“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, & your place in God’s family.”
Relationships are always worth restoring. God wants us to value relationships & make the effort to maintain them instead of discarding them whenever there’s a rift or conflict. If we want God’s blessing on our lives & want to be known as children of God, we must learn to be peacemakers. Jesus said, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God”. Peacemaking is one of the most important skills we can develop; unfortunately, most of us haven’t been taught how to resolve conflict.
Peacemaking isn’t avoiding conflict. On occasion, Jesus provoked it for the good of everyone. Sometimes we need to avoid conflict, sometimes we need to create it, other times we need to resolve it.
Peacemaking isn’t about appeasement. Acting like a doormat is not what Jesus had in mind for us. Jesus refused to back down on many issues, standing his ground in the face of evil opposition.
7 biblical steps to restore fellowship:
Talk to God before talking to the person. Discuss the problem with God, ventilate vertically. If we pray about the conflict first instead of gossiping to a friend, we may discover that either God changes our heart or he changes the other person without our help.
Always take the initiative. It doesn’t matter if we are the offender or the offended: God expects us to make the first move. Acting quickly also reduces the spiritual damage to ourselves. The Bible says sin, including unresolved conflict, blocks our fellowship with God & keeps our prayers from being answered, besides making us miserable.
Sympathize with their feelings. Use our ears more than our mouth. Listening to people’s feelings & focusing on them, lets them unload emotionally without being defensive. People don’t care what we know until they know we care.
Confess your part of the conflict. Begin by admitting our own mistakes or sin. Jesus said it’s the way to see more clearly: “First get rid of the log from your own eye, then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye”. Confession is a powerful tool for reconciliation.
Attack the problem, not the person. We can’t fix the problem if we’re consumed with fixing the blame. For the sake of fellowship, we must destroy our arsenal of weapons, including condemning, belittling, comparing, labeling, insulting, condescending, & being sarcastic.
Cooperate as much a possible. Peace always has a price tag. Sometimes it costs our pride, most often it costs our self-centeredness. Lets do our best to compromise, adjust to others, & show preference to what they need.
Emphasize reconciliation, not resolution. We can’t all agree. We can reestablish a relationship even when we’re unable to resolve our differences. Reconciliation focuses on the relationship, while resolution focuses on the problem. God expects unity, not uniformity.
Warren asks us whom do we need to contact as a result of this chapter? With whom do we need to restore fellowship? He asks us not to delay, to talk to God about that person. Then pick up the phone & begin the process, these simple 7 steps. It’s not easy, that’s why Peter urged “Work hard at living in your peace with others.”
Question to Consider: Who do I need to restore a broken relationship with today? There are a few, one in particular—and I will use the 7 steps Warren urges us to use. Once assigned the task, I realize its more daunting than just reading about restoring broken fellowship.
* We will be writing about what inspires us from each consecutive chapter of Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. If you read along with us, please share your inspirations. There’s no need to catch up, just jump right in.