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Mending Broken Relationships
|Relationships can be shattered because of resentment, broken expectations, jealousy, need for control, wrong information, unwelcome advice, or injurious words and actions.
- Ask, “Is this the way I want to live, forever?”
Hint: Live every day as if it were your last.
- Refuse to let them rent space in your head “rent free.”
Hint: Don’t let issues loiter or linger.
- Know that you are only responsible for you and not anybody else
Hint: Use “I” language.
- Realize what you want the relationship to look like when it is mended
Hint: Dream of and visualize good relationships.
- Figure out “What went wrong?”
Hint: Avoid sweeping it under the carpet.
- Be careful with having to figure out who wronged you and trying to get them to correct their behaviors.
Hint: Ask yourself, “Do I want to keep reliving the pain?”
- Learn something from the ordeal.
Hint: Remind yourself often of what you don’t want to repeat.
- Ask for forgiveness and give it, too.
Hint: Give sincere apologies.
- Celebrate restoration.
Hint: Celebrate more than you mourn.
- Know that you are teaching your congregation and family how to do this too.
Hint: Your children will remember!
by D. Tony Rankin, used by permission
Kiss and Yell
The other day our family was racing to church in order to experience the wonderful joy of children’s choir and missions, youth handbells, and an exciting gathering of worshipping teenagers. But there was a problem (well, really more than one!). We were caught by all of the stop lights and then as we drove through two housing projects (one on each side of the road), one of the residents walked slowly in front of my car almost challenging me to hit him or come to a rolling stop. Before I knew it, I had done the humanly and worldly thing and yelled an inappropriate adjective toward him (of course, my window was safely rolled up!). The sad thing is that even though my voice was shielded from the loitering pedestrian, my children were able to observe the whole scenario. My twelve-year-old responded, “Dad, how do you know?” Even though I had not used any curse words, I had set a poor example of loving others and allowing others to see God through me.
-Dad of elementary, middle, and high school kids
The problem with raising children (especially preadolescents) is that they remember almost everything you say and do. Just when we least expect it, we let wrong stuff come out of our mouths. At the least opportune times we respond with rage and anger. When we think that our children are not paying attention, they hear ever word we say that should not be said.
Here are some suggestions to help you make lasting, good memories of your life.
Parents must realize that their children have more energy and emotional stamina than they do. You will never “win.” Just when you think you have, they sneak up on you and come in for the kill. Refuse to argue with them. After they have had their say and have expressed themselves, tell them what the boundary is and mean it. Remain matter-of-fact and consistent with your calm responses.
Since on the way to church is a “perfect” time to be a poor example due to all of the time pressures, performance issues, and the devil being at full-strength, anticipate the schedule and needs of each family member and intentionally say and do things that would be healthy and encouraging.
Making a point when we are angry as parents often sends mixed signals. In stating the obvious, misusing the teachable moment, releasing our own stress, and using emotionally charged language, we often say one thing but our child hears another. Unfortunately our varied and confusing messages project the wrong ideas to our child. Undoing these episodes of rage, shaming comments, and annoying words of correction is much more difficult than anticipating the needs of each family member and providing words of encouragement, guidance, and blessing.
Confess, anticipate, teach, and love. That will be enough and then leave the rest to God!
by D. Tony Rankin, used by permission