One thing the Lord has been teaching me about boundaries recently is that I have to
own my stuff.
When we have relational conflict with people we love, it’s easy to start making excuses as to why we shouldn’t bring it up, even if we know that doing so is necessary to grow the health and flourishing of that relationship.
If you despise conflict like me, you’ll find every excuse in the book not to face issues head on: “Now isn’t a good time; I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings; what if they misunderstand me; I’m worried about the reaction to this; I don’t want to be a burden;” etc, etc.
But Scripture clearly teaches that we are to be in UNITY + HARMONY with other believers. If there is something that threatens the bond between believers, we must confront it so that the relationship may be restored and Christ may be glorified (Psalm 133:1, 1 Peter 3:8, Rom. 12:4-5, Rom. 15:5-6, Eph. 4:3, Phil. 2:2, 1 Cor. 1:10, 2 Cor. 13:11, Col. 3:12-14).
As far as it depends upon us, we must live in peace with everyone (Romans 12:18). That means we have to own our stuff. We have to humble ourselves and recognize what we have done wrong in the relationship. We must confess our sin to the Lord and then to our brother or sister, and ask for forgiveness (1 John 1:9). We speak the truth in love, with proper motives, and we leave the results to God!
As much as we’d like to, we can not control the thoughts, feelings, actions, speech, or even desires of others. We have to own our stuff, but we aren’t called to own our neighbor’s stuff.
We must all give an account before the throne one day. But the account we give will be our own. So when we let the fear of others’ responses keep us from handling conflict as the Lord has commanded, we are actually revealing a heart of pride. We’re placing ourselves above our co-laborer in the Gospel by thinking that we are so important to have such a deep effect on them.
God uses healthy disagreements to grow us in Christ. It is a fact that tension will at times exist in our most loving relationships, because we’re all sinful, fallen humans. But we need to allow the redemptive work of conflict in our lives to help us become more like Jesus.
So my encouragement + challenge to you today is this: What “stuff” (thoughts, feelings, actions, motives, desires) do you need to own today? Where do you need to repent and turn from your sin as it relates to relationships in your life? And what “stuff” are you hanging onto that does not belong to you and you have no power over? Lay it down at the feet of Jesus. Pray. Seek reconciliation! Walk in freedom.