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HOW TO DEAL WITH TENSION IN RELATIONSHIPS
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HOW TO DEAL WITH TENSION IN RELATIONSHIPS
Tension in relationships is NOT bad. It is a "way mark" if handled correctly. That is, it is a marker along the way to further progress, an ensign for the strengthening of the relationship.
There are four (4) types of mentalities:
In the covenant relationship, you are being concerned MORE for the other party. Dr. Livingstone, the great missionary to Africa, reached many tribes for Christ that could not have been reached otherwise by making a blood covenant with them.
In such covenant relationships each party is telling the other: "Whatever I have is yours if you need it." Livingstone had a life threatening condition that required him to drink goats' milk. Because of this, he would keep a goat with him. One day, a tribal chieftain that had made a blood covenant with Livingstone told him that he wanted his white goat. That reminds me of the saying "Got your goat!" Knowing the seriousness of this request, and the danger it could pose for himself, Livingstone honored the request and gave the chieftain his white goat.
Many of our problems appear in our relationships with other people. Has anyone ever had problems with you?
Moses was a problem solver; he was an intercessor. You can read about his intercession and leadership through using prayer in Numbers Chapter 14. The FIRST thing to do when tension arises in a relationship is to PRAY.
Because there are problems in interpersonal relationships doesn't mean you are sinning; for example, problems with family members. If you are praying for the other person or people, if you are forgiving, and if you are doing what the Holy Spirit is showing you to do (which never contradicts scripture), then be at peace. However, many people - and some Christians - "stumble" in life because they are proceeding in darkness. Some Christians even experience lots of sickness and repeated physical conditions . . . or even accidents . . . because of this.
Our beloved brother John admonishes us in his writings as follows:
"He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.
He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes." (1 John 2:9-11)
This is also why it is important NOT to cause trouble in a relationship between other people. The Bible says that one of the seven things that are an abomination to God, and that he hates, is the person "who causes discord among brethren." (Proverbs 6:19)
If a person who is NOT in either a traditional (family blood) relationship with you or a covenant relationship with you, comes to you and says something negatively about, or brings charges against, a person in your family or with whom you are in relationship, BEWARE! Many families and relationships have been injured by such people. Your first reaction / response should be as follows: "I will consult with my relative or partner about this (what you have told me) and then I will pray and take it to the Lord."
Many people have received lies about their own family members or partners while never having even asked about "the other side of the story," or WHY the accusations have been made, or even IF they were true. My mother used to say, "Blood is thicker than water."
Moses led 3,000,000 people. In Numbers Chapter 14, Moses had just finished asking – interceding - for God's mercy on Israel when Korah, Dathan, and Abiram started their rebellion against him. Korah was Moses' cousin and a member of the tribe of Levi in the family of Aaron. (Numbers 16:3)
Notice five (5) processes in the life of Moses in dealing with tension in relationships and solving problems:
- Separate Yourself from Strife
In Numbers 16:4-7 notice that Moses positioned himself face down in prayer. First, always PRAY and SEEK GOD'S WISDOM. Are you facing a problem? Are you causing a problem?
Korah's complaint against Aaron was strictly a complaint against God: it was not a complaint about qualifications, but against God's order. This can often be a cause of spiritual impotence . . . and of judgment . . . among churches, ministries, or families.
In 1 Corinthians 11: 3 we see God's order for the home:
"But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God."
It is NOT a matter of who is better than another, but rather of order, so that love and power can flow unhindered from God: to effect BLESSING upon the unit and upon the individuals of the unit. In cases where an individual is NOT performing their duties . . . for example, when a man is not being the spiritual leader of the home, then God has ways to circumvent the hindrance so that blessing will flow. This is where prayer and obedience come into play by each member. PRAY, LISTEN, and OBEY!
Dathan and Abiram were members of the tribe of Reuben, while Moses was of the tribe of Levi. It was important for Moses to control his anger. We are to approach people in God's wisdom and love so they will receive BENEFIT of confrontation (which is an alternative to unacceptable behavior).
1. Pray for God's wisdom; and,
2. Follow up with appropriate confrontation.
Let people know, if it is possible, that you are confronting them because you love them and want the best for them.
As parents, God tells us to correct without anger. We may have to spank (use the rod, not the hand) at times, but we should always, after the discipline, pray with our children and let them KNOW they are FORGIVEN and LOVED. God did NOT invent “time out.” “Time out” has probably done more to make it hard for young people to honor, hear from, and serve God than any other socially devised concept during the ages. It is probably one of the major factors for the increased number of teen pregnancies.
"And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the LORD." (Ephesians 6:4)
LET GOD FIGHT FOR YOU
After you have first prayed and done what God has showed you to do . . . then REST! We see two good examples of this in Exodus Chapter 14 and 2 Chronicles Chapter 20.
"Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today . . . the LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." (Exodus 13-14)
"Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's." (2 Chronicles 20:15)
We also see what happened to those who rebelled against Moses and Aaron in Numbers 16:28-30.
Has God ever lost a battle? NO! Have you? YES!
SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM STRIFE
When you need deliverance, separate yourself from struggle . . . and let God do a MIRACLE!
MENTALLY SEPARATE YOURSELF –
If you are thinking negative thoughts, separate yourself from these and renew your mind with the promises in God's Word.
PHYSICALLY SEPARATE YOURSELF –
You may have to separate yourself from either a SITUATION or a PERSON. In Exodus Chapter Two we read where Moses killed a man. He then spent 40 years in the wilderness of Midian, probably in the eastern part of the Sinai peninsula or northwestern Arabia. I, personally, have walked alone with 19 camels in that Sinai desert. There, under the tutelage of God, Moses learned how to control himself . . . and how to control a flock. After that, he became Israel's pastor for 40 years.
Think about YOUR lifestyle. You may have to separate yourself from ungodly relationships or counter productive relationships.
INTERCEDE FOR OTHERS
Six times Moses interceded for the lives of Israel. On one occasion, God told Moses that he would even wipe out the complaining Israelites and give Moses a NEW nation, greater and mightier than they, to start over. However, Moses interceded for the people and talked God into sparing them. (Numbers 14:11-24)
After the incident where God judged Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, the children of Israel went immediately back to complaining, and accused Moses of killing them. Because of this, another 14,700 people died. (Numbers 16:41)
Notice, "the children of Korah died not." (Numbers 26:11) Years later, we read about the children (descendants) of Korah being ministers in the tabernacle (1 Chronicles 9:19). They also wrote many Psalms. God had warned the people to depart from the rebels and get away from their tents before judgment fell. Evidently, someone in Korah's family made a quality decision.
There is a truth here: You may have to walk away from a relationship . . . or a relative . . . at some time in your life. But only do it after MUCH PRAYER, seeking God's will and not yours; and KNOWING it is what God wants at that time! It doesn't mean that you don't love them, or that you're not willing to help them. Read Genesis Chapter 13 and Mark 10:29.
Above all, never forget what Jesus promised you, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) And . . . always forgive! Forgiveness can save most relationships. God is our perfect model. In the Book of Hosea, God pictures Israel as a harlot gone away from her husband. After all the times Israel disobeyed God, as a disobedient wife, He still promises her a glorious future:
"I will betroth you to Me forever; yes I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving kindness and mercy; I will betroth you to me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD." (Hosea)
Baruch haba b'Shem Adonai.
President / Regent
University of Excellence
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