Relationship Advice When You Are Offended - guest post by Melanie Redd
Since we've been discussing relationships throughout the month of February, I asked my friend, Melanie Redd, to share her insights. Melanie has something to say to each of us, straight from the Word. She is a powerful women's ministry leader, blogger, and teacher —she is also a fellow Tennessee girl. She is full of wisdom and I hope you will not only be blessed by her words, but bless her with your support.
It was one of the most uncomfortable situations I’ve ever been in.
We were taking part in a weeklong revival in our church. The theme on this particular evening was forgiveness.
At the end of the service, the speaker encouraged people to make things right with anyone they needed to—even within the church community.
There was no one in particular that came to my mind. So, I gathered my belongings and begin to walk out of the auditorium with my family. Before I could get to the back of the room, a young mom approached me.
Honestly, I had no idea why she was coming to me. But, I soon found out!
In earnest, she began to apologize for being angry with me for over a year. She felt I’d wronged one of her family members, and for months she had been furious with me. I had no idea.
On this particular evening, she wanted me to know that she was forgiving me. I told her I was so sorry and explained that I was surprised by the whole situation.
After only a few moments, she rather abruptly walked away.
Truthfully, I was stunned and I felt awful.
I remembered the incident that upset her, but I never perceived things as she had perceived them. Further, I had no idea that she or her family was upset or hurt by my actions. They’d all been angry for over a year!
Of course, I quickly spoke to her family member and sought to make reparations. It was a huge misunderstanding, and we eventually got things sorted out.
However, the whole situation was so unpleasant and handled so strangely.
They happen all of the time in our relationships. All of God’s children will have moments in life when there is confusion, conflict, and frustration with other people
So, what do we do?
Is there a best course of action to take when you find yourself misunderstood by another person?
What should you do when you are hurt by another’s words, choices, or actions?
Here are 5 steps you can take to reconcile and rebuild a relationship after a misunderstanding:
First, if possible, try to clarify what you heard or experienced.
Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, we over react. One good night of sleep may help us to see things more clearly.
Truly, take a deep breath. Think it over. Make sure you heard what you heard and experienced what you experienced. Clarify. Ponder well before you respond.
Second, pray through this situation.
Talk it over with the Lord and consider a few questions:
Can you let this go?
Must you confront, or can you give this one to God?
Is it really worth your time and energy to enter in a discussion about it?
Can you forgive the offense and allow God to deal with the person?
Can you take the high road and give them grace?
Recently, we were in a situation where a man greatly hurt my husband and me. We were completely shocked by his actions and decisions, and didn’t know how to respond.
After much discussion and prayer, we decided that we had to pray and let it go—giving him over to Almighty God to handle. This didn’t happen overnight. We had to wrestle in prayer for months.
But, each time we let it go in prayer, an incredible peace flooded our hearts. Today, I can tell you that we are no longer hurt, angry, or offended. And, we never had to speak to this man about the offense.
Let it go if you can. But, if you cannot let it go, you may need to set up a time to talk to the person who has hurt you.
Third, take steps to go and talk to this person one on one.
Matthew 18:15 instructs us in this way, If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.
A few best practices:
Pray over what you will say.
Write it out if needed.
Choose a neutral place to talk – church, coffee shop.
Take deep breaths before you begin.
Try to stick with “I” statements. For example, “I got my feelings hurt when…”
Fourth, if needed, after the first conversation, take 2-3 others with you to resolve the misunderstanding.
Matthew 18:17 tells us, But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to involve other wise people as mediators. Maybe you can ask a pastor, teacher, and an older friend to join you.
Indeed, I’ve seen this practice work well in many cases. However, there are times when resolution cannot be reached.
Finally, if you cannot resolve the issue, then you may want to involve the church.
Matthew 18:18 instructs us, If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church.
This is a last resort. But, the Bible teaches that we may need to involve the church to help.
Personally, I’ve never seen this happen, but it is biblical.
A Final Thought
Ultimately, our goal is reconnect with other people—to find restoration and healing.
Think of your broken relationship as a large river over which you are trying to build a bridge. Build the bridge and then walk to the middle—inviting the other person to join you there. You can’t force them to meet you, but you can make every effort to be reconciled.
Romans 12:16 tells us, If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
We do everything we can to make things right with God and with others. Then, we must move on—trusting God to handle the rest.
Melanie is a Christian blogger, Motivational Speaker and Author. She’s written four books and has a brand new book coming out in April – Live in Light: 5-Minute Devotions for Teen Girls.
She’s married to Randy for the past 28 years and serving alongside him in ministry.
Additionally, she’s mom to two awesome young adults.
God’s grace never ceases to amaze her.
To learn more about Melanie, you can find her blog at MelanieRedd.com!
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Don't we all want a little peace? My heart for this community is to provide just that - a needed refuge from all the burdens that weigh us down, some encouragement and inspiration to keep us weary travelers moving forward on our journeys, and some practical advice to help each of us navigate the challenges of life and relationships. Whether in our parenting, our marriages, our faith, or the broken places in our hearts, this place is for anyone who dares to reach beyond the hopelessness that surrounds us and embrace a lifestyle of emotional abundance and peace!
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