|When there’s a gap between what we expect and how someone performs, we choose what goes in the gap. Do you fill the gap with trust, or suspicion? Do you believe the best, or assume the worst?
Healthy relationships with friends, families, neighbors, or co-workers are based on trust rather than suspicion. Unfortunately, in life, there are times when people will behave in a manner, which is suspicious and untrustworthy.
Unfortunately, when we have a conflict, most of us choose to do something entirely different.
Instead of a Conversation We Gossip
Instead of talking to the person, we talk about the person. Sometimes we’re very blatant about our gossip; we take our issues with one person and tell a group of friends. As a result, what was once a conflict between two people becomes poison in a group of people. As I’m sure you know from experience, this usually only escalates the problem.
Other times, we’re more subtle about our gossip; we gossip in the form of a prayer request. Under the guise of praying for a person in need, we share their issues with a group of people.
The ironic part about gossip is that, when we gossip, we act untrustworthy ourselves.
Instead of a Conversation We Make a Passive Aggressive Status Updates
This one is kind of funny to me. It’s a new phenomenon, which social media invented. I see it all the time with teenagers, and occasionally with adults.
When a student has an issue with another student, instead of talking with them about it, sometimes they post about it with a thin veil of vagueness.
- “I hate it when people…” You’re clearly referring to a specific incident.
- “She always tries to…” You’re clearly referring to a specific person.
- “It used to be great when I could go to…”
These types of posts are so incredibly awkward because you invite everyone you know into your drama. Anyone involved knows that you’re posting about them. Other people not involved will think you’re writing about them when you’re not.
Most importantly, it does nothing to restore the relationship.
Instead of a Conversation We have Conversations in Our Head
I think we all do this at times. Instead of confronting them in person, we have a conversation in our head. When we do this, one of two things happen: (1) They respond horribly, (2) They respond in a way, which sets us up for the perfect response.
Either way, these are unhealthy reactions to a situation.
The Biblical Response
When there is a gap you can’t fill with TRUST, you need to talk to them in person. Don’t send a text. Don’t send an email. You have to have an uncomfortable conversation.
If you’re like most people, that is an uncomfortable idea.
Here’s the reality. The stories you’ve been making up in your head are probably not real. You’ve been repeating stories, which probably aren’t based in reality. When you confront the person, you get the opportunity to hear the real version of what happened. Most of the time, it’s actually not nearly as interesting as the story you created in your head.
By talking to them to their face, you gain the opportunity to hear what really happened. Instead of dwelling on history and unsubstantiated past, you get reality.
- Choose to trust.
- Choose to believe the best.
- When you can’t, choose to confront.
Sean Chandler | Associate Pastor
Sean has been a part of the association of Hill Country Bible Churches for over twenty years. He received Christ as a youth while attending Hill Country Bible Church Austin. He attended Hill Country Bible Church NW from 1989 to 2002. At that time he began attending HCBC Pflugerville. He served as a student ministry intern there for two years. In 2008, Sean graduated from Columbia International University with a double major in Bible and Bible teaching. Sean married his wife, Jennifer, in 2006. Their first child, Liam, was born in 2012.
He blogs regularly at seanchandler.net.