Tag Archive | church conflict

Mourning Those Who Are Still Alive: 10 Ways To Weather The Storm

Most grief recovery efforts naturally include helping grievers to mourn loved ones who have died…but what if the person you are mourning is still alive?

To have once enjoyed a great, solid, rich relationship with a loved one—and then no longer have a good relationship (or to then have a drastically changed relationship or no relationship at all)—this terribly and horribly breaks a heart in a very unique, painful way.

When drastic change occurs, or a difficult situation or relationship develops, it can cause excruciating heartache, loss, and sadness. It truly can feel as though someone you deeply love has died, and you are forced to go through a silent funeral inside of your heart every single day.

There are many reasons why this can happen:

  • Spouses commit adultery or file for divorce, or a significant other leaves or betrays you
  • Children react to parents due to divorce or co-parenting challenges…sometimes parents react back
  • A parent has an affair or gets remarried and then chooses to distance or remove themselves from the relationship with their child(ren)
  • Children react to an adulterous affair a parent had or children react to how the affair victim/parent handled an affair
  • A loved one battles debilitating mental illness, severe depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s, or a loved one goes through the longterm effects of a traumatic brain injury or serious injury— and these circumstances completely change the dynamics of the relationship
  • Parents react to children and children react to parents on “life” issues, moral decisions, or spiritual issues
  • A parent, step parent, or other family member spitefully pits a child, parent, step parent or family member against one another
  • Custody or visitation issues, foster care challenges, or family conflicts cause deep heartache…even estrangement
  • Spouses return home deeply wounded emotionally, physically, spiritually or mentally from serving in the military…or spouses betray the spouse who is away serving
  • A spouse, child, or family member goes through a serious medical challenge, experiences deep grief, or another terrible life event or life challenge and they drastically change or become a completely different person
  • Parents abandon their children, and/or children rebel against or abandon their parents
  • Siblings, or other family members, deeply change and are no longer close
  • A family member battles addiction—or another stronghold or wrong thinking—and you can’t get through to them
  • Relationship issues due to mistreating or reacting to one another…and one or both people aren’t willing to repair or improve things
  • An adult child can enter into a romantic relationship (or marriage) and their parent doesn’t approve or isn’t willing to respect their child’s partner, spouse, and/or marriage…or vice versa
  • Friendships heartbreakingly dissolve
  • Physical, mental, or emotional abuse issues create hardships, family division, and heartache
  • A family relationship, friendship, or church relationship dissolves due to a betrayal, a lack of understanding, conflict, or deep hurts
  • Family members or in-laws are mistreated due to another family members/in-laws dysfunction
  • Bitterness and an unwillingness to forgive or work on the relationship takes root
  • Some sever ties to “make a point” or to intentionally inflict heartache in reaction to their own pride or pain
  • A family member becomes a prodigal
  • A sibling, parent, child or other family member marries someone who isn’t respectful of sibling/parent/child/family relationships…so to avoid arguing with their romantic partner, they choose to “keep the peace,” and choose their significant other over longterm relationships…or a parent chooses their significant other over their children
  • Ultimately, a lack of respect, genuine love, honor, boundaries, and commitment – and ultimately a lack of good character – can wreck major havoc on relationships and families
  • Lots and lots of other reasons

Anytime a relationship changes for the worse, abruptly changes, or becomes fractured or shattered, it is very, very painful. And many times, the result is to feel helpless, as though you have run out of options.

When this happens, what can you do?

  1. Pray. Pour your heart out to God and ask for Him to intervene in the relationship and situation. Pray God touches your loved ones heart…pray God will show them a deep love for them, Him, (and you), and conviction for any sin that is in their life. Pray God pours His love, kindness, and provision into their life…anything that will help them to realize how much God and you love them.
  2. Possibly prepare for God to ask you to make a change or to do something uncomfortable.
  3. As much as depends on you, apologize and ask for forgiveness for your part…knowing that the other person may never humble their self by apologizing back to you.
  4. Place your loved one and the entire situation in God’s Hands….and take your hands off (and out of) the situation. Realize God can do more in one MOMENT than you could ever hope to do in an entire LIFETIME.
  5. KEEP YOUR NOSE CLEAN…meaning, do the right thing and choose to show genuine love no matter what. Take the higher ground. Be completely loving, Christ-like, and kind. Close your mouth (this can be very hard to do!) and do your God-given responsibilities. This will be extremely hard, but remember: God’s got this! He needs for you to reflect His character, love, and glory. It will be very helpful to memorize and recite these scriptures when you’re tempted to put your hands back in the situation or for the times you’re tempted to not keep your nose clean: Exodus 14:14, Ephesians 6:11-13, 1 Samuel 17:47, Psalm 34:18. This does NOT mean be a doormat, but for God to accomplish His greatest work, it’s very important to get out of God’s way and to fully obey God.
  6. Seek and find what helps to heal your heart. It might be going to therapy, talking to a pastor, or working through all of the emotions and grieving through your tough situation.
  7. Have faith and fully expect God to work in the situation. It may or may not be how you had in mind, but God will definitely be working in the situation (and working out the best outcome) as you genuinely trust in Him to do so.
  8. Ask God to provide you with a strong, loving support system: trusted family, trusted friends, trusted pastors/counselors, trusted support groups/biblical community…keyword here is TRUSTED. To get through the toughest times in life, a strong support system is vital. Accountability partners can also be very important. Work on yourself and do your own self-work with the Lord’s help. Consider your individual relationship with the Lord, your joy and life purpose apart from the situation, consider your part in the situation, look soberly at your own faults and possible blind spots – both in and out of the situation, and seek to improve yourself as you love and serve God to the fullest as you wait on Him. (Psalm 46:10, Matthew 6:9-15, Matthew 6:33-34, Proverbs 3:5-6)
  9. . There is a huge difference between peacemaking/compromise and allowing yourself to be manipulated/degraded. God never made anyone to be a doormat. For a relationship to be healthy, both people need to do the right thing. Relationships are like a swinging door… If it’s constantly opening for one person, but slamming shut in the other persons face, that’s never going to work long-term. Be careful allowing yourself to be degraded instead of creating healthy compromise. If genuine repentance and change do not occur, you’re always going to have conflict. It will just be a different situation and a different circumstance. Heart change is needed for lasting results... otherwise you’re just putting a Band-Aid on something that they’re gonna rip off and hurt you again.
  10. Delight in God (Psalm 37:4). When we go through hardships, it becomes easy to become impatient, worry, have anxiety, or become fearful or bitter. We can even be tempted to doubt God’s goodness or become greatly upset with Him. God has a better way! Delight yourself in God, learn to trust and lean on Him, and extravagantly love Him as He carries you through your grief and the storm you are in the middle of. He knows your heart, loves your heart (and knows and loves your loved one’s heart!), and no matter what happens in your situation, He will carry you, heal your broken heart, and love you back to life…no matter what! He will NEVER leave you!! In fact, other than our relationship with our own self, God is the ONLY relationship we are guaranteed to continually have here on earth. We can NEVER lose His love!
  • Allow God to positively change your heart through the process…and whether your situation or relationship changes for the better or not…eventually use your situation to wisely help and encourage others. You are going to be an absolute TREASURE to someone else who will be walking through a similar tough relationship situation. Learn as much as you can through your situation TODAY so you can encourage and help others in the present or FUTURE. God never wastes grief. There is always good that can grow out of it.
  • Whatever situation or relationship you are grieving or experiencing deep heartache in, please realize there is hope! I agree with you in prayer for God to heal, encourage, and help you and your loved one(s) through whatever you are going through. I pray God works mightily in each relationship, heart, mind, spirit, and situation! If a positive outcome is not possible due to a permanent, toxic, or debilitating situation, I pray God grants you the gifts of grace and His peace that passes understanding…and the ability to truly press forward and heal. God DOES love you, He greatly values you, and He already knows how He plans to help you – and every situation of grief you are facing or will ever face!

    Even if a relationship never finds peace or reconciliation again, realize it does NOT diminish your value. Before you were ever a family member, spouse, child, parent, or a friend, you were God’s. He will always unconditionally love you, because you are totally valuable and “enough” to Him. Yes, you will go through incredible heartache if reconciliation does not take place, but God will be there for you every single day—especially on your toughest days!

    There is always hope and your life is precious! Please never forget that!❤️

    Gratitude, healing, love, & many blessings,
    Kim

    ©2016 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

    ❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

    ⭐️For more encouragement:

    🎄Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

    ❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): Click here for book

    ⭐️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

    🎄Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

    ❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

    1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

    2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

    3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

    4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

    5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

    6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

    7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

    ⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is copyright protected material. Please ask for permission to copy, use, or print.

    ⭐️⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is for encouragement purposes only and is not in any way to be construed as medical, emotional, mental, relational, or psychological advice. We hope to serve as a bridge to encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

    🎄❤️🎄

    7 Things To Realize About Someone Who Is Going Through A Hard Time

    We all know someone who is going through a hard time or a time of grief. It may even be someone in our own family (or our own self) who is going through a tough season in life.

    Sometimes, it can be difficult to know what to say to those who are experiencing an extremely tough time or who are battling deep depression, debilitating anxiety, intense loss, or tumultuous grief…so what happens (many times) is these special people end up being displaced or ignored.

    If you know of someone who has gone through the death of a close loved one, a major breakup or divorce, a suicide attempt, an illness, adultery or betrayal, deep church hurt, family issues, addictions/rebellion/estrangement of a family member, or another situation of great heartache, please consider this list and reach out to them. You truly have the power to make an incredible difference by offering encouragement, compassion, support, and love!

    7 Things To Realize About Someone Who Is Going Through A Hard Time:

    1. Realize they are hurting deeply. Life as they knew it has been abruptly shattered. They may be forgetful, be in a “fog,” or not answer phone calls or text messages.
    Sometimes their pain runs so deep that they seem to lose their way.
    They may act uncharacteristically and say or do things they normally wouldn’t. Grief and loss changes people. They most likely will go through a time of needing to figure out who they are as they rebuild their life.

    2. They may not reach out for help…or they may not yet be open to receiving help. They may feel as though they are in a dark miry pit with no knowledge of how to climb out. They may even be too depressed to even think about getting help. Be there for them. Offer your help. Ask if they specifically need anything. Be a good family member or friend and let them know they have your unconditional love and support.
    Ask, in a supportive and kind way, “How can I help you?” or, “How may I help you through this?”
    Whatever you do, don’t lecture them, try to “fix” them, make them feel guilty or badly for how they feel, or make them feel like they’re your “feel good” project of the day. Just be real..and just be you.

    3. It will take time for them to heal. Anytime a heart is broken, it takes time, comfort, self-work, genuine love, and encouragement to level out.
    They’re not going to just “snap out of it” or “be their old self.” Don’t become frustrated with them. Believe me, they are just as frustrated as you may become after they aren’t able to shut off their heartache or grief. Don’t heap additional guilt onto them by placing unfair expectations on them. They can, and most likely will, emerge from their situation better…but it will take time.

    4. They can seem fine one minute and then be completely down or irritable the next. Feelings can be sporadic and totally unpredictable during times of grief and loss. Allow them to feel what they need to feel…be patient with them.
    There are so many ups and downs a person will go through when going through situations of heartache, anger, and deep grief. Reminders of their loss can also spring up out of nowhere, at any given time, which also create ups and downs for a griever. Please allow them the freedom to go through all of these ups and downs without reacting to them. They’re not meaning to be hurtful–or irritated–on purpose towards others…it is not meant to be personal…they’re merely trying to get through their pain on a day to day (and sometimes an hour by hour) basis.

    5. Don’t assume other people are encouraging them or being there for them. More times than not, they can feel isolated and alone. Even if they don’t ask for it, they need love and encouragement. Show compassionate concern for them. Do NOT ignore them or act as though their grief experience didn’t happen. Don’t drop out of their life. They need loving and loyal support more than ever!
    They WILL remember who was there for them…and who was not.

    6. They truly hate when family and friends attempt to minimize or downplay their pain…or worse, try to make them artificially feel better. Many times, when someone is hurting, their loved ones are desperate to make the one who is hurting feel better. Many times, they want to help but do not understand how to help their loved one, so they fumble around and say whatever awkwardly comes to mind. Most people also try to avoid talking about the uncomfortable topic of grief…so they try to cheer the person up (out of good intentions) by changing the topic or being awkwardly cheerful around the hurting person.
    Be honest and tell the hurting person, “I have no idea what to say or do to help you, but please know that I care and I’m here and I’m willing to help you in any way that I can.”
    Majority of the time, words fall empty and fail but letting them know you care doesn’t.
    Also, if they lost a loved one, don’t be afraid to mention their deceased loved one’s name. Don’t worry about bringing their deceased loved one up in conversation…they’re on their mind and in their heart every single day.

    7. They want family and friends to be genuine and sincere when they reach out to them. They most likely have already heard a ton of well-intentioned cliches, such as, “You’ll find another spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend,” or, “They’re in a better place,” or, “You can always have another baby,” or, “God must’ve needed an angel,” or, “Life isn’t always fair,” or, “Everything happens for a reason,” – and everyone’s seemingly favorite: “I’m praying for you” (absolutely nothing wrong with prayer…just if you say it, please actually do it and continue to pray for your loved one).
    Keep in mind to be helpful by infusing them with hope just by being present, inviting them out for coffee or a movie, or letting them know that although they are in horrible pain, it won’t always be like this. Better days WILL come…in time.
    Some may not want to talk, so empathetically follow their lead.
    If you’re not sure, ask if they’d like to talk, ask how you can specifically pray for them, offer to do a specific errand or chore for them, tell them you would like to bring them dinner, or offer them a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant that they can use at a future date.
    The more sincere, heartfelt, and compassionate you can be, the better.
    Actions always trump words when it comes to helping people through life’s hurts and disappointments.

    In ending this post, it’s important to know that each person is different.
    Some may welcome an opportunity to talk or would love to be invited to do something to take their mind off of their heartache, while some may feel a strong need to isolate themselves and be alone. Some may need to talk about the event that broke their heart, while others may not want to talk about it at all.

    When all else fails, simply show up, reach out (and keep reaching out), allow the person to grieve, LISTEN, and simply be there and care.

    Everybody needs people who care about them. Please consider these 7 ideas and offer your hurting family and friends HOPE, encouragement, and genuine love today!

    ©2014 by Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

    ❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!❤️

    For more encouragement:

    Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): Click here for book

    Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

    Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

    Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

    FREE YouVersion reading plans:

    1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 

    2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 

    3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 

    4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

    5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

    ⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is copyright protected material. Please ask for permission to copy, use, or print. 

    ⭐️⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is for encouragement purposes only and is not in any way to be construed as medical, emotional, mental, relational, or psychological advice. We hope to serve as a bridge to encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice

    ❤️

    Wounded: 7 Steps To Free Your Soul

    Wounded. 
    One of the worst feelings in the world.

    Everybody will go through multiple times of being wounded during the course of their lifetime. And everybody will wound others.

    Because most situations of being wounded stem from vulnerability, and being vulnerable is a part of everyday life, it is imperative for everybody to understand how to favorably respond to being wounded.

    There are limitless ways you allow yourself to be vulnerable each and every day:
    1. You develop friendships
    2. You go to church and trust the leadership and relationships you develop there
    3. You pour into family and friends
    4. You share or pitch professional ideas at work
    5. You trust someone by confiding in them
    6. You invest in or mentor others
    7. You date, consider giving someone your heart, fall in love, and/or get married. Family members also bring others into the family with who they choose to date or marry. Sometimes these relationships end up being detrimental or excruciatingly painful
    8. You share details about your testimony or life story…or share your life goals
    9. You achieve something significant in life or fail at something significant
    10. You trust others to be a decent person
    Yet you end up 
    burnt…
    devastated…
    disappointed…
    wounded.

    Yes, everybody, at some point in their life, will end up being deeply wounded. 

    Did you know being deeply wounded can change who you are as a person?
    It can bring out an anxiety or ugliness inside you that you never knew existed.
    Ultimately, it can plant a seed of bitterness that, if not dealt with, can harvest a huge crop of unending discord, disappointment, dissatisfaction, or even create deep depression, hatred, or resentment in your heart.

    Being wounded is a terrible experience to go through, yet, being wounded is one of the most significant spiritual opportunities God can allow you to experience.

    I wouldn’t have thought this to be true a few weeks ago, right before finally experiencing a major breakthrough after being incredibly wounded. What God has taught me through being deeply offended and wounded opened my eyes to the significant opportunity woundedness offers, though. 

    Just for the record…no one in their right mind would cheerfully sign up for being wounded to learn any spiritual lessons…and no one will be skipping through fields of flowers after learning those meaningful lessons…but if you ever find yourself wounded or offended, you may as well learn the powerful lessons it has to offer.

    If you gotta GO through it, you may as well GROW through it!

    The last few years, God has been working in my life and showing me how to handle being wounded.
    Multiple situations have arose that have given me, and my family, the opportunity to learn quite a bit through being unfairly wronged.

    It has not been an easy road to be on. 
    In fact, there were many moments of anger, despair, frustration, and many tears. And to be completely honest, even some not-so-godly thoughts towards the offenders/wounders.

    Many people I know, including myself, do not initially always pass the test when unfairly wronged or wounded. It’s easier to react than to respond favorably after someone has greatly hurt or offended you or a loved one…especially if it significantly altered your life. 

    What do you do when an offense is so great that forgiveness is not easily accomplished? 
    What is your plan of action when the resentment you feel brews stronger than the blackest dark roast coffee? What about when you see the person who wounded you or you think about the incredibly damaging effects their offense has had on you or your loved ones?

    It can be super hard to forgive some offenses. 

    The greater or more costly the offense, the harder it is to genuinely forgive and move forward in peace…but to forgive and move forward in peace should be the ultimate goal.

    I want to share with you a few things that helped me through some tough times in forgiving others.

    Some steps I took helped me tremendously and I hope they are a big help and encouragement to anyone going through being wounded or wronged, as well as anyone who may be battling bitterness.

    Some at this point may be nursing deep wounds. They want to move forward but the offense was a lot to bear…it may even currently still be a lot to bear.
    Many times, an offense can have lifelong consequences.

    A wounded person really only has three choices:
    1. Push back the emotions and try to act as though the offense never occurred…basically ignoring the issue
    2. Feed any resentment or bitterness
    3. Work on forgiveness as you grow through the situation and move forward in peace

    Someone who has been wronged can choose the typical responses to being wounded: 
    • get mad
    • dislike or resent difficult people 
    • have bad thoughts or pray against them (hey, King David harshly prayed against his enemies throughout the book of Psalms)
    • tarnish their reputation through speaking lies, exaggerations…or unflattering truths…about them
    • be revengeful 
    • ultimately plant seeds of bitterness in their heart 
    These actions will most likely make a wounded person feel better at firstbut at what cost to their own heart and soul? And God will hold them accountable for not forgiving…and defiling others.

    Booker T. Washington once said, “I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.” 

    Isn’t that the truth? When we hate others, it belittles our own soul…it does absolutely nothing to the person who was wounding.

    A very good friend shared with me something similar, “Being bitter towards your offender is like you drinking poison but expecting your offender to die.” 
    Ouch!

    It’s true…Bitterness hardens and poisons YOUR heart, damages YOUR soul, and changes who YOU are as a person. Trust me, I know this personally after becoming bitter towards people who deeply wronged and wounded my family and me.

    You may think to yourself, “Won’t I know if I’m becoming bitter?”
    Bitterness creeps in very slowly. 
    No one plans on becoming or being bitter, but without major self reflection, you won’t immediately realize or see the true effects.

    Most people do not recognize their own bitterness.
    I speak from personal experience…I didn’t realize how bitter I was until a friend called me out on it. 
    While nursing some deep wounds after going through a very tough situation with a loved one who was wronged, I took up a major offense towards the offenders involved.

    Was it wrong to want justice? Absolutely not.
    Is it wrong to expect people to do the right thing or apologize? Not at all!

    It becomes wrong when justice…and a well fed grudge…becomes more important than God and good character.

    We all know we should forgive others, but are you worried you won’t be able to truly forgive and move forward because the person(s) who wounded you (or your loved one) isn’t even remotely sorry for their offense(s)?

    Don’t worry…you can take these steps whether your offender is sorry or not.

    I learned that forgiveness, resolution, and/or restoration did not have to take place for me to clean out my own heart and do the honorable thing in God’s eyes.

    Don’t get me wrong: it was not easy to forgive, but I had a “fork in the road” decision to make:
    • I could hold onto the hurts and offenses 
    OR
    I could have a healthy relationship with God and peace in my soul
    I found I could not have it both ways.

    It took time and forgiving this particular situation was not instantaneous…and there are still days a bad thought will pop into my head, prodding me to renew my grudge.


    So how do you get an offender out of your head?

    For me, it was helpful to put my thoughts into proper perspective and to look into the motives.
    Some offenders do not care that they wounded another person. Thoughts of the people they’ve hurt or offended are non-existent to the offender. They couldn’t care less.
    With that said, when an offender has caused major loss in life…I began to realize that I was not going to allow additional loss by allowing them to live rent free inside my thought life.
     
    Other offenders may not realize the depth they have wounded others. A simple conversation can clear things up quickly.

    As I prayed about how to best deal with multiple situations (the original offense had a domino effect, creating additional situations), God was good to give me solid insight into freeing my soul from being wounded.

    The following steps were life-giving to me and helped me to overcome my bitterness. 
    Praying these steps are of great help to somebody today!

    1. View your offender through God’s eyes~

    Yes, this can be a tall order. After all, shouldn’t God be on our team and dislike our offender as much as we do?
    God loves and adores each person He created…equally. There is no favoritism with Him. From Billy Graham down to the worst person on the planet, God wants what is best for each person. All are deeply loved and incredibly treasured by Him.

    When we view our offender through our own eyes, all we will see is the ugliness they have done. We will no longer see any of the good they have in them. We stop viewing them as a whole, we instead only view their terribly wounding offense(s) as well as every character flaw they possess.

    It’s important to realize that no matter what they’ve done to us personally, they still have great value in God’s eyes. 
    God has a big purpose and plan for their life…no matter what they have done…and He greatly desires for them to have an abundant life.
    He created them, and He has a plan for them to do wonderful works, too.
    Their offense is not the totality of who they are as a person; it may be a very poor choice they made. Always seek to look for the 90% of what’s right about a person than the 10% of their wrong faults. Refuse to be a fault-finder.

    “Discernment is God’s call to intercession, never to fault finding.”

    ~Oswald Chambers

    What if I still can’t remove the resentment or bitterness I feel?
    It personally helps me to remember a quote my son once shared with me: “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”
    I remember that I am deeply flawed and remind myself of the mercy I need daily.
    I also make sure I remember and fully realize what God has done for me and how He forgives me.
    Many testimonies have stemmed out of deep heartache. 
    Today’s heartache could very well be tomorrow’s testimony that helps many.

    2. Truly seek to understand~

    What is the entirety of the situation? Is just one party at fault, both parties, or multiple parties?
    Ask yourself, “Did they intentionally wound me on purpose?”…”What was their true motive or intent?”…”Were they reacting?”

    Sometimes, the people who wound us did not truly intend to wound or offend us.
    Thoughtlessness is prevalent in the self-saturated society we live in. Most people only look at a situation through their own eyes…and most do not even attempt to put their own self in the other person’s shoes to
    see how truly hurtful and offensive their actions were.

    People are fallible, flawed, and do not always go into their decisions thoughtfully, and they don’t always have the maturity or the life experience to know how to best handle relationships, situations, or decisions. 
    Not everybody has developed good character or wisdom for each and every situation in life either.
    Everybody needs mercy…ourselves included.

    Think of all the times you offended or wounded others. Did you truly go into it thinking how you were going to wound, wrong, or offend someone?
    Also consider, were the offending person’s actions due to taking up an offense for someone they perceived was wronged? Were they attempting to protect someone or prevent future heartache?

    You might be thinking, “This chick doesn’t know what she’s talking about…some people are just jerks,“…I wholeheartedly agree that can be completely true about some people.

    So many factors go into the wounding actions of others.
    Seeking to understand truly is key.


    3. Look at how your situation personally applies VERTICALLY to God~

    Majority of the time, we are doing to God, or somebody else, exactly what another person is doing to us or a loved one.

    When you genuinely ask “How have I, or any of my loved ones, betrayed, hurt, or wounded God or others?
    This vertical question turns a wounding reality into a convicting reality as one thinks about how many times they have hurt God or not been loyal or faithful to Him. 

    Idolatry and choosing to be bitter are both sins…yet we don’t always view our offenses toward God in the same manner, or as seriously, as we view our offender’s offenses towards ourselves.

    When we train ourselves to see life challenges or offenses through a vertical lens, no matter the topic, we clearly see how universally we have hurt God and others in similar situations.

    Next time you’re offended, truly check to see if you are doing the same offense towards God or someone else.

    In some situations, that totally is not the case, but many times, the answer is unfavorable.


    4. Seek to see what you can learn through the offense you are going through~

    Offenses can teach us important  life lessons. An offense may even prevent something worse from happening in the future due to the wisdom you learn from a previous offense.

    We must be open to God so He can show us how to wisely navigate through offensive or hurtful situations. Without His guidance, we might miss crucial wisdom.

    Tough situations in life will either make us better or bitter.
    When we choose to be better through a challenging experience, rewards eventually come our way.
    When we choose to be bitter, we will most likely go through additional loss…and will go through a similar situation to learn the lesson we missed.

    As I was at coffee with two very good friends…friends I am very authentic and vulnerable with; both ladies are trustworthy accountability partners to me…I asked for advice on how to get over the feelings I was feeling. No matter what I did, I couldn’t shake the bitterness I felt after a situation of deep offense and woundedness.
    I prayed about it…went through the steps of forgiving the offense several times…tried to let it go…even invested kind words into some of those who were responsible for the wounding offense…but nothing seemed to have any lasting power.

    I couldn’t shake it.

    After a time of deep prayer, I began to clearly see that God allowed the deep offenses so I could learn how to overcome bitterness when others are not sorry…and this is greatly helping me to help others in my grief ministry who are going through situations where they have been deeply wounded.

    It’s easy to forgive someone when they come to you and apologize. It’s a bit more challenging when they’ve created an extensive amount of damage, and then are aloof, uncaring, or insensitive to the situation they created.

    It is beyond important to understand that God will sometimes allow a wounding situation for a specific reason….not cause it, but allow it…and good can come out of any situation, whether the offensive party is sorry or not.

    Not saying it’s easy…because it usually is not...but there are very specific lessons we can learn through being wounded…lessons that will ultimately free us and eventually help us later in life. It can also help us to be a source of encouragement to others who are going through a similar situation.
    We also learn the value of waiting on God and trusting Him to genuinely work out difficult situations in His perfect timing.

    I can assure you that the heartache and struggles you are going through are not in vain. Like Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Church says, “God never wastes a hurt. We sometimes do, but God does not.”

    So while you are waiting, what about your offender?
    You can be sure God will hold your offender accountable. God never allows anyone to get away with wounding others…ourselves included.
    One day, EVERYBODY will give an account for the ways they have wounded and wronged others. Everybody will also have to give an account for how they handled wounding situations, too.

    This next step was the most important one. I found this step to be the ultimate step that gave me freedom from bitterness…And, it was my least favorite step to take! 
    When my friend suggested I do this next step, that one day at the coffee date I told you about earlier, I remember seriously cringing. 
    I’m so grateful I did this next step though, because it brought me the peace I needed to genuinely move forward.

    5. Pray God BLESSES your offender and invest in your offender’s life by praying for them~

    You may be thinking, “ABSOLUTELY NO WAY!!!!”
    I mean, who wants to ask God to bless an offensive, hurtful, wounding, or problematic person?

    Most do not want to ask God to bless their offenders. The people who have wounded you most likely have created havoc or greatly altered life as you knew it due to their wounding actions and decisions.  

    If most people are truly honest, they want God to do the OPPOSITE of bless their offenders.
    I know I initially felt this way, especially since my family and I continue to experience consequences of the offender(s) actions.

    I felt that way until I realized a harsh reality..what if God had the same attitude towards my family and me for all the times we have wounded His heart?

    The fact that God chooses to forgive, love, and bless me is reason enough for me to choose to forgive and bless an offender through praying for God to bless them.

    I had to remember that the offenders who wounded us were created in God’s image. They are deeply loved by Him.
    God has incredible life purposes and plans for their lives.
    And since they are also believers, we are all going to be living in the exact same Heaven someday.
    We are on the same team, but we were all deceived by a greater enemy to engage in hurtful conflict.
    Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
    Hebrews 12:14-15, “Try to be at peace with everyone, and try to live a holy life, because no one will see the Lord without it. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
    I try to continually choose to be the mercy today that I want to receive tomorrow…because I’m in need of mercy, too.
    Someone, most likely, could have authored this same blog post about me at some point in my life.
    Everybody has been wounded because we all wound others.

    We need to look to the One who has been wounded more than anyone else…and learn how to love, forgive, and bless others from His incredible viewpoint and example.

    So since we are all fallible, does that just give everybody a hall pass to wound others and expect forgiveness no matter what?
    Not at all! Each person, including ourselves, should make it a goal to be mindful of how we treat others.
    If we offend someone, it is our responsibility to make things right. The ultimate goal is to treat others with such honor and kindness that wounding others never becomes an option in the first place.

    Matthew 5:23-24, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

    So after you forgive someone, it’s instant and permanent, and you’ll never be challenged to resent or dislike the person ever again, right?
    I wish! The truth is, forgiveness is a choice. Even though forgiveness is instant, it may take time for the heart and feelings to catch up. 
    I have found that forgiving is a daily choice.

    Whenever a bitter or wounded thought comes to my mind, or a negative thought comes to mind about the offenders, I immediately use those thoughts as a signal to pray for them and the situation of conflict. 

    Pray God outrageously blesses your offender and pray He genuinely works through the situation of conflict in His way. Be sure to also ask God to heal your heart!

    God proves Himself faithful in the toughest situations when we do things His way and as we look at our offenders and our tough life situations through His eyes! It isn’t always easy but it is rewarding.

    6. Realize that majority of conflict is simply a decoy to what God wants to do in the lives of the people affected by the conflict~

    We are in battle with an enemy…but the enemy is not who we think it is.
    We faultily think the enemy is our offender, when in reality, our enemy is from a completely different realm.
    This is especially true when conflict happens between families, fellow believers, and in churches.

    Again, consider Ephesians 6:12: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places”

    If you have experienced conflict with a family member, a fellow Christian, or in your church or with church staff, you can be sure that the enemy knew the positive potential the people involved in the conflict could have.

    Now I am not advocating condoning another person’s poor choices or behavior, or excusing the wrong they did, and forgiveness does not mean we foolishly throw ourselves into genuinely abusive situations. Forgiveness is simply a loving courtesy we extend to others because God extends that same love and courtesy to us. We must ultimately trust God to deal with the situation and people involved in His own way and His time. 

    So, what if you STILL do not want to forgive an offender?
    Consider Job and Joseph in the Bible.
    God shows the importance of forgiving others through both of these men’s lives.
    Although both experienced excruciating hardships and unbearable heartache, both chose to trust God and take the higher road after being wounded.
    As a result, both reaped incredible blessings and favor from God for doing so…in fact, Job only found favor through his grief experience after he chose to forgive his friends and interceded for them in prayer. That is the exact moment God restored Job…and gave him a double portion of favor. 

    There is no sane explanation, but freedom usually comes only through forgiveness, and praying for the offender(s).

    7. Realize that being wounded (and also conflict…even rejection) is necessary to make us more like Christ~

    The most trying times in life are usually what brings about the most spiritual growth.

    When life is going great, nothing is tested. It’s easy to be good and kind to others…when they are good or kind to us.
    But, when those around us are wounding, offensive, rude, or unkind, it truly tests our character. It also reveals what is in our own heart, too.

    Think of all of the people who were absolutely awful to Christ. How did he respond to them?
    What was His example?
    What would have happened to you or me had He decided to put His offenders in their place by zapping them?
    We wouldn’t have known the beauty of the cross or ever realized His incredibly awesome love for us…we wouldn’t be positively changed forever.

    Being wounded offers the chance and opportunity to use situations of conflict as “sandpaper” to our heart and soul.
    When we choose to go to God with our hurts, He can gently “sand off” the impurities held in our heart as we look at the situation through His eternal perspective and ways.
    Ultimately, times of conflict or being wounded are opportunities that allow God to remove hidden sin from our heart, to trust Him through tough situations, and to allow Him to minister to our heart and heal our woundedness through His love and encouragement.

    With that said, I believe that if someone has significantly hurt or wronged you, they should be held accountable in a Christ-like manner.

    If after you have deeply prayed about a situation and you feel God is leading you to confront someone who has wronged you, I highly encourage you to follow the biblical blueprint for doing so; and as you do, go in a spirit of humility and self reflection, maintaining good character. (Matthew 18:15-20; Galations 6:1-2; Colossians 3:13; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Matthew 7; James 5:19-20)

    Sometimes, during a confrontation, it is obvious that someone intentionally offended or hurt us…other times, we find out that an offender truly did not mean to hurt or offend us at all. In fact, they were oblivious to the entire situation…this is why it is so important to go into confronting others in a right spirit as we seek to understand the overall picture of the situation.

    If you don’t think you can confront someone in a right spirit, wait until you can.

    If there are people you feel you should confront, it is important to wait on the right timing, as well as a time where you can truly trust your words and keep your attitude in check. 

    Do NOT confront someone unless you can trust yourself to not make the situation worse. You may have forgiven an offender, but you may need to work on sorting the situation out further in your heart so you are able to go in a right frame of mind and with a right spirit. 
    Also, do whatever is most minimal in confronting someone. Many times, a spark is more powerful—and more effective—than a big out of control fireworks show. Only do that which is necessary to move forward in peace.

    Ultimately, and ideally, when we confront a person who has been hurtful, we shouldn’t confront in an attitude of “telling them off” or to punish them…it should be from the mindset of genuinely seeking to understand with resolution for both our self, as well as them, so both parties can clear their conscience and move forward in life…better than before the confrontation took place.
    This isn’t always achieved, but I think this should be the ultimate goal.

    What if a confrontation and/or resolution simply are not possibilities?
    I truly believe in resolution when it is possible, but resolution isn’t always obtainable…and it isn’t always in the best interest of the wounded party either, especially in difficult situations such as if an offender committed murder or great malice.
    A great book to read on this topic is Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend.
    If the conflict is among family, I think in situations where there is a great amount of damage, it can be necessary to meet with a trusted pastor or a professional counselor to personally help work the situation out spiritually and emotionally…and they can also give wise counsel on the matter and discuss it further.
    It isn’t always best to confront an offender. Sometimes, God is trying to teach our own self a powerful lesson.

    I chose not to confront the offenders because I never felt a peace about doing so. I instead chose to trust God completely in the situation and entrusted the details to Him. 

    When you trust God with the details, I feel it is important to make sure to be mindful in self-reflection so as to see any blind spots that can possibly be in a situation of conflict or woundedness…and learn as much as you can so you don’t miss any vital lessons. 
    It’s very important to be honest with yourself during times of conflict or woundedness because it does no good to look at another person’s faults if we are being oblivious to our own.
    Beware of no man more than of yourself, for we often carry our worst enemies within us.” 
    ~Charles Spurgeon

    No matter the details or outcome of a situation, I believe that forgiveness is vital…it is just as much for our own heart as it is for our offender(s). Forgiveness must be pursued and resolved within our own self. If it isn’t, the quality of our life, testimony, and our own heart will never become all it can be. 
    Unforgiveness ultimately harms the vessel in which it resides…and doesn’t harm the person it is aimed at. It’s like loading a gun and aiming it at our own spirit.

    As you trust God with working out the details of any situation of woundedness you are going through, give the ENTIRE situation to Him. God has the power to smooth out the rough spots of any situation and work it for our good and His ultimate purposes. As you submit to and obey God, trust Him to give you treasures out of the darkness of the conflicts you face.

    Today, make the decision to trust God through any situation that is paining you. Pour your heart out to Him and entrust your problems and cares into His more than capable hands.

    Tap into the power of Christ’s strength to make truly forgiving and investing in others through prayer genuinely possible.
    With Christ, all things are possible.

    Let me leave you with a few verses to encourage you. God is faithful and keeps His Word. I pray He meets you right where you are and brings healing to whatever you are facing today!


    © 2015 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

    Psalm 56:8-11, “You know how troubled I am; you have kept a record of my tears. Aren’t they listed in your book? The day I call to you, my enemies will be turned back. I know this: God is on my side — the Lord, whose promises I praise. In him I trust, and I will not be afraid.”

    Genesis 50:20, But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God thought it out unto good, to bring to pass that which we see this day, to give life to many people.”

    Psalm 37:3-9, “Trust the Lord and do good; live in the land, and farm faithfulness. Enjoy the Lord, and he will give what your heart asks. Commit your way to the Lord! Trust him! He will act and will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like high noon. Be still before the Lord, and wait for him. Don’t get upset when someone gets ahead— someone who invents evil schemes. Let go of anger and leave rage behind! Don’t get upset—it will only lead to evil. Because evildoers will be eliminated, but those who hope in the Lord, they will possess the land.

    Romans 12:17-19, “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.”

    Colossians‬ ‭3‬:‭23-25‬, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.”

    Matthew 7:1-5,Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”

    Isaiah 45:2-3, “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars. I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.”

    Isaiah‬ ‭55‬:‭8-9‬ , “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

    Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

    1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:15-24‬, “See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.”

    ‭‭Gratitude & blessings,

    Kim


    ©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

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