This past weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder gave us some valuable advice on how to handle someone who creates anxiety and tension within us. He suggested that, as an alternative to backing away from this person, you should take a step toward them. After all, backing away will just create more tension, anxiety, and difficulties in the relationship.
So, what would this look like if someone says or does something hurtful to you? Instead of talking behind the person’s back, meet them in private, and in a loving way, ask if the perceived hurtful event was intended as such. Another simple way of moving toward someone you’re struggling with is to pray for them… every day. If you cannot do it on your own, ask someone to help keep you accountable. As you continue to pray, trust that God’s love—agape love—will show up.
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.
Ben continued the conversation on moving toward those with whom we are struggling by reminding us to be aware of those who are moving back towards us and those who are not. It is possible to be so concerned about helping or fixing someone, like your kids, your spouse, or your co-workers, that you do the opposite of what you plan. The closer you move toward them, the farther they move away. Recognize who is moving toward you, and invest in those relationships. If you see someone moving away, stop chasing them. You may be pushing them away! Pay attention to how you are relating to them and what you want out of the relationship. Take a step toward peace relationally.
This brings us to our bottom line: Pay attention to HOW as much as WHAT.
2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
This passage is an excellent example of how perfect love shows up. Notice that this verse starts with the word always. This means that no matter what is going on, always be humble, gentle, patient, and kind. As Ben said, put your own oxygen mask on first. In other words, get yourself in check before you try to solve someone else’s issue. You will be ineffective at helping someone if you are full of anxiety. Take a step toward God first.
When you struggle with someone, how do you handle it? Do you distance yourself from them, or do you move closer to them?
Are you mindful of those who are moving toward you and those who are not? Of those who are not, are you pushing them away?
How is love inviting you to show up today?
Take an inventory of your relationships that you know have anxiety and tension. Are you showing others love as God has loved you? If you are not, take time to verify that you are paying attention to how you interact with them as much as what you interact about. Make sure you are showing up and interacting in a loving way, so as not to create anxiety in them.
Dear Father in Heaven, grant me wisdom to see where I need to remain in you. Show me the ways that I can take a step toward someone in patience, gentleness, and kindness. Keep me mindful of who I am and how I can be helpful to others. Help me to be aware of how I show up in people’s lives. In your Son’s name I pray, amen.
This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.
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