I am involved, personally, in various situations of strained relationships at the moment. Each of them carries a degree of grief. One common feature to many of the situations is that of there being an unwillingness to talk. Why is it that people refuse to talk?
It is so dismaying to not be able to get together to courteously and respectfully talk things through. To clarify if there have been any misunderstandings and where and what the disagreements are about. Oh how wonderful it would be to be able to talk. And yet people don’t want to.
So why is it that people don’t want to do this? Why is it that they refuse to meet up and talk? It is interesting in Matthew 18:15 that we read ‘If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. If you do have an issue with someone the first thing to do is not to discuss it with others or gossip about it, it is to go and talk to the person. The passage, Matthew 18:15-17, deals with the specific circumstance of when someone sins against you. However, underlying it and flowing out if it is the implicit expectation that when there are difficulties in relationships there is a need to talk.
But the question that remains is why do people not talk? Here are some thoughts:-
- They want to inflict hurt. They feel that talking may well lead to healing and do not want that. Rather they want the other person to suffer and therefore they will not talk.
- They want to retain their version of “the truth”. Talking will inevitably lead to a situation whereby certain things are clarified and “the truth” will change. Attitudes will, thereby, have to be shifted if they accept this new understanding of the situation. People don’t want this to happen because they have settled down to living happily with “the truth” as they understand it. Any disturbance of this would be very inconvenient.
- They are angry. They fear that if they do meet with someone then their anger will come out and the latter situation will be worst than the former.
- They are proud. They realise that if they do talk the issue through they may well have to “eat some humble pie”. They are not willing to contemplate doing this, because they want to retain the view that they are in the right.
And in all this I am challenged as regards to my willingness to be involved in these things in order to seek to If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Rom. 12:18).
This reminds me that sometimes after talking, things have to be left without reconciliation because there has not been a “meeting of minds” through talking. There is also the danger of continued talking just going round-and- round the same issue. Sometimes things do have to be left.
But Lord may it be that I know your enabling so that as much as lies within me I will be living at peace with all men.