A relative is distant and angry but refuses your repeated attempts to discuss things.
We're messy, fallen people and our attempts at communication are flawed at best. But we'll never learn godly perseverance if we refuse to respectfully listen to the concerns of friends and family, especially when those concerns are related to how we treat them.(1)
There will always be people who "shut down" relationships by refusing to discuss things, but we should take care not to be those people, even if it means we must continually forgive offenses (Luke 17:3-4).(2)
Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
This sharpening process can be noisy, abrasive and humbling, but it's important in our walk with the Lord, especially when dealing with family.(3)
Have you given up on someone in your life? Please pray about it as you work through the Bible passages below.
Check out these 1-Minute Bible Love Notes for additional thoughts on this subject: Movin On, Get Out of Yourself, and I Remember the Log.
(1) Sometimes big relationship problems can be solved by very small things. But our pride and stubbornness keep us from doing it.
(2) If someone becomes angry, we may need to take a break, letting them know we want to talk when they calm down.
(3) Whether we like it or not, God is the One responsible for placing us in our particular family, and He never does anything without good purposes.
1. What principles can we gain from these passages?
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
This passage shows God's emphasis on relationships. It says nothing about who is right or wrong but simply commands us to be reconciled. The other person may refuse to work things through, but God expects us to pursue reconciliation if it's possible.
Romans 12:18: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Ephesians 4:31-32: Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
2. What caution should we take before trying to talk things through with others?
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
This passage does not mean that we are not to judge another person's behavior. It means we are not to judge them hypocritically, without first judging ourselves. For more understanding of this passage, read "Do Not Judge" and Judge the Sin, Not the Sinner.
copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.blogspot.com