Silent Wars

If you’ve ever been entangled in a war of words, you know just how ugly and divisive it can be. Yet, there is a different kind of war that rages in so many relationships which has the potential to be equally destructive.

It is a silent war waged with very few, if any, words at all. Instead of explosive verbal fireworks, there is quiet disengagement that results in a “flight” or “escape” response. All the while, dangerous embers of unaddressed hurt and anger quietly burn in the recesses of the heart and are manifested through attempts to avoid, ignore, and marginalize the problem or the person.

No matter whether the conflict is out in the open or just beneath the surface, escaping or fleeing from it won’t make it go away. Burying the issue – rather than eradicating it – only gives opportunity for it to surface again, disrupting our relationships. Yet, when the heart is wounded, sometimes retreating from the pain seems preferable to coping with it. When this occurs, we are likely to face a detour that takes us far from the path that leads to peace.

Final thoughts…

Because our silent wars can be masked so skillfully, we often ignore them and do nothing. Days, weeks, months, even years, come and go. All the while, hurt, indifference, or stubbornness block our resolve to restore the broken relationship.

As you reflect on this blog post in the context of your own life, here are a couple of questions you may want to ask yourself: Is there someone I’ve been avoiding, ignoring, or marginalizing? If so, could it be that there is unresolved hurt that needs to be discovered and addressed?

If we find ourselves entangled in conflict of any kind, let’s first look to Christ, then look at our own hearts. If we’re open to the Spirit’s prompting and guidance, He can help us see the best way to move toward restoration and healing. No matter the wars that are being waged, the journey to a restored relationship is possible when we choose The Path of a Peacemaker. Walk the path.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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What to Say, How to Say It

At one time or another, we’ve all heard that “it’s not what you say, but how you say it.” Is this really true? Should we only be concerned with the way a message is delivered and not the message itself? I contend that both are important, and that “it’s not only what you say, but also how you say it.”

Words are powerful. Once spoken, they can never be unsaid. Harsh words can ignite the spark of tension and conflict, while words seasoned with love and grace can be the difference between experiencing relational hurt or healing.

When confronted with anger, it’s difficult to respond with love. When treated with disrespect, it’s challenging to show honor. With the Spirit of God as our guide, words that are carefully chosen and graciously delivered have the potential to minimize the size, scope, and severity of the conflict in our lives.

Final thoughts…

Anytime a relationship is tested by disappointments, unmet expectations, and troublesome trials, sometimes the impulse is to speak first and think later – which often has disastrous consequences. Yet, when tension mounts, time and again King Solomon’s words have held true: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger,” (Proverbs 15:1, NIV).

We all want to avoid costly detours in our peacemaking journey, right? So, let’s go to the Father, strive to understand His heart, then examine our own. With His help, we can connect with others in a way that reflects the kind of grace and compassion that He has extended to us. As peacemakers, this is the path to which we’ve been called. Walk the path.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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Course Correction

When it comes to handling conflict, I can identify with the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:15: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”  The problem could not be more clearly defined!  When conflict emerges, I think most of us desire to respond with compassion and grace, yet this often is not our initial reaction.

Our two most basic responses to conflict is to attack or escape. When we go on the attack, the tension almost always escalates into full-blown conflict.  This is especially true when we choose brutal honesty over speaking the truth in love, when we seek control over collaboration, or when we show disrespect to others rather than holding them in high regard. While we’ve all seen the damaging effects of these overtly hurtful actions, there is also great harm that occurs when escaping through silent disengagement.

If, like me, you struggle to make your first response your best response, the challenge is this: how can I more quickly recognize my need to go to the Father and do a personal heart check?  With the Spirit of God as our guide, He can help us to course correct and make a hasty return to The Path of a Peacemaker.

Final thoughts…                                                                                                                 .

Our peacemaking journey will be filled with ups and downs, trials and triumphs, huge strides forward and a few steps back. The Path of a Peacemaker isn’t traveled by those who are perfect, but by those who surrender their missteps to God, and with His strength and help, continue to move forward on the path. It isn’t always easy, but it is rewarding. Walk the path.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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Holding it Together

Why do some relationships survive – even thrive – when confronted with hardship, while others crumble and completely fall apart? That is a difficult question with no easy answers. By nature, most relationships are unique and complex, so it can be hard to put a finger on the exact reason for the success of one or the failure of another.

That said, there is one challenge that every meaningful relationship will experience at one time or another – that is tension! Whenever two people are confronted with a difference of opinion, difficult decision, or disappointment, it brings about tension – which is often tricky to navigate.

When I think of tension, I liken it to a rubber band. In order to accomplish the primary purpose of holding things together, a rubber band has to flex and stretch. Yet, if pulled too far apart, it can break and be rendered utterly useless in accomplishing the task for which it was designed.

The same holds true in relationships. Tension can hold together, even strengthen, a relationship if both parties will take great care to respond to it with grace and compassion; but an unhealthy reaction to tension can pull people apart, stretching them beyond their breaking point.

Final Thoughts…

Tension tests relationships, and when it surfaces, often times our initial reaction is not our best reaction. In those moments, we would do well to take to heart the words of the Greek philosopher Epictetus: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

We all have to choose what we do with our tension, and our decisions often determine whether tension will be something that helps or hinders our relationships. As you evaluate your response to the tension in your relationships, I’d encourage you to take a moment to consider these questions: Is the tension in my relationships usually healthy or unhealthy? Is tension more likely to draw me closer to the other person or drive a deeper wedge between us?

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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