**Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.** Psalm 17:7,8
Human relationships are filled with disagreements, arguments, misunderstandings, miscommunication and at their worse, knock-down drag-out fights. Although we try to live in peace with everyone, and we desire to follow the Lord with all of our heart, it is possible that what starts out as a simple misunderstanding can end up being an all out war of wills.
So, what do we do when we are in one of these ugly situations?
What can we do to fix this relationship before there is too much damage done?
The simple answer….
Give the other person time to fix their own hearts
It would be great if every disagreement was that easy to resolve, right?
The reality is that broken relationships take time to repair. Mistakes are made. Arguments ensue. Feelings get hurt. And it is Oh, so hard to forgive and forget.
If we are going through a tough time with a friend, stepping away and giving the situation time to cool down may be a good way to avoid more conflict. If we have tried the best we can to explain our point of view, and the other person is still upset with us, there is nothing more we can do for the moment. We are not responsible for another person’s reactions. We are only responsible for our own. We can choose patience, kindness, to speak softly, to forgive, to cede, and best of all to pray. We can ask advice of someone wiser and that has more experience than us. But we cannot choose how the other person is going to respond.
Our Psalm for today reminds us of the many unprovoked fights that David dealt with during his life. If we take a close look at the different attacks on David’s throne we will see that David always ran away. David did not seek to be King. He did not campaign for that office. He did not go looking for a better, more interesting life. He was happy in the fields with his sheep and his harp and his God. But God had other plans for him. So, he went off to serve the current King and did what he was told. And never fought back with those that had it out for him.
But there is an exception to David’s non-violent response. David fought back with all his might when the people of Israel were under attack. He fought until the enemy was conquered and there was no more threat to his people, those under his care. David had his priorities right and his response was correct given each individual situation. Attacks on himself…run…fast…take his family with him and run far, far away…leaving the problem in God’s hands. He hid under his protective ‘wing’, staying in that favored spot as God’s chosen one.
But if his people were under attack, he put on his armor and fought until they were obliterated.
So, if you are having relational issues, step back and let God do the fighting. It is the best way to be able to walk away with no regrets. The few times that I have had the presence of mind to walk away from a fight, I have seen God do some amazing things. Sometimes, the argument was diffused. Sometimes, I could see I was wrong and I did what was needed to correct it. Other times, the other person made his own corrections and peace was restored in our relationship. Then there are the few times when I walked away and God dealt strongly with the person that was wrong. Those times are pretty rare, because in any fight, both parties are usually wrong to some extent. It’s true in friendships, on the job, and especially in marriage.
David tells us in this Psalm that the loving-kindness of God is the key. When emotions are high, we can run to Him and He’ll protect us or He’ll correct us. He will always be the only one who is 100% right.
More on conflict: https://richinmercy.net/2021/01/06/hide-me-under-a-rock/