ISSUES ARE DIFFERENT FROM PEOPLE – LOVE PEOPLE, SOLVE ISSUES.
A childhood friend and I fought back in our secondary school days. It got a bit tough. He had the physical might and I had the mouth. I used my mouth. I abused him that he got home and told his mum what I said. His mum visited my parents that night and said, “Even if Temi and my son have issues, he should not have used such words on him”.
Years after, my wife and I were in the middle of an issue. I raised my voice on her while stressing a point and the Holy Spirit told me to apologise. I apologised for raising my voice. I even hugged her and then we continued discussing the issue. It was promptly resolved.
One way to steward relationships properly is by learning the art of managing issues without attacking people. Many people allow issues to degenerate really fast into attacks on persons. If you are a believer, you have the help of the Holy Ghost if you will listen to him.
For instance, if a friend or a spouse begins to say things like “That is what you ‘always’ do”. The moment you put in the word always, you have moved from the issue to attacking the person. It is easier for the relationship to degenerate faster that way.
Many have lost quality relationships because they do not know how to manage issues. In discussing issues, people say things they do not mean without the intention to be mean to people they truly care about.
If you succeed in keeping the warmth in a relationship even when the issues are quite touchy, you will resolve the matter quickly.
A senior pastor shared the story of a Professor in their neighbourhood who kept writing petitions against the church. After a while, he decided to visit him. He went with a huge basket of gifts. When the Professor saw him, he said, “Pastor, I was ready for war but your approach is peaceful”. They ended up having a conversation. The professor and his family ended up attending the church.
If you are patient, issues will be solved and bridges will be built. Look around you, your poisonous utterance has severed many bridges. If you cannot boast of long-standing relationships, you must have reflection time- what am I doing wrong?
Some have lost great relationships because they claim they always “say the truth”. Does it mean there are no people around you who love to hear the truth? It may be that you say the truth without love. Even truth must be spoken in love.
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. (Ephesians 4:15 NLT)
The ability to speak the truth in love is proof of maturity.
When you raise your voice, apologise.
When you attack character, apologise.
When you use manipulation, apologise.
The enemy is the issue. Do not turn your friend or spouse into the enemy. Attack issues, not persons.
Is it clear?