Joining Forces

Stop contention before a quarrel starts.

Proverbs 17:14

“And the winner is…” That’s what Mike and Meg  wanted me to announce during their early therapy sessions.  They entered counseling on different sides and proceeded with one central question,”Who’s right?” My job was to convince Mike and Meg to join forces and fight together against their problems in life.

My first task was to help Mike and Meg recognize there was indeed a war going on. And the next stop was negotiation. When both partners began to recognize their own individual selfishness, the differences in the marriage could begin to be addressed from a stance of  “What’s in both of our best interest?”

When Mike and Meg began to realize that they both win when one wins and both lose when one loses, I knew they were on the right track. One step farther was to begin to teach each of them the concept of putting the interest and needs of the mate above their own interests  and needs. My therapeutic goal was to combine their forces and send Mike and Meg out as equipped allies headed toward victory in the war of life together.

Prayer:  Lord, help me see my loved ones as allies, not adversaries.


Speaking Truth

Speaking  the truth in love.

Ephesians 4:15

But it’s so much more natural to speak the truth in anger,” Sue said, “I don’t know the first thing about speaking it in love.”

Can you relate to Sue? So often we associate speaking the truth with criticism, verbal abuse, or sarcasm. After all, that’s how many of us heard it in our family of origin. The problem is that what we heard was not necessarily the truth. Verbal abuse and sarcasm tell us more about the criticizer than the person being criticized. Constructive honesty builds people up. Destructive honesty tears them down. Words leave a permanent imprint on people’s lives. And relationships do not give a license for rudeness.

When you talk , is the other person touched by your acceptance, understanding, and empathy? If so, your communication demonstrated love. But is your communication also characterized by truth? That’s equally important . Love and mental telepathy are not the same thing. If you’re upset, afraid, feeling neglected or angry, you need to say so.

The only person who lived this principle of  “truth in love” perfectly was Jesus Christ. Let’s ask Him to help us to be more aware of our communication.

Prayer:  Lord, help me today to be lovingly honest.