Getting Reconciliation Wrong
I hate conflict. I know for those that listen to the podcast you may think that I thrive on it. I do enjoy a certain level of fun with conflict when it is fun or good-natured, but hate it when it turns ugly. I recently found myself in the midst of conflict—for two and a half years. At my core, I hated it. It was unspoken, but felt by everyone around. By the grace of God there was an opportunity for reconciliation. I would love to say that it started off well and went off without a hitch. Unfortunately, it didn’t. The fault wasn't with the other individual, but with me.
I knew we would be meeting, and after we met I was out the door believing that I had done nothing more than waste my time. Looking back on that initial conversation, I see three things I did wrong.
Don’t Be Aggressive
I went into that meeting with my fists swinging. My posture was not humble or contrite. Instead I was seeking to be vindicated. Going in with a posture of aggession left no room for discussion and honest reflection. My posture didn’t give the other individual the assurance and confidence that they would be heard. It showed that I wouldn't be able to see just how I had offended and hurt them.
Don’t Be Defensive
Not only were my fists swinging, but they were up and ready to defend any accusation that came my way. I should have gone in ready to listen to anything and everything this person had to say. I should have been ready to repent of how I had hurt them and ask for forgiveness. But, I didn’t. At each point of disagreement I tried to defend myself right away and show them how (at least how I perceived) them to be wrong. I should’ve come in with a posture of silence. Letting this be a time for listening and not responding. It had been two and a half years. The best move would have been to keep my mouth shut and my ears open.
Don’t Be Disbelieving
The worst posture I had was not believing that reconciliation was possible. Despite my personal prayers, despite asking my friends and family to pray, I didn’t truly believe that God would work on my or their heart. I had practiced nothing more than empty faith, using empty prayers with empty words. True prayer believes that despite the current circumstance, despite the current hopelessness, despite the current conflict, that God is able to move in hearts in such a way that I would never expect.
Thankfully, despite doing everything wrong, God was gracious. After leaving the room and walking around for a few minutes, I began to feel convicted. The Holy Spirit pointed out areas in my heart and attitude that needed adjusting. I swallowed my pride and walked back into the room. Not only was God gracious, but so was the individual. I didn't deserve a second chance but they gave it to me. We were able to get the reconciliation process started. It will be a long process but one that I am looking forward to. I got reconciliation wrong in the first encounter. But the Lord, and this person gave me a second chance. I'm not going to get it wrong again.
Jimmy is an elder candidate and the executive pastoral assistant at Redeemer Fellowship in St. Charles, IL. He and his wife have been married for over 10 years and have three children. You can connect with Jimmy on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.