Focus on the solution not the problem

2021-02-27
Isaiah 30:15 NKJV

As problems arise in your relationships, you’ll be forced to become a translator, negotiator, diplomat, and peacekeeper. And good communication skills are essential. Nothing is more frustrating than being misunderstood, misheard, ignored, or misconstrued.

But talking isn’t always the answer. Sometimes it empowers the problem. Our mistake is we often give too much verbiage to the issue; in other words, we talk about it when we should be quiet and focus on a solution. God has given you the gifts you need to change the situation. Don’t talk about it; instead, do it! If we misuse words or talk out of hand, it can lead us away from a solution we would otherwise see. James tells us that what we say has immense power for destruction. “The tongue…a little member…boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth” (James 3:5 KJV). Just our tone of voice can escalate a conversation into a raging fire! Don’t be the person with flames coming out of your mouth. Tame your tongue. Grab hold of the situation when it arises and bring light and life to it! Our conversations are to be seasoned with grace (See Colossians 4:6). Speak positively, because God is still on the throne and He has a plan.

Responding appropriately often requires quietness, then careful reflection. And sometimes it’s better just to remain quiet. When you’re anxious, chances are you’ll overtalk. When you’re angry, you’ll make the situation worse. And when you’re too aggressive, you’ll lose instead of winning. The Bible says, “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” And that’s a scriptural principle that always works.

Soul food: Gen 28:1-30:24; Matt 19:1-14; Ps 66:1-12; Prov 6:20-22

Responding appropriately


Isaiah 30:15 NCV

In most relationships, we’ll encounter problems and conflict at some point. As those difficulties arise, we’ll often need to become translators, negotiators, diplomats, and peacekeepers in order to find a solution. And at times like these, good communication skills are essential.

It’s really frustrating to be misunderstood, misheard, or ignored. But we have to be careful how we approach it. We need to talk to understand each person’s perspective on what’s gone wrong, but sometimes we can end up empowering the problem if we focus too much on talking about what’s wrong rather than working towards finding a solution.

God has given us the gifts we need to change the situation. If we misuse our words or let them come from a place of anger, it can lead us away from a solution we would otherwise see. James tells us that what we say has immense power for destruction. ‘The tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire’ (James 3:5 NLT). Just our tone of voice can escalate a conversation into a raging fire, but our words can also bring calmness and light to a difficult situation.

Responding appropriately often needs quietness and careful reflection. There are times when it’s better to remain quiet and step away from the situation for a few minutes. When we’re anxious, chances are we’ll over-talk. When we’re angry, we can make the situation worse. And when we’re too aggressive, we risk damaging the relationship and hurting the other people involved. The Bible says, ‘If you will be calm and trust me, you will be strong.’ Let’s remember that whenever we need to have a difficult conversation.

Gen 28:1-30:24;Matt 19:1-14; Ps 66:1-12; Prov 6:20-22

Be flexible

2021-02-26
Philippians 2:4 NKJV

When it comes to the truth, you should be unbending. But when it comes to relationships, you must learn to be flexible. If you always need to be “right” and make the other person “wrong,” you’ll never enjoy stable, long-lasting relationships.

One author writes: “We will not last together because we were never wrong. We will last because when we were wrong, we found the invincible will to correct the wrong and the grace to endure whatever it took to survive it together. Our families are never perfect, but that doesn’t mean we cannot find a way to make it across the tumultuous seas onto the shores of love and life. Coming from backgrounds with different traditions and conflicting ideas, we bring baggage and unrealistic expectations to our relationships whether we are conscious of it or not.”

So what should you do? He continues: “Create in yourself an openness to change and an understanding that much correction will be needed for what you will face together. Make this attitude your charter for how you will operate as a couple. Always be willing to recalibrate your relationship to ensure that decisions made at one stage of life now fit the growth and maturity of the present.”

Do you know what the biggest problem in our relationships is? Selfishness! We want to have things our own way. But that’s not the scriptural way. The Bible says, “Let each of you look out not only for his [or her] own interests, but also for the interests of others.” When you live with that kind of mind-set, you’ll enjoy rich, rewarding relationships.

Soul food: Gen 25:19-27:46; Matt 18:21-35; Ps 61; Prov 6:16-19

Be flexible


Philippians 2:4 NCV

When it comes to our relationships with other people, we need to learn to be flexible. There are times when we need to stand firm, but if we find we always need to be ‘right’ and make the other person ‘wrong’, we’ll struggle to build stable, long-lasting friendships and relationships. One author writes: ‘We will not last together because we were never wrong. We will last because when we were wrong, we found the invincible will to correct the wrong and the grace to endure whatever it took to survive it together.’

Our relationships are made up of imperfect people with their own ideas and opinions, and with different backgrounds, experiences, and expectations – it’s inevitable that we’ll disagree from time to time, no matter how well we usually get on. The key is to accept that we won’t always agree, and then be willing to work together to find a solution, open to change, and prepared to meet others halfway.

Jesus demonstrated this attitude at the wedding at Cana. When the wine ran out, Mary wanted Jesus to do something about it. He replied: ‘My time has not yet come’ (John 2:4 NCV). It wasn’t the right time for Him to reveal to everyone what He could do, but rather than completely refusing to help, He carried out Mary’s request quietly and subtly.

The root of many problems in relationships is selfishness. We like to get our own way. But that’s not how the Bible encourages us to live. Philippians 2:4 says: ‘Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others’ (NCV). When we’re concerned for others as well as ourselves, we’ll find it easier to co-operate and find some middle ground when disagreements happen.

Gen 25:19-27:46; Matt 18:21-35; Ps 61; Prov 6:16-19

Slow down! (1)

2020-11-28
Philippians 3:13 NLT

We live in the day of multitasking. We talk on the phone, apply makeup, drink coffee, eat lunch, feed the kids, and even read text messages while barreling down the highway. Dr. Richard Swenson says: “In some instances we are more productive…some people crochet while watching the news. And in certain jobs it’s considered necessary; clerks on the Stock Exchange floor are required to run around doing five things at once. But isn’t it bizarre that when a 48-year-old broker drops dead, his colleagues keep working around the lifeless body receiving CPR?

The dramatic escalation of busyness has given us too much to do in a short time. The standard strategy…instead of refusing to take on more…is to do two, three, or four things at once. It’s an extension of the do-more-and-more-with-less-and-less philosophy. But someone forgot to do the math! By doing two things at once you divert 30 percent of your attention from the primary task; you sacrifice quality for quantity, which leads to more errors. You may end up finishing more tasks, but with poorer products and frazzled nerves. The downside of multitasking isn’t well-advertised…so we keep experimenting to see how far we can push the envelope.

However, when it comes to relationships, multitasking can be disastrous. We don’t listen…it takes too much time. Families need focus…babies need what they need when they need it. You either parent them or you don’t.

Paul didn’t live like that. He focused ‘on…one thing,’ which was the person in front of him.” A dog has four feet, but it doesn’t try to walk down four roads! So slow down and establish a pace that’s sane and sustainable.

Soul food: 2 Chr 32-34; John 14:15-25; Ps 118:19-29; Prov 28:5-8