may have gained compassionate understanding, but the other side may choose to remain separated, protected from any potential hurt. Circumstances may never change, that is a possibility. This is why the most important thing we are still learning is that our lives are not our own, and achieving our hopes, “godly” or not, can not be our goal. We do belong to Jesus wholesale, and what He directs us to do in His word will bring Him glory even if it does not accomplish what we would wish. 

It is my prayer that what I am sharing with you will be of help. Jesus has been merciful to teach us. We have so much yet to learn, but what He has taught us has brought us great peace.

May it be also for you!

Prov 4:7  Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Prov 8:5  You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding.

Prov 9:6  Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.

Prov 20:5  The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.

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