Repair the Damage with Something Positive

by Erin Bird

Let’s finish up our four-week series on “How to Reconcile Relationships.” We’ve been using Dr. Emerson Eggerich’s B.L.U.R. principle, which means so far we have talked about:

B – Believe in their Good Will
L – Lower Your Heart Rate
U – Understand to be Understood

That leaves us with the R – Repair the Damage with Something Positive.

It’s the Little Things that Count

If you’ve ever been in a disagreement with someone, it is very possible that you said or did something that hurt them. Despite what the children’s taunt says, words can hurt. Counselors make a living because of the past words hurled and actions unleashed upon their clients.

That’s why, to complete the reconciliation process, you need to do something positive for or to the other person. This isn’t about emotional bribery, but rather another step to let the other person know you care for them and the relationship is valuable to you.

I remember in our first year of marriage, LeAnn and I were having a “disagreement.” I have no recollection what the conflict was over, but I do remember it being our first big fight ever. My personality does not enjoy conflict, so my natural inclination in those stressful moments is to run, avoid, or minimize. And as much as I hate to admit it, on my worst days, I might say something cruel, trying to shut the other person down and make the conflict stop (sort of like a knock-out punch). So when my very intelligent wife was making her case, I remember wanting to run out the door or hurl hurtful words that would make it all stop. But not only did something in me hold me in place and keep me quiet, I felt like I needed to just go hug LeAnn.

And it worked. She melted into my arms. I reassured her I loved her and she said the same back. After that simple embrace, we were able to continue the conversation at a much lower volume with reduced heart rates.

I don’t tell the story to make me sound like the hero. (I genuinely believe it was God’s Spirit helping me, making Him the hero.) I tell the story because I’ve personally seen how you can repair the damage with something positive. A gentle touch, reassuring words, a simple gift, a sincere apology, or even a bit of appropriate humor can help the other person realize you still care for them and the relationship is going to survive this tumultuous moment or season.

Because He First Loved Us

repair damage positive2 350x196 - Repair the Damage with Something PositiveAfter all, this is what Jesus did for our relationship with Him. He repaired our damaged relationship with God by doing something positive for us – dying on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. He showed His love for us by paying our cosmic penalty, doing what we could not do, so that our relationship with our Creator could be reconciled.

That’s why the Apostle John told his readers to “love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7) God showed His love for us first, not waiting for us to deserve it or earn it or showed we loved Him. Rather, he made the first step. And so because God loves us so extravagantly, we are to love those around us (1 John 4:19), following in His footsteps. Which means if God didn’t wait for us when He made the action to repair our damaged relationship with Him, then we should do the same in our strained relationships and take the first step to repair the damage with something positive.

Humorous Cautions

Above, I mentioned one way to “repair the damage” is to use humor. But let me make a few cautionsif you try to repair the damage with a joke:

#1. Never make your attempt to relieve the tension at the expense of the other person. In the heat of the moment, no one likes to be teased. If you are going to “tease” anyone, make fun of yourself.

#2. Avoid sarcasm. Some people find sarcasm funny, but when a relationship is strained, it doesn’t come across as caring, rather just the opposite.

#3. Try not to laugh when the other person is talking. This will make them feel like you aren’t taking them seriously, which will only damage the relationship further. You want them to know you care and value the relationship, so don’t laugh at them (unless they beat you to the “punch” and repair the damage with their own humor!)

A True Apology

Lastly, a very effective way to “repair the damage” is with a sincere apology. But for an apology to be truly accepted, you CAN’T…

  • …shift the blame – “I’m so sorry, but if you hadn’t _________ then I wouldn’t have…”
  • …tarnish the other person – “I’m so sorry, but it’s not like you haven’t done worse…”
  • …turn yourself into a victim – “I’m sorry I said that, but what you yelled at me really hurt…”
  • …minimize their feelings – “I’m sorry I hurt you, but what I said wasn’t really that bad…”
  • …make God on your side – “I’m sorry you feel that way, but after I praying about this I needed to say it…”

Instead, a true apology owns your mistakes, doesn’t use their mistakes as an excuse, and truly seeks to repair the relationship because you want what is best for them.

A B.L.U.R.ry Wrap-Up

So when you find a relationship in your life strained, remember to:

  • Believe in their Good Will (that they don’t have an intention to ruin your life)
  • Lower Your Heart Rate (by taking a deep breath before responding in anger)
  • Understand to be Understood (by really listening to them)
  • Repair the Damage with Something Positive (by letting them know you value the relationship)

These four simple things (which might be difficult to do!) can help reconcile your hurting relationships, whether with your spouse, a child, your parent, a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, or whoever God has put in your life. As as you seek to love them like Jesus would love them, you just might see your relationships go deeper than ever before!

Understand to be Understood

by Erin Bird

Two weeks ago, we kicked off blog series on the topic of How to Reconcile Relationships. For these four weeks, we are using the B.L.U.R. acronym from Dr. Emerson Eggerichs to guide us. (If you’ve missed the previous weeks, you can catch up here on the blog.) This week we come to the U – Understand to be Understood.

Have you ever been to a debate? Whether in the political, judicial, philosophical, or some other realm, a good debater will tell you what their opens will say, and then why their opponent is wrong. In other words, they are communicating to their audience, “I understand what my opponent has to say, but I also understand why they are mistaken…” The audience is much more prone to listen and believe the debater that can state the opponent’s position as well as them and then explain their own position.

While I do not want you to see yourself in a debate with the person with whom you need reconciled, I do want to encourage you to take a page out of the proficient debater’s book. Seek to understand the other person. Get to know their position. Truly listen to what they are saying and ask questions to understand why they are saying it. When you show the other person you truly understand them, chances are, you’ll either change what you believe or be able to more clearly and patiently explain why you disagree. When you truly listen to the other person, they feel heard and understood, making them far more likely to then truly listen to you.

Don’t Be on Just One Side

understand understood2 350x196 - Understand to be UnderstoodSeveral times in my career as a pastor, I have counseled someone who is having difficulty in a relationship. Usually it is in a marriage or dating relationship, but I’ve also counseled people through friendship and parental struggles. Occasionally, I end up talking with one party first. When I was a young pastor, I would end up siding with this first person with whom I talked, ready to help them get the other person (who was clearly wrong) to agree. But when I talked with the second person, a different picture began to emerge. In other words, I began to understand the deeper and broader context of what was happening. This led me to be able to counsel the two individuals far more effectively had I only heard one side.

When you are having a disagreement with someone, you are on one side – yours! That’s why “Understand to be Understood” is so powerful, because it is helping you get on their side in a sense. I believe this is why the Apostle Paul told the church in Philippi to “count others as more significant than yourselves.” When you truly care about the other person, considering them as more important as you, you WANT to hear their side and truly understand them. And when they know how much you care, they are more likely to listen to what you have to share.

So after Believing in Their Good Will and Lowering Your Heart Rate, seek to Understand to be Understood, and watch your relationship not only be reconciled but go deeper and farther than you ever dreamt.

Don’t forget this Sunday!

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget – we are at Kohlmann Park this Sunday (July 14) for a baptism celebration followed by a potluck. We’ll worship alongside fellow Converge churches Grace Baptist and Denver Baptist, so be sure to bring some lawn chairs and a side dish or dessert to share. See you Sunday!

Lower Your Heart Rate to Reconcile Relationships

by Erin Bird

Happy 4th of July! I hope you are having (or had) a great celebration of our nation’s birthday. Even if you don’t have big plans for the holiday, be sure to thank God for placing you in this country where you have the freedom to worship and even share your faith in Jesus.

We are in a four-week series here in the News & Notes on the topic of Reconciling Relationships, using Dr. Emerson Eggerich’s “B.L.U.R.” acronym. Last week, we looked at the B – Believe in Their Good Will, which means this week we get to look at the L – Lower your Heart Rate.

“You may be right, but wrong at the top of your voice!”

For many people, when they are in a heated argument, the volume with which they speak begins to rise and their voice takes on a harsher tone.

I remember hearing Dr. Eggerich’s tell a story about when he was having an argument with his wife. He confessed his volume was getting louder and his voice was more “robust.” And that’s when his wife shot back at him, “You can be right, but still wrong at the top of your voice!”

Getting louder doesn’t make your point more true. Talking in a harsh tone doesn’t mean you’re right. In fact, louder voice volumes often come from a heart that isn’t trying to prove a point, but to manipulate the other person.

However, to find true reconciliation in a relationship, you can’t manipulate the other. To draw the heart of the other person back toward you, you need to lower your voice as you lower your heart rate.

For many people, when they find their voice getting louder because the brain is racing in the middle of an argument, they take a deep breath. This is why some people advise “counting to ten” before saying something when in the heat of an argument. The ten-count forces you to pause, think clearly, so you can regain some perspective.

Let the Psalms Lower Your Heart Rate

lower heart rate2 350x196 - Lower Your Heart Rate to Reconcile RelationshipsIn Psalm 46, there is a portion a famous verse that people have taken solace in. It is this:

“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10a)

However, this “calming” verse is in the midst of violent words. Listen to what the Sons of Korah wrote just before this famous phrase:

“Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He make wars cease to the end of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear. He burns the chariots with fire.” (Psalm 46:8-9)

Breaking bows, shattered spears, and burning chariots? Sounds pretty violent. What is God getting at with all of this?

Bows, spears, and chariots were instruments of war in the days of the Psalms. If you found yourself in the midst of a battle, you probably wouldn’t feel calm.

And that’s the author’s point.

In the midst of the chaos, we can take rest in God, because He can end it. He can stop the war.

At the same time, He can calm your heart in the heat of an argument. He can shatter the verbal spear the other person might be lodging at you. So lower your heart rate. Be still. Let God be God. Trust Him even when it feels like you are in a verbal battle. Because He is able to reconcile this relationship.

P.S. To give credit where credit is due, photo from https://www.etsy.com/listing/634566092/be-still-8×12-carved-wooden-sign-with

How to Reconcile Relationships

by Erin Bird

Have you ever found yourself in a strained relationship, if even for just a few moments? If you are married, have kids, have parents, have coworkers or classmates, or simply have friends, I can pretty much guarantee you have. Even the best of friendships experience moments of frustration. It might come from differing personalities, difficult circumstances, or just a bad night’s sleep.

So what do you do when a relationship gets strained and is in need of reconciliation?

When Things Start to BLUR

Years ago, I heard Emerson Eggerichs, author of the best-selling book Love & Respect, teach a four-week sermon series on the topic of relational reconciliation. His series (like his books and ministry) focused on marriage, but I believe the four principles he taught can be applied to most any relationship.

So we are going to take four weeks here on the blog to walk through Emerson’s four-steps for how to bring reconciliation into any relationship. Here is what the series will look like:

Today – Believe in Their Good Will
July 4 – Lower Your Heart Rate
July 11 – Understand to be Understood
July 18 – Repair the Damage with Something Positive

If you notice the first letter of each topic, you will see it spells the word “BLUR”. Dr. Eggerichs did this intentionally. When you are frustrated in a relationship, your thinking becomes “blurry.” And in those blurry moments, your voice creeps upward in volume, or hurtful words start to form in your mind, or you find yourself wanting to do something drastic (like run away or get a divorce), or you just verbally or emotionally shut down.

So to help clear the emotional fog, let us learn and apply the BLUR principle, beginning today with B – Believe in Their Good Will.

Are They FOR You?

believe good will2 350x196 - How to Reconcile RelationshipsFor many of us, when we find ourselves in an argument, we don’t just feel like the other person isn’t listening to us, we actually believe they don’t even love us. We take the argument very personally. And in our pain, we do hurtful things, whether by saying cruel words or completely shutting down on them.

But if you stop and think about it, the person you are arguing with probably didn’t wake up that morning conspiring how they could ruin your life. (If they did, you and I need to have a completely different conversation about placing healthy boundaries in that relationship, and possibly even temporarily getting out of the relationship because of dysfunction or abuse.)

But if you can honestly ask yourself, “Does this person wish evil upon me?” and answer with a clear, “No,”you can begin to move on to the next part of the BLUR principle, “Lower Your Heart Rate” (which we’ll talk about next week). This Sunday, we will see the Apostle Paul address two women in the church in Philippi who were having a conflict. He tells them to “agree in the Lord.” In other words, he’s saying to them “You are both Jesus-followers! So believe in the good will of the other and come together on your issue.” Paul knew that when you realize the other person isn’t trying to ruin your life by their differing opinion, perspective, or approach, but might actually be for you, it helps you begin to reconcile the relationship, getting out of the blurriness of the moment and back in harmony with the other person.

So when you find yourself wanting to yell at the people God has put in your life, or wanting to completely shut down to avoid an uncomfortable conversation, ask yourself “Does this person generally have my best interest in mind?” and if so, you can follow the B and believe in their good will.