05 July 2010
Fitting together the many different pieces of how to have a hard conversation can be a challenge. Here's what I'd suggest ...
FIRST, begin by praying through GALATIANS 5:22-23 and ask God to pour the fruit of His Holy Spirit through you to the person you are sharing with. It's Christ in you that will make a difference, not any explanations or counter-arguments you may be able to articulate.
SECOND, ask God to help you understand how He wants to see each of the individual fruits of His Spirit come through in what the the person you're talking with sees, hears, and senses during your time together.
THIRD, don't underestimate the other person's ability to "sense" in the Holy Spirit the subtext of what you're say to them. During times of pain, our emotions are heightened, but often so is our level of discernment.
FOURTH, be as honest about your sin (or whatever kind of brokenness you're experiencing with the person you're talking with) as you are about your love for the other person, and about your desire to make things right. Pledging your love without uncovering your sin will no doubt ring hollow to their hurting hearts. Love best abounds in the midst of transparency, and forgiveness can neither be asked for or granted without repentance.
FIFTH, if you're a parent talking with a child about a way that you have disappointed them, let them down, or wounded them, remember that fear of abandonment takes everything else out of focus. It can be very hard for kids to see and accept the "sinful humanity" of their parents. So be prepared for this pain and fear to come through as anger, and accept it.
In the end love is what will win out. The people we're seeking to reconcile with need to both hear, and see our love ... not only today and during this week with them, but in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
Remember to read, meditate on and pray through GALATIANS 5:22-23. Godspeed.