“I LOVE conflict!” said no one ever. But, I’ve found out the hard way that evading relational disagreements is worse. The problem will keep growing, expanding, and festering until one day, “BANG!”, it explodes.
Sadly, we have to face the fact that conflict is unavoidable.
God designed us to be in relationship with Him, and with others, and for those connections to be deeply rewarding. But, because of sin, our relationships don’t function perfectly, do they? Friendships can go from marvelous to messy in an instant when we say or do something that hurts other’s feelings, or our friend does the same to us.
Because confrontation is ridiculously uncomfortable, when that happens, we may want to avoid one another, or pretend like nothing happened, which isn’t healthy. Of course, a worse option would be to vent on social media. That’s definitely not a good idea!
We know God desires reconciliation, but how do we make this happen?
The first thing I do is breathe and give myself some distance to think clearly. A response in the heat of the moment may indulge my feelings, but it’s not necessarily what God wants me to say or do. Then, I pray.
Matthew 5:9 says “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (ESV).
How can I be a peacemaker, God? His answer is always humility. In a humbled posture before God, I’m able set aside my desires, admit my inability to restore the situation alone, and ask for His for help. Help to see my own faults and shortcomings and how I may have contributed to the issue. Help in knowing when to talk to my friend, what words to say, for the strength to be a good listener and the grace to forgive. Above all, I ask that His love will prevail, and that He can be glorified in the situation.
Do you need to make peace with someone? God wants to help you. Humble yourself at His feet and allow His love to guide you as you learn to live Wholly Loved.
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Kneeling on a stranger’s carpet, overpriced vacuum hose in hand, I struggled to maintain eye contact. I must have apologized at least half a dozen times—for bothering the poor woman in the first place, for attempting to sell the silly contraption.
For knocking on her door. If only she hadn’t answered.
If only I hadn’t answered that vague ad in the newspaper. Become an independent contractor, they said. Earn thousands in commissions, they said.
Why I ever thought I, a woman who hates rejection, dirt, dust, and talking to strangers, could ever succeed as a door-to-door salesperson is beyond me.
Then again, I didn’t. I quit, and began plotting my resignation by the first house.
I wonder if any of the disciples felt similar when Jesus sent them out, two by two-to share His truth with complete strangers. Granted, they were selling something much more valuable than I was, but still, strangers and religion.
Did that make your stomach dip?
Not only that, but they were to stay with these strangers, as their guests. In their home, presumably for as long as they’d have them. If the strangers were receptive, accepted their message, the disciples were to “let their peace rest on them.” If the homeowners got riled up or kicked the disciples out, they were to shake the dust off their feet. To let no trace of that “rejection” cling to them. (Matthew 10:14)
In other words, they weren’t to allow “rejections” past or present get in the way of their calling. They needed to let them go. So do we. We’ve all experienced rejection, but we don’t have to stay there. The next time someone mistreats or turns their back on you, mentally shake off the dust and move on as you learn to live wholly loved.
We were best friends, and then we weren’t. It was as simple as that. My friend’s mom decided I wasn’t popular enough for her daughter, so we could no longer be friends. As an adult, I see that the situation had nothing to do with me—it was about serious issues with my friend’s mom. But at the time, all I felt was…. rejected.
The pain my middle-school heart felt cut deep. This was personal. I was rejected because of who I was—or rather, who I wasn’t. My young mind—not mature enough to handle the emotional complexity of the situation—concluded I wasn’t good enough. In fact, I felt worthless.
That experience brought my confident, self-assured childhood to a screeching halt. From that day forward, I was different. I desperately wanted to prevent the pain of rejection again, so I guarded my heart in relationships, and avoided situations where I might be told “You didn’t make the team”, or “You’re not right for the job.” I strived to prove my worth through hard work, surmising that I wouldn’t be discarded if I was useful. And, I pridefully elevated myself to positions of authority so I couldn’t be eliminated.
Jesus knew deep rejection. Isaiah 53:3 says, “He was despised and rejected”—that “we turned our backs on him and looked the other way.” Yet, He never wavered—He knew who and whose He was. (NIV)
After inviting Jesus into my heart, I saw that my fear of rejection stemmed from being dependent on the world to define my worth and identity. I was horribly afraid to be rejected because it forced me to come face to face with my deepest fear … that I lacked value.
I overcame that fear by recognizing that my identity and worth are found in Christ, and that I’m God’s created daughter. Nothing God creates is worthless. And should I ever forget, His love letter to me—the Bible—reminds me.
What causes you to fear rejection? Bring it into the healing light of God’s truth today, as you learn to live Wholly Loved.
Translation used: NIV
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.