Day 20: Restoring Broken Fellowship

Don’t you hate it when you sit in church and the pastor says something and you feel like it’s aimed straight at you? Or when you flick open the bible and verse leaps out saying, “This is what you need to do, and you know it!” Well, I just had one of those moments..

I have a lovely friend who I’m in leadership with and, well, we just haven’t been communicating enough about the best way to run things and how everything’s going. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that a lack of communication is a sure-fire way to develop conflict and misunderstanding – especially when you’re working together on a project.

When it comes to conflict, I’m like just about everyone I know: I HATE the stuff. Abhor it. Fortunately, my friend and I haven’t swapped any unkind words but the undertones are beginning to get.. louder.. so we must deal with it now before it turns into something nasty.

These are the fabulous nuggets of advice Rick Warren offered in Chapter 20 of The Purpose Driven Life (TPDL) on rebuilding community:

  1. Talk to God before talking to the person. Genius! God has a nack of fixing things when we bring them to Him.. I guess He’s had a fair bit of experience over the years.
  2. Always take the initiative. It’s always hard to make the first step, but God expects that we, as His people, will be bold and courageous and face the problems, not run. Best of all, He’s with us! Another thing, don’t let it fester: In conflict, time heals nothing; it causes hurts to fester. Note to self – ring said friend TODAY!
  3. Sympathise with their feelings. Everyone’s feelings can get a bit out of control whenever conflict is about so we need to validate each other’s feelings, whether we agree with what they’re saying or not. Hmm. I must remember to LISTEN.
  4. Confess your part of the conflict. It’s never very hard to find where I’ve contributed to a conflict.. if it’s not blatantly staring me in the face, God is usually pretty happy to fill me in! I know I haven’t been communicating enough with my friend in this relationship. Instead of suggesting meeting up for a chat, I’ve been waiting for her to do it. Sounds silly and immature hey? Isn’t hindsight useful?!
  5. Attack the problem, not the person. According to TPDL, the most important thing is that we choose our words wisely, speak them gently and deal with the issue maturely.. not start insulting eachother.
  6. Cooperate as much as possible. Argumentative people are so annoying right?! Now it’s my turn to make sure I’m not one of them. TPDL explains that peace always has a price tag and that sometimes the cost is our pride.
  7. Emphasize reconciliation, not resolution. They both sounded pretty much the same to me, but apparently reconciliation focuses on the relationship (which is the priority and must be saved/healed) and resolution is all about the problem. In other words, our priority must be the health of the relationship, not being proven right.

Pretty wise counsel hey. I’ll be calling on it during the next few days as I work to strengthen the relationship.

This verse sums everything up nicely:

Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody. Romans 12:18

Thanks for joining me as I journey the The Purpose Driven Life book. I can’t believe we’re already halfway through! I’d love to hear your thoughts about what I’ve written and feel free to add your own experiences. Have a nice day :o)

PLEASE NOTE: Quotations in this and other posts relating to The Purpose Driven Life (usually entitled Day:?) are sourced from The Purpose Driven Life book by Rick Warren unless otherwise stated. This is an independant study and is based on my opinion and experience only. Copies of The Purpose Driven Life book are available for purchase from all good christian books stores, including Koorong. The first seven chapters of the book can be downloaded FREE from Rick Warren’s official site here.

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