Have you ever been in a disagreement with someone that caused you to feel so angry and offended, that you reacted by speaking harsh words? Maybe you went the passive-aggressive route (that’s me) and didn’t actually speak anything to them, but refused to interact or ignored that person instead? Did both of your actions result in the end of that relationship or, at the minimum, a long break in the relationship?
Paul taught us a lot about being in relationship as a body of Christ, and what to do when we quarrel. Here’s his thoughts in Ephesians:
4 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.
There are so many times that I wished I had recalled this verse before flying off the handle out of anger or offense. But what about the next time things get tense in one of my relationships? What can I do to remain in “unity of the Spirit” the next time I have to have a hard conversation with someone? Look to the H.E.A.R.T. principles:
Hear and understand me.
Even if you disagree, please don’t make me wrong
Acknowledge the greatness within me.
Remember to look for my loving intentions.
Tell me the truth with compassion.
Is there a relationship in your life where you can learn to disagree better with that person? Ask God to reveal that person to you this week, and to pursue unity with them. Bring up the H.E.A.R.T. principles with that person, and both agree to follow them the next time a hot discussion comes up.