One of my favorite things in the whole wide world is reconciliation. It’s also one of the most difficult concepts to really live out.
But the thing is, Jesus was all about reconciliation, and I’ve been wanting that more in my relationships as time has gone on.
Some of this is, I know, a tendency to be afraid of conflict, but as I’ve grown closer to him, my sensitivity to discord has grown.
I won’t pretend that I always deal with that sensitivity well. Sometimes I try to fix things that it isn’t really my business to fix, or I open my big mouth and try to boss people into reconciliation. That always goes over really well. The truth is, I love reconciliation, but I’m not always very good at it.
But more to the point, what I wanted to share is an approach to relationships that I really admire and would love to work on more (because I really struggle with it at times). My hope is that this will speak to you as well.
My pastor in Grants Pass always said that we should approach relationships with this in mind: “My relationship with you is more important than my opinion.”
That’s so important right now, especially with this being an election year where tensions are running high. We need to remember this as we interact with friends and acquaintances, not letting our opinions and paradigms build moats around us.
Lower the drawbridge.
So I’ll say it again:
“My relationship with you is more important than my opinion.”
I’m learning that, as adults, we have a tendency to want to be independent, and to rely on ourselves more and more as time goes on. As such, it becomes easier to cut people out of our lives who have offended us in some way. After all, we don’t need them. We’ve got a job, a house or apartment, a nice social life. Other friends. We can just retreat and throw up a wall, dig a moat, or barricade ourselves from that person.
Unfortunately, if we keep doing that with relationships when things get tough, we may find that we’ve boxed ourselves in.
Jesus created us for relationship. To need each other. It’s in the very beginning of the Bible: “It is not good for the man to be alone.” I don’t believe he was speaking only with regards to marriage.
So if there’s a relationship in your life that is in disrepair, consider this: you don’t need to agree with that person about everything to love them, or to be in community with them. I submit that you need them, and that they need you.
Talk to them. Send them a note. Tell them that you appreciate them or miss them, even if you think it’s hopeless.
It might not be.
Remember, “[love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:7