I admit I am offended some of the time. If it is not one stressful person or situation, then it is another that has me concerned. Although I may feel offended at any time, I do not want to develop a default state of being offended. There are odd and bad vibes I get from some people. Spiritual warfare is all around. Both family and friends are involved in the discord.
There are times I feel used. There are times I feel that some of the people I interact and connect with are not authentic. I find this offensive. There are both real and perceived offenses. I find myself having to be more intentional about keeping a positive attitude nowadays.
Some people seem to be increasingly sensitive. They are touchy. I find that I need to carefully watch what I say now more than ever. A simple and true statement may be considered “hate speech” or “discrimination these days.” As always, it is important to watch who I keep company with. Relationships with others bring me joy, but can also bring sorrow and stress that is increasingly challenging to cope with.
To move forward with a positive outlook and healthy perspective, my aim is to also be more intentional about giving people the benefit of the doubt more. I have learned that taking certain measures works well to help maintain my peace, and also work well for the healing process. Other coping methods can hold up progress.
Grudges, bitterness, and unforgiveness weigh me down, are debilitating, and are not pleasing to the Lord. I desire to do things God’s way, including in how I deal with conflict. Doing things God’s way is hard on my flesh, but it is the best way to do things. It is the only way that works.
Here are ten ways I deal with the ups, downs and disappointments in my relationships:
1. Obedience is key. Trusting in and obeying God no matter what is happening is the most important thing. Of course, I am a work in progress with this.
2. Forgive. I need to forgive others for hurting me but give myself time to heal as well. Depending on the offense, I know this is much easier said than done.
It is important for me to remember that my flesh is weak, and we all do and say wrong things. Another thing that helps me to be more understanding with others is when I remember that God is patient and compassionate with me. Therefore, I should be the same way with others.
Just as God loves me, forgives me when I repent, and does not hold grudges against me, I ought to be willing to deal with others in the same way. In fact, I am commanded to. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4 :31-32).
3. Remembering I offend others and am at fault too. To acknowledge that I have also hurt other people is looking at things fairly. I am not perfect, and no other person is. We are flawed, and the adversary takes advantage of our weak flesh at times.
4. Remembering that people are not my real enemy. I remember that other people are not my true enemy. Satan is the enemy, and his influence can manifest through people and in situations. “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6: 11-12.
Remembering this helps me not to target the person with anger, but I remember the source of influence behind their behavior, which is the adversary. Of course, this does not cancel out personal responsibility and accountability. The enemy uses and works through a person when they allow him to.
5. Be angry without sinning. It is important to go ahead and allow myself to be angry about the sin committed against me. However, I am not to hold on to my anger. “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4: 26-27.
6. Look at the good in others. It is important to look on the bright side of things. What good came out of the situation? Also, it is helpful for me to intentionally focus on and appreciate the good traits in people. Often, the positive experiences in a relationship far out-number negative ones. Yet, if I’m not careful, I may fixate on the negatives more.
7. Communicate. If the person is receptive, it is good to communicate to them how I am feeling after a real or perceived offense. I also need to be open to hearing their perspective and offer sincere apology for my own wrongdoings. If the person who has offended me is unrepentant, now I know who I am dealing with.
Some people are too proud to sincerely apologize or own the wrong that they have done. If this is the case, I want to reevaluate the relationship, if a callous, unapologetic attitude remains. Some people need to be wisely kept at a safe distance.
Does anyone else feel that their relationships and other life circumstances are increasingly challenging? How are you coping? Surely, I am not the only one with extra drama lately? If you are not experiencing it, good for you.
8. Love people. I am commanded to love. My love is not to be dependent on people’s performance. “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4: 8. I know God can and does help us, if we so desire it and will ask Him for help. The Holy Spirit empowers me to do what is otherwise impossible to do in my own strength!
9. Look forward to the future. Looking ahead with a positive mindset is beneficial. I realize that glancing back in retrospect is helpful for the learning process, but the main focus should be forward and on moving ahead with great expectations. Let the past be the past. God is still helping me with this.
10. Set goals for improving and maintaining relationships. Do what I can to work with others in accomplishing these goals.
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
John 13: 34-35.
Used with permission from Petrina Ferguson.