Making It Right
Relationships are tough sometimes. That's almost as an obvious statement one could make. Any relationship whether it's a dating or marriage or just a friend. It requires time, effort, and sometimes work. But we all know that even the best relationships have bumps in the road so then what?
We know that we're far from perfect people and scripture teaches us that "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23) and well, what that means is we don't always get it right. So when we don't we have to seek to make it right.
Jesus maps out how to navigate relationships pretty clearly here. Too many times in student ministry, well, in adult ministry as well, someone will come up to me and say something about their relationship with someone and immediately I'll stop them. I'll ask them, "before you go any further, have you gone to talk to them?" If the answer is no, which it usually is, I'll bring them back to Matthew 18 and explain this is the best way to handle this because it's the biblical way. If they happen to say yes I'll bring them to verse sixteen and ask if they've gone with two or three others.
You see, in bringing it to me they've effectively "brought it to the church." The best way I've heard this presented is simply:
- Go 1-on-1 with a private conversation
- Go 2-on-1 with a semi-private conversation
- Go church-on-1 with a public confrontation
Now, if you're like me, this is nothing new to you and whether you live this out or not, you've heard it many times. What's got me thinking is what happens to the relationship after this has occurred and things have been "made right," at least seemingly?
The answer is quite simple, at least in writing it. You have to remain engaged in the relationship. You can't think that because you've gone to them and either apologized for something or brought something to their attention the relationship is suddenly restored. The deeper the offense, the harder you're going to have to work to ultimately make things right again. It's interesting that we think we can apologize but yet remain checked out of a relationship and think that things should be better. Yes they've wounded you or perhaps it's the other way around but if the relationship is worth it, you're going to have to put in the effort.
Let me say this another way, to have friends you have to be a friend. We have to come to a place of recognizing our insecurities and woundings will want to hold a grudge or put up walls but that's just separating ourselves from the very people we need in our lives and then we have to audacity to say I have no friends. We are hardwired for relationships and even though we sometimes don't think it, we need people in our lives.
Successful relationships require mutual submission. My hope, as with anything I write, is that you be challenged and to be encouraged. You're not alone in what you face. Spend some time thinking about those relationships that are fragile right now. What do you need to do to begin to make them right again? It's worth it!