Have you ever had that gut feeling that you have someone who is sideways with you and you have no idea why? You rack your brain and think…why on earth are they acting this way? You might even go to them and say, “Maybe I am wrong, but I sense that you are upset with me?” They say nothing is wrong but their actions say differently. Then what do you do?
I have been in the position more than once in my life of wondering, “What on earth?” Feeling at a complete loss as to what went wrong or what changed. Almost like a chain has been thrown around me, or “hands around my neck,” allowing my mind to circle….and racking my brain…wondering….
I want to help you, if you have ever been in this situation, by giving you some advice and counsel from evaluated experience:
1. Pray. Go to God and ask Him to show you or reveal to you if there is anything you have done to offend or hurt that person.
2. Wait patiently for God to show you. One of two things will happen, either He will prompt you to go to them, to reach out and ask, or He will give you peace and release you from the feelings.
*Warning* Satan is an accuser and if God gives you peace don’t let Satan tell you differently. Also, just because someone is treating you differently, Do NOT OWN their behavior–meaning don’t adopt their behavior by saying, “Well, if they are going to be that way, I can be that way too!” That, my friends, is from the pit of hell. It is Satan’s lie to try and get you to get into the same pit! Don’t do it…do not take the bait.
Scripture teaches us to “turn the other cheek” (see Matthew 5:39). When you turn the other cheek, you are going to respond differently to the person. It helps you not respond with the same behavior they have shown you.
3. If God prompts you to go to them, and they are honest enough to tell you what prompted the change, then apologize and seek forgiveness. Many times we can do things that hurt others and we have no idea what we did. Or the other person could misunderstand our words or actions or a third party can “twist” the truth and even take what we said out of context. Satan loves to “cause dissension among people!” especially among Christians, family, friends, you name it. Satan loves to divide, He knows that if he can separate, he can lie to each party and continue to own both parties. He knows the union of family and relationships is strong and if anything is divided it is easily conquered.
4. If the confronted party says nothing is wrong, then you have done your part. You have gone in love and shown that you value the relationship. The ball is in their court and at that time it really is OFF your plate. Do you hear me? You have done your part. At that point, if the relationship is not what it was, YOU have to trust God with your heart…and theirs. Never stop praying but maintain a pure heart. Don’t let Satan whisper lies that can harden your heart toward that person. It would be so easy to harden our hearts yet Luke 17:4 tells us, “and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
5. As long as we live on earth there will be times of turmoil in the best of relationships. Our job is to “guard our heart”…to continually go before the Father…to cleanse our heart and check our motives. Matthew 11:25-26, ” And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Many times I have realized that if someone was sideways with me, my actions were unintentional, meaning I unintentionally hurt someone and had no idea…none. When I found out, I was able to apologize.
Another scenario in my life has been when people assumed something from my action or inaction when they had no idea what was going on in my life. They didn’t know the circumstances behind my absence or lack of attention to them, etc. Often times in life people have things going on that you are not aware of. Satan loves to whisper and try to control our thoughts by having you assume things that are just NOT so. Don’t take that bait either.
A very wise counselor encouraged me to give more grace. It was called “giving people the benefit of the doubt.” That principle has been huge in my life. Many times, at almost 53, in giving grace I tell myself to think the best of that person, to pray for that person, and to release my own hurt or disillusionment in a relationship change to a Great God who can do more than all we could ask or imagine.
So today if you feel you are in the middle of a relationship change with a friend, a spouse, a co-worker, neighbor, etc., go to God. Acknowledge that HE is the great healer. He will direct you and guide you. He can heal the most broken of relationships. Offer to humble yourself before Him and then others…realizing the GREATEST strength in the world…is to be the one to forgive and seek forgiveness. It is a great strength to extend grace and give others the benefit of the doubt…and a demonstration of trust in a Holy God to change your heart and the heart of others.
One last piece of advice and encouragement: “Keep your eyes on Jesus” and not man. Satan’s biggest lie is to look for the approval of man. Many times, when your motives are pure before the Lord, you cannot do one thing about another human’s heart or motives…so if you do not get the response or the restoration you are desiring….when you have done your part…it is not up to you to try and “fix it”.
Don’t become a people pleaser. You will bounce on the emotions and sinfulness of others. Keep your own yard weeded through prayer, reading God’s word and acting on it regardless of the actions of others. Seek to please the one God. He will even make your enemies lie down and be at peace with you.
Matthew 5:43-46, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?…”