We’ve been talking about How to Mend Broken Relationships. I wrote in my last post about some questions you can ask yourself about the relationship as a means of taking inventory. I hope you had a chance to be honest with yourself as you answered those questions. If you didn’t here’s the link.
The next step in the process is to take ownership of your own stuff. What part did you play in the breach of the relationship? Were you insensitive? uncaring? harsh? unresponsive? unkind? If none of those fit, what about your attitude? Were you stubborn, rigid, judgmental, suspicious, unyielding, self-righteous? If you can’t seem to identify with any of these what can you own as your contribution?
As a marriage counselor for over twenty years, I heard many stories of broken relationships. Many times couples came in with, what to them, was a one-sided view of the problem. Basically, it was the “other” person’s fault for the trouble they were in. Although, there were circumstances that appeared as though one of the parties was the major offender, I never found the other person without some responsibility in the break-down of the relationship. There’s a great verse I’ve relied upon, not only in counseling others, but in my own marriage as well. When I’m prone to blame my husband for the entirety of a hurtful situation, I’m reminded of 1 John 1:8:
"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."
Whenever I try to justify myself and place all the blame elsewhere, I realize I’m deceiving myself. There is always something I have contributed to a broken relationship. Sometimes it may take awhile for me to recognize and own my part, but usually the Spirit of God has a way of letting me know that I have something to own.
Next, is one of the hardest steps-the need to take action. Why is it so hard for us to initiate reconciliation? I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s pride. Often I spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on the wrong of the other person involved and obsess over how they’ve done me wrong. When I’ve finally see my part and own it, I still tend to compare my “insignificant” contribution to the other person’s flagrant disregard. I sometimes have to spend hours or days journaling about the broken relationship before I’m willing to listen to God’s prompting to take action.
Just recently, I had to make something right with someone that I had slighted years ago. I don’t know why her name kept coming up, after all these years, but I knew God was prompting me to take action. I called her and apologized for my attitude and my hurtful words that were spawned out of my own arrogance and pride. She was surprised to hear my voice since it had been several years, and I ended up having to remind her of our previous conversation. I sometimes wonder why the Spirit has me revisit those places–but that is for another post! I apologized to her for my words, my pride and asked for her forgiveness. She did remember the incident, but she was receptive and kindly accepted my apology. After I hung up, I felt clean. I’m not sure I can really describe the feeling, but it just felt as though there was a washing in my soul. It was a good feeling, one that I might have missed had I stayed stuck in my self-righteous justification. I’m so thankful that God doesn’t leave me there, even when I try to make a case for myself. Jesus paid the price for our sins, but He calls us to make it right with one another.
Is God bringing someone to your mind right now? Is He asking you to take some ownership and follow it up with action? It may be a phone call, an in-person acknowledgment, or a letter.
Don’t delay if you feel that prompting-come clean.