Day 16 – Don’t complain, confront

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Proverbs 28:23 New Living Translation (NLT)

23 In the end, people appreciate honest criticism
    far more than flattery.

Hello Beloved,

Yesterday, we spoke about confronting problems. Today… people! I know that makes a lot of us nervous, but there is a perfect way to go about it. It’s perfect in that it’s how Christ showed us to confront. We feel the need to confront because there is a conflict. The ultimate conflict is to be separated from God. Let’s see how God handled this and use it as our guide.

2 Corinthians 5:18 King James Version (KJV)

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Therefore, we are to confront with the goal of reconciliation not retaliation, to “win”, or just to get it off your chest. Address the situation without attacking the person. I’ve read so many social media posts and post article comments that are entirely insults or start out making a good point but add in an insult. The person/s with an opposing view isn’t reached. The conflict is still there.

But now it’s bigger.

I’ve also seen posts where there was respectful disagreement. There may not have been an agreed resolution but relationships stayed intact. Also, those involved were able to confront instead of just complain. I’ve participated in both, usually regretting the former and learning from the latter. Don’t get me wrong, the end result isn’t always peachy. However, I rest in knowing I’m following my Guide and hopefully planting a seed.

Hebrews 12:11 New King James Version (NKJV)

11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Before approaching the person, it’s time for a heart check. Even if I’m 100% right, (this is rare and maybe never) it doesn’t matter unless I’m humble. I find this is best done through prayer and supplication.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 

 I get the most success when stating the goal at the beginning of the conversation. It follows God’s way of declaring the end from the beginning. And thanks to some regrettable moments and the current political environment, I seek to know more of His way to confront. 

In  Matthew 18:15 New Living Translation (NLT)

15 “If another believer[a] sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.

Galatians 6:1 New King James Version (NKJV)

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

Philippians 2:3-4 New King James Version (NKJV)

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Regardless, if our efforts are well received or we get fussed out or lose a relationship, forgiveness is the next step. (I have had to make a real conscious effort to do this many times!)

It’s awfully hard to complain and forgive at the same time.

Be well, Beloved! 

Day 11 – When you’re married to your thorn …

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2 Corinthians 12:8-9 New King James Version (NKJV)

8 Concerning this thing [thorn] I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 

Well hello Beloved,

As you can see from the title, I have put my big girl pants on! You have no doubt heard about or experienced first hand the labor involved with marriage. The fear of this labor has led many to remain unmarried. The experience of this labor has led many to flee.

And then there’s the rest of us.

We’re in it and determined – most days or maybe just some days. Nevertheless, we’re in it. Many have documented there are three aspects of marriage that cause the most turmoil – communication, sex, and finance. Today, I’m just going to focus on communication. I have a pearl to share with you that hopefully helps you complain less or stop complaining altogether with how your spouse communicates.

We’ve often heard the very things that attracted us to our spouse are what serve as repellent in later years.

Her ability to listen becomes “Why don’t you talk to me?”

Her ability to speak her mind turns into  “I wish she would shut up!”

His outgoing nature and ability to make friends with anyone becomes “I wish he wasn’t so friendly with everyone, especially other women.”

His ability to save money turns into “I wish he wasn’t so cheap!”

What’s initially seen as a complement to our nature becomes a thorn. Thankfully, there’s an explanation for the pain and how to escape it in Mark 10.

Mark 10:6-9 New King James Version (NKJV)

6 But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Did you see it? I’ve often erroneously thought the “let not man separate” applied to an outside person but most successful thwarts are inside jobs. Who is on the inside? – the husband and wife. How do they separate? By assuming the posture of being two instead of one.

For too long, I wasted time and energy being upset that my husband didn’t see the concerns I saw. I questioned his methods when they didn’t make sense to me. What I forgot to realize was that we are one flesh.

If I think it, he doesn’t have to.

If he and I have the same thoughts, feelings, concerns, we’ll eventually see no need to come together. I won’t need his input and vice versa. We would function independently of one another with no need for the other because what the spouse offers the other already has. In other words, we would live as two.

But marriage is a beautiful gift.

It’s a gift of sharing one’s life with another in complementary fashion not supplementary fashion.

It’s a + not =

At times, the conflicting natures feel like a thorn but in it there’s grace and strength. The more I accept this the less I complain.

Be well, Beloved. Be well!