Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Before Attempting Reconciliation (Instruction & Assignment)

by Tim Bryant This is sample instructions and assignment that I send to two people in conflict before I get started intensively counseling them in biblical reconciliation. The assignment included often helps the two people in conflict get properly and quickly oriented for the Lord to do a work of reconciliation in their relationship.

Dear

I am contacting you in hope of leading you through a biblical process of seeking unity with one another that will lead to: 1) God deepening his work of change in your lives, 2) God glorifying Himself in those changes to one another, and 3) God making your fellowship with one another encouraging and enjoyable and edifying.  Sanctification and transformation into the likeness of Christ is never completed until heaven, and disagreements and conflicts in relationships are opportunities for each of us to see how to deepen that work.

I want to make it clear that the success of this entire process is dependent on two things: 1) God revealing Himself and His thoughts about the conflict to you; and 2) You responding to this direction by making necessary changes that honor Him, reflect Christ and draw the other party to desire to reconcile.

In the many opportunities I have had to help people reconcile, I always have done my best to not "take sides" but to rather fear the Lord - for in the end we give account to Him, not to one another.  He is our only lasting reward and consequence. So I am going to do my best to listen and direct you to first evaluate yourself before Him and His Word to see if you can see anything that you need to admit or confess that you have done in the conflict that has not pleased your Lord. Matthew 7:5 is clear that this is our starting point.

In order to do this I am wanting you to answer two questions below and email your answers back to me.  But Before you answer the questions please listen to the first 2 sessions from the 8 part seminar on "Unity in Conflict" and begin working on the assignments given.  This seminar is foundational in the process I will be taking us through, so I will ask you listen to the entire set by the time we finish our attempts at reconciliation.  (It includes 8 audio sessions and student manual, You can find this at our media web store (click here)  If costs are a problem, let me know and I will work around that.)

I am praying for you and as soon as I receive all of your answers, I will be in touch to talk through your answers.

Your brother,

Tim Bryant

Two Questions Before Reconciliation Meeting Please keep your answers to no more than 2-3 paragraphs of no more than seven sentences each.  Too much information is too much at this point.  It is important that you write clear and efficiently so that we can make the most of our time.  Make sure, however, to write at least two paragraphs for each question.  Not enough information is not good either.

1.   Read Eph 4:15; Prov 18:17; 1 Cor 4:5; Eph 4:31; Eph 4:29.  Describe the common situations or most recent situation that has hurt, offended, or provoked you to lose heart and have conflict. Do this as objectively as you can without attacking any involved.  What were your major concerns with this person’s actions or words.  We must remember that as we clarify our concerns God desires our motivation to primarily be love for God and the person (Eph 4:15). To help us with this God gives us specific instructions. When addressing a concern of another we are commanded : 1) to be factually objective (Prov 18:17); 2) to not judge their motives but rather the pattern of behaviors - trusting God to reveal the heart (1 Cor 4:5); 3) to not slander by adding to the story or by vilifying everything about the person (Eph 4:31); 4) to not attack the person by calling names or by only criticizing and not recognizing their strengths or good qualities (Eph 4:29).

  • (Eph 4:15 NASB)  but speaking the truth in love we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ
  • (Prov 18:17 NASB)  The first to plead his case seems just, Until another comes and examines him.
  • (1 Cor 4:5 NASB)  Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God.
  • (Eph 4:31 NASB)  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
  • (Eph 4:29 NASB)  Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
2.  Read Eph 4:1-3; 1 Pet 3:8; Rom 12:17-18; James 4:11; Matt 7:1-5, Rom 14:13.  Now describe your actions and words (i.e. response) that have been most upsetting to the other person and displeasing to God.  What do you think are his/her major concerns with you and your actions that your Lord agrees with according to scripture?
  • (Eph 4:1-3  NASB)   Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace(1 Peter 3:8 NASB) To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;
  • (Rom 12:17-18 NASB)  Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. {18} If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
  • (James 4:11) Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.
  • (Mat 7:5 NASB) "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."
  • (Rom 14:13 NASB)  Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this-- not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.
(Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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