Spiritual Growth and Understanding

Who Are You Talking To?

The closest of family, friends, and loved ones will occassionally have disagreements. The words and actions we use in handling conflicts tests the depths of how we truly value our loved ones in being apart of our lives. We can choose to focus on the issue at hand in sharing our grievances with those we care about, or we can choose to focus through acting from emotion solely on the individual in throwing some shady low blows. The way we respond in handling conflicts, grievances, and challenging times with others can make or break a relationship. We must not forget who we are talking to, the connection, and the value that the person brings into our lives before lashing out in a whirlpool of harsh words along with contentious behaviors that we can’t take back severing the relationship beyond repair.

Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace. Proverbs 15: 18

The Infamous Fallout

No one likes a fallout. The fallout is a game changing shift in a relationship that very few relationships bounce back from. There are fallouts that were preventable, yet one or both parties acted from a place of emotion with an unwillingness to give in with agreeing to disagree of small things. There are also those fallouts that happen when one or both parties have allowed hidden grievances to settle in with deep seated resentment from not establishing boundaries through words and actions that were ticking time bombs that only needed the slightest trigger for one party to explode. I am ashamed to admit it, but I can say in honesty that I’ve experienced my fair share of fallouts that I wished turned another direction. I’ve had some very hurtful fallouts that left lasting stings that impacted me in ways in distancing myself from connecting with others in establishing trust that I still pray about in overcoming. You sit down after the thick of things analyzing what transpired from someone you once loved, respected, trusted, and enjoyed asking,” How did it come to this? ” You think, “Wow, we were so close!”

Do not take revenge on others or continue to hate them, but love your neighbors as you love yourself. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19: 18

Here are a few ways we neglect our relationships allowing them to manifest to nasty, awkward, and ugly fallouts that aren’t of God.

  • The Big Fight : Oh, my this is when we really want someone to have it by telling the “tea” of how we secretly felt about them all along. This is a more combative approach in handling conflict.We add a little sting when we share with them how others think negatively about them to hurt them in a bigger blow. It’s pettiness at best, and this one always ends ugly!
  • The Coward Ghost Move : This is when we just cut a once close friend or loved one out of our lives cold turkey without attempting to discuss any grievances we may have had with them to lead up to our decision to ditch them.We choose to have the control with the upper leverage in not giving them the opportunity for a rebuttal in commentary. ” If they really cared than they wouldn’t have done what they did to get kick out of our lives,” we tell ourselves in comfort of our truly passive aggressive actions. We excuse our behavior in our acceptable go too labeling the person as either toxic, dramatic, crazy, or all three. It works out perfectly until we randomly see the person somewhere out and about.
  • Deflecting & Causing Shame : This is when one party through possible pride, stubbornness, and unwillingness to effectively handle conflicts chooses to not take full ownership of their actions within a disagreement using deflection as a defense mechanism. There is usually a back in fourth in not truly addressing the real issue at hand. There’s also the reverse move of blaming the other person for causing them to “act” or respond in the way the person did. The person may as well magnify through dramatization an offense or perceived offense in shaming the other party in not taking full responsibility of ownership for their actions in deflection in conflict.
  • The Bandwagon of Ostracism : This is when we include others to join in our cause on our offense, grievance, or negative feelings towards others in creating alliances through dissension with the intent to blackball our target. We also can join the bandwagon of someone we know cause in a distorted loyalty in a conflict without having full understanding of why they have an issue with someone in the first place. Simply put, it’s cruel adult bullying.
  • Stonewalling: We may stonewall in a blatant refusal to see the other party’s perspective in never addressing the issue in being completely dismissive in bringing no resolution.

These behaviors prevent us in handling conflicts assertively through healthy intervention. In Layman’s terms, if you truly care, value, and respect a loved one or a friend you wouldn’t act in any of the ways mentioned above in honoring the relationship through challenging situations.

Burned Bridges

I can recall the elders in my life saying, “Don’t burn your bridges!” It simply means be very careful in how you respond to others in valuing relationships. I know the heartache of burned bridges even if it was not the best relationship that needed to end, and I’ve regretted most if not all of those that I’ve ever experienced. I don’t think we need to walk on eggshells in surface communication with others, but I know from personal experience that we give ourselves a major disservice in handling situations through continuously contentious actions. Although, dealing with difficult family members can be challenging most families seem to come together possibly due to obligations despite it being tense for special occasions or tragedy. Our interpersonal relationships outside of family are quicker for us to dismiss because there is no obligation to maintain them, so we often take those relationships for granted. Our co-workers aren’t obligated to connect with us beyond work. Our neighbors technically aren’t obligated to wave to us to speak. No one is obligated to establish or maintain a friendship with us. We shouldn’t use the unobligation of our personal relationships for us to take them for granted in being careless in how we handle them. We also shouldn’t feel entitled that any relationship should be maintained if we act negative, neglectful, and in nuisance towards others in ungodly ways. The relationships we have in our lives add value. We can best value the relationships in our lives in seeing them as ways of us applying God’s grace, respect, courtesy, and his love. Relationships matter despite the growing popularity of being dismissive. We should live our lives with as little collateral damage in burned bridges.

Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead, be kind and tender- hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ. Ephesian 4 : 31-32

Why did you say that?

My son shared his first breakup over middle school love. I could tell he really liked the young lady because before than he shared so many positive things about her to me. He bragged about his crush’s intelligence, dedication to school, how she loved God, and her gorgeous natural curls. The relationship lasted the usual few weeks of connections that age, but it ended ugly. He was heartbroken, and he shared that he said the coldest thing he could to her to hurt her in the way she made him feel through rejection. I asked him did he mean what he said honestly. He said he didn’t, but he wanted her to feel the sting that she left him. I asked did he genuinely like her as a person. He said he did, and I told him that he forgot who was talking to in lashing out in anger in not giving the possibility for them to even be friends. He apologized for his actions wholeheartedly, and he later shared with me happily that they decided to be good friends. He learned a lesson that I myself learned years later that how we handle conflict with our loved ones uncovers more about our character than it does in exposing the person that offended us along with the conflict.

  • T.H.I.N.K. Before You Speak
  • Go In Prayer In Being Proactive Instead Of Reactive

A hot tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. Proverbs 15:18

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