If you were to ask me what I really want in life, I would say this. My family to be healthy, enough income to provide for them, margin in life so I have a healthy life/work balance and peace in my home. I do not like drama. As a matter of fact, I hate it. People who get stressed out easily or overreact to things get on my nerves and I try to stay away from them as much as possible. Controlling this type of environment in your home is pretty easy when you are single, but it’s a whole different beast when you’re not.
Before I go any further, let the record show that I am very blessed to have Taleen as my wife. She is a beautiful mess just like me and everyone else out there. I love our sons, Connor and Bryce, and I would do anything in the world for them. Spending time with the 3 of them brings me the most joy I have ever felt in my life. Now that being said, the 3 of these wonderful blessed creatures that God created with His own hands in His image drive me absolutely nuts at times.
Learning to respond to something versus react to it, is a learned behavior. Responding requires more thought where reacting can happen in a split second. Quick reactions are good for sports but can be detrimental when you emotionally react to what someone says to you. I wrote about this in a previous blog titled Thermostat or Thermometer so if you are interested in checking it out after reading today’s blog just CLICK HERE and the blog will open in a new window.
Asking for forgiveness
Over the past few years I have become really good at learning to ask for forgiveness. This is not a trait that all men have. A lot of us are too rigid or proud to ask someone to forgive us because heck, they were probably the wrong ones in the first place! So, this is something I should be proud of right? You know the bad thing about being good at something? It means you probably have been practicing it a lot and unfortunately, I am becoming an expert at it this winter.
After Taleen and I got married we heard a message about learning how to apologize to someone. It came from one of her friends and it had to do with raising kids and teaching them how to say sorry the proper way. However, it also applies to adults. People say hurtful things to each other and a lot of times this is how the conversation goes:
- John: “I’m sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean it.”
- Blair: “It’s ok. No big deal.”
Have you ever done this? Of course, you have! It’s the easy way and it doesn’t truly rectify anything. John wants to get it over with and Blair wants to make it easy on him. The fact is, John DID mean to say it because his brain processed the information before it spewed out of his mouth. He may feel bad for saying it, but he meant it. Blair is probably still hurt and maybe she may carry this burden for a long time because the situation was not properly dealt with. Here is how the conversation should go:
- John: “I’m sorry for what I said and I apologize if I hurt your feelings. Will you please forgive me?”
- Blair: “Yes I forgive you.”
The key to the person asking for forgiveness is this. You must be willing to acknowledge what you said was wrong and hurtful. Then you need to have enough guts to ask the person for forgiveness. DO NOT give them a backhanded response by telling them the reason you got upset was because of something they did. Later, you can go to them and have a conversation about that. This is also an important step because if the person is doing something that is aggravating you, they may not know it and need to be made aware of what it is they are doing. Remember that timing to doing this is key and takes some feel.
The key to the person who is doing the forgiving is this. Tell them I forgive you. Use the word forgive. This let’s them know that they are absolved from what happened which gives them peace and some closure. It also shows that you are mature enough to let this go and not allow it to linger. Both of these things require people to think about the other person’s feelings. We all make mistakes and it sucks when people keep reminding you of a time when you messed up.
Turning it into a lifestyle
Let’s turn back the clock a few years before I learned about how to apologize. In the summer of 2003, I was living with my one of my old college teammate’s Darryl McPherson and his family in a suburb of Chicago. I was working for the White Sox and I needed a place to stay for a couple months. Darryl and his wife Nicole were nice enough to let me stay in their guest room and I would attend church with them on Sundays. I was going through a really difficult time in my life and for the first time ever I brought a notebook with me to church.
The pastor preached on being a peacemaker and the message that day changed my life. I believe the church we attended was called Calvary but unfortunately, I didn’t write down his name. Otherwise I would give him the credit he is due. I can tell you this. He opened my eyes to a way to live your life that I had never heard of or considered before. He spoke to the congregation that we can all live in peace, but in order to do so we needed to take the first step.
He spoke of how being a peacemaker is not easy. We need to have the resolve to start peacemaking and choose to live in peace. God is glorified through us when we choose the right path. We need to sow seeds of peace and then he asked us a question- Are you willing to pay the price, or will you settle for unhealthy relationships? That hit me in the face like a George Foreman uppercut to the jaw. Here is an acronym he gave us for the word PEACE.
- Pray for God’s help. Acknowledge you can’t do it on your own. He will hear you and help you.
- Entertain the interests of others. Look out for them and not just yourself. This is God’s way and it breeds peace in relationships.
- Attack the problem. Take the initiative and the first step towards reconciliation no matter who is at fault.
- Commit to making peace and resolving the situation. Do your part in trying to live in peace with everyone. Peace has a price. It may cost you your ego. You must be willing to go the extra mile and not get caught in the blame game.
- Encourage reconciliation. Not disposing of the relationship or severing ties but going your own way can be ok.
Before I heard this message, I thought that if the other person is wrong, then it is their job to apologize. I mean heck, why in the world do I need to try and resolve something that they started? They were dead wrong! The problem with that thought process is the other person may be too stubborn to apologize and now bad feelings may linger for a long period of time. It can fester and last for years. Friendships end, business deals fall through, and families separate over things that are never dealt with in the early stages.
The bible clearly states that we are to live in peace with one another. We are called to be peacemakers and an example of the one who died for our sins- Jesus Christ. Today I want to leave you with a couple of scriptures from the book of Romans that give some insight into this.
“So then we pursue the things which make way for peace and the building up of one another.”Romans 14:19 NASB
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”Romans 12:18 NASB
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