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Living at Peace with Difficult People (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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April 5, 2022 6:00 am

Living at Peace with Difficult People (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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April 5, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Brian Noble is the CEO of Peacemaker Ministries and has extensive experience in conflict coaching and mediation. His goal is for Christians to understand we live in a fallen world where conflict is common and reconciliation is only possible because of the Gospel – that Jesus died for our sins to bring us into reconciliation with God and others. (Part 1 of 2)

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How are you dying in this conflict, how you setting your preferences aside to allow God's newness of life to walk through you this Pastor Brian Noble describing the one thing the main thing that we need when we experience conflict with other people and today will be exploring why conflict happens and how we can better resolve it on Focus on the Family have some insights about how you can live out the gospel in your everyday interactions hostess focused president Dr. Jim Daly and I John John, this is one of those topics that it's a lot easier to talk about this through line in our lives, but I think just about everybody probably has at least one relationship that isn't quite where it should be. Or they've given up on it. That's another possibility noxious to difficult to talk to the person what have you, but conflict it can bring out the worst in us. Of course we know better descriptions and look how Jesus dealt with conflict right parity didn't even respond to his questions in our Jesus is new how to do it and and we want to kind of discuss this idea of conflict and how to do a better job.

As Christians, particularly in the area of conflict. Yeah. And Paul wrote you and you mentioned this a number of times on this broadcast yeah I do the things I don't want to do things I want to do. I don't do and and that's a scriptural reminder that this is an area of life. This area of conflict is one of those things that we often don't do.

I think there are some other times that we just give up. We say I'm not fighting whatever and we can become passive and you've talked about passive aggressive believers and how were not doing people right when we shelter that part of our heart.

We don't really bring things out that when it is so true, and in all these situations can be really toxic. Whether it's in marriage. I'm stepping on some toes there, right or family being that parent that that adult child's offending me. Whatever it might be. Certainly the work environment that's a little out of your control and so you're going to confront people that really do rub you the wrong way or do things and maybe rubbing them the wrong way. Who knows. That's why Focus on the Family is here to encourage you to pursue healthy conflict that something we do here at focus is one of our five core things have healthy conflict. It's okay.

It's a lot more important to get things up on the table and talk about them and that's why we've invited that Pastor Brian Noble back into the studio today is the Executive Director and CEO of peacemaker ministries posses a certified Christian conciliator with more than a thousand hours of conflict coaching so that by hope for us.I think that's you and I can communicate at Seattle. Brian is also the executive pastor of Valley Assembly of God church in Spokane Washington and has written a book that will be the basis of our conversation today called living reconciled seven ways to bring peace to your most difficult relationships.

Of course we have copies of that here check the episode notes for details. Brian welcome back to Focus on the Family.

Thank you for having me today what with John and I need to document that coaching class right now… Let's start with this habit. The definition of what reconciliation is had had you define that word.

So in this book living reconciled. I kinda flip the definition on its head. Because this is all internal work from second Corinthians 5 and I say that reconciliation is the cross while we were yet enemies Christ reconciled us so the concept is no one can still our reconciliation because it's based about on the work of the cross and then we hope for a reinstated relationship that's good. Okay, that's a great statement as a rule, I think it's fair to say humans don't like conflict there might be some people would actually do like conflict usually does are in a special place for special setting in a work environment.

You know there's meetings that we have to get into ended surface the issues quickly. You have to have to encourage conflict is actually there can be some good you know a good outcome when there is healthy conflict and get better ideas up on the table, etc. the coach. A coach actually really embraces conflict or tension and uses that for their benefit right so they they take that tension that they need in their players and they say hey let's create conflict or tension so that we get the best results out of this team and so on can get unhealthy it can get unhealthy at all, and unhealthy codes can really go the wrong direction as well.

You that idea that humans tend to lean toward conflict free environments. You know, again, is probably most of our dispositions, especially in social settings. Forget the coaching environment the teaching environment that I work environment. But just as a human thing, you don't really want to go home and have conflict typically but that you point to second Corinthians 5, as you just said and say this life is a lot harder than we realize. So explain what you're getting at with second Corinthians and how difficult this life is yes when you look at second Corinthians 5 Paul describes a tent and I thought to myself as I eat as a kid going camping right and we had set up the tent. My parents in the motorhome and they're all set up and hear the world and the environment is around me and it didn't seem as secure as the motorhome right it seems flimsy and so Paul describes this tent.

This this environment is temporal environment that we live in, and he talks about how we can walk and that and that this life and he talked about groaning and he says being afraid of. We found neck.

It in all these kind of exposure kind of things and so he lays that out and at the beginning of second contains five and this is what it is in our relationships right where how many of us are afraid to be exposed of our conflicts in our families, or were afraid of the temporal mess of our relationships, whether maybe they had a spouse in the past, walked out on them and so there there tent is flimsy or all of our tents are flimsy quite frankly right that built on a concrete right that's kind of an interesting and important point that this life is like a tent, not like a know a nuclear safe bunker exactly week we preferred the sturdier exterior and that's why if you have that expectation that this life is a bunker versus a tent you can have constant disappointment so tightly that out is that the concept that it is a world out there that's pressing in on us. It's relationships are tough. Yeah, conflict can reveal or expose things we don't really want out there in the open. That's one of the things I mean I think that's part of our sin nature, we tend to hide it's Adam and Eve in the garden writing. All of a sudden they realized they were naked and hid and we do that, emotionally, and we do that intellectually. If we don't feel were up to the task.

We kinda project something we may not possess right right that's all part of it tells about how you've seen that fear of exposure over and over again in your work at peacemakers see many churches delay getting outside help. And so what they do for year after year after year they they try to handle it themselves. They're afraid of bringing outside people intent to get that help our families that say you know he's had this pattern for 10 years, instead of stepping in early and addressing the issue and allowing God to take that so he can turn around for his glory.

They they hide and they try to work through it in and so that causes you know a deep-seated or rooted bitterness and a lot of times, especially in a spouse in a church where they just haven't dealt with it and and gotten outside helpline that is not yet assumed the I guess the summit of irreconcilable differences in the church would be a church split right here about those things you going why would we as Christians be doing that yet. Especially when it's in small communities and they can't get away from each other right so you know they split their still seeing each other on a regular basis. There's still interacting at the grocery store those kind of things and so that whole temporal part of our world that we live in is so damaging when we try to cover it yeah you compare reconciliation to childbirth. Know that's not sure I can get there yet. Help me better understand how that childbirth sprints is like our human irreconcilable and reconcilable differences live in the Bretagne I was pregnant with our first child, Isaiah, and that we lived out in a rural part of North Washington state and that we had a drive on our to get to the hospital so we are inconsistent. We started heading in there that like nope it's not ready right.

It's not time and so they sent us home, but we are too afraid to go home because of the drive. So we went to the mall and started walking around the mom and I just tell any young young man that's a bad idea was my idea for a better idea. I don't know.

I think I would like for you if that helps. Exactly.

And so then we went to she finally went to labor in and she had a C-section. She always wanted a natural birth. And so it was his emotion going backwards and forward and often times people think well this Is one conversation and everything can be great.

I'm scared tell you it doesn't typically work out that way. It's the emotional ride just like childbirth of the good, the bad and the beautiful gift at the end coming of a child, and it it's it can be difficult. Wow, I could use this. Last night I was talking to one of my sons who has little you know friendship conflict going on so I said or you can talk with him.

He said yeah were to talk tomorrow night on the call by phone. I wish I could do it in person but that'll be better than nothing and I think of all be squared away.

It would be good to coach him say well it may take more than one time and it would maybe be better to do it in person. What about that angle on that what you think about it, even sometimes a conversation goes well. But then you know someone re-offense or they may not reoffend right and it becomes difficult because we kinda go forward and backwards and expectations and so yeah I think coaching a man is having a proper exit dictation that were all fallen right you will have we all need God's grace is a good place to start. Let me ask you and John mentioned that this idea passive aggressive and I'd I do think this shows up in Christian community, more so II don't have any data on that but I just I think we feel we have to project a certain air about us to fit into the Christian characteristics and know that were kind that were long-suffering, etc. so the passive nature of that is we just project. Oh yeah, whatever. And then afterward when can you believe she said that are not that's that's what passive aggressive. As you become aggressive when the persons typically not around. In that context. How do we practically die to self, I mean because that's a tough how do we had a we move away from that human sinful passive aggressive orientation die to self and what is that look like it.

I think it's interesting. Our society is proclaiming the word authenticity and yet were not often times authentic worth the person that were in conflict with right and so to be the same person with maybe that you're having a struggle with our trial with as with someone else that you're not with so figuring out how to come to that place and and this is where like I talked about the gods given us his Holy Spirit to give us that that courageous boldness that's compassionate to express our concern in order to share our point of view with someone else directly to them. Hopefully prior to talking to 100 other people are putting on the prayer chain are you doing all those other things that we tend to do as Christians to to try to avoid our conflict. See you mention about out loving the person that you're in conflict with that. That right there is a good trigger say okay Lord I want to try to do that that can be difficult to me. Let's be real when we have conflict.

I don't know that I want to out love that person so I guess it's a two-part question, what is it to out love the other person and then how do you actually do it when you don't feel it. You know the Scripture shortcuts out while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He out love this right in that moment right. So even while we were in our sinfulness. He went to a cross and he and he died for so this is the concept of the gospel in our daily lives and this is why would talk my attitudes because so much of this work has to be done ahead of time where we create an attitude having the mind of the same mind of Christ, so that when we hit that speedbump were not taken back so far were prepared to see you know I'm in a let love control me. I would have patients control me in this moment I'm in a speak truth to that is so important and admitted to a compassionate and palatable way right so that we can share with others what God is doing in our hearts and our mind. So it's really dying to self is how we out love people as following the example of Christ on the cross.

Yeah let me ask you Brian. In that context it feels like this is the dumbing down of culture.

You know they're there used to be. I would say kind of a spiritual sophistication, especially in the US where there was this basis for Judeo-Christian values, how we treated one another.

We were taught in school. These things etc. there was an integration of to some degree of the Christian faith and the culture it it feels like now we have become so sophomoric in our cable news in our in our regular certainly social media.

My goodness, it's ridiculous. And it is a peacemaker. Gotta frustrate you to see people behaving seemingly far worse than we used to do we used to have a modicum of civility, but it seems to be dissipating it it it I may, I think it's measurable. It did deftly, as I think the culture is either seeping into the church or the church is rising up and influencing the culture I have heard arguments on both sides that a coin I look at it and I really think this idea that we are victims of our culture that play into our daily lives is something that we can overcome right where we can really begin to say what the Bible says about me is more true than what my society saying about me or my culture saying about me and and how to deal with that.

Yeah you compare God's love to offense know that sounds counterintuitive that the fence is something that keep something out that tell me why you see God's love is offense. I was raised on a farm and we had cattle and I think about cows being in the pan so they had great pastors that they can go you know go around in and eaten all that kinda great stuff. It protected them from the freeway that was just down the road and when the cows got out the first thing that we always thought was Ohno did they get to the freeway right did they.

Because then they're going to get hurt. And God has placed a fence around our life and it really comes from first 2013.

The patient's kind is no record of wrong you know these, not being jealous. This idea that says you can wander around all in this area, but if you stay within this year and experience the love of Christ and be able to give that love to others that constrain FS choices in the King James and hold dissent not so that we don't have something that will that we want to have, but so we can experience God's true peace prisons. If you take a record of wrong.this keep no record around me say what I want to live outside of that you'll be a better person who does enjoy life. There's a reason why he tells us that so we can trust him and walk in that area of that fence. He's given us that parameter. He's getting. That's a good way to look at it absolutely, the statement in your book that I really liked was living, reconciled to say don't be Peter. This is the pick on Peter Hammond and I love Peter violated Peter's awesome Peter. I feel I can identify with Peter so I'm not being hard on Peter.

It's me and we all know the disciple Peter was impulsive and in a kinda tended to say or do the wrong thing at the absolute wrong time. What else can we learn from Peter's example interaction after Peter made his mistakes and tonight Christ with Jesus. Jesus gives him some practical things to do here only to feed my sheep, and we usually think that like preteen or we think of it, you know, and in that those contacts but really it's that daily life of being that fresh cup water cup of water to someone else and allowing them to be refreshed by our interactions in our relationships and it's not limited to Sunday morning, or the church. It's our daily life that we can be that that cup of fresh water for someone else. Another really good concept that you had in the book courageous attitude where you recommend we no longer live for ourselves anything easy in this book.

Brian no longer live for ourselves.

You know how hard that is with the flesh, fighting us all the time.

I'm not saying it's impossible. But how do we not live for ourselves when we look at he's given in verses six and seven he get he's given us everything that we need to fulfill the seven courageous attitudes and not living far self is taking those thoughts captive like where you walk into the moment. Many of us know it's gonna trigger us are it was going to push a button and you like, in this moment Jesus help me because I'm not in a live for myself. I went to serve others in this moment and it is difficult icicle. My threshold prayer because I I know is I shared an passion is it with my daughter's disabilities and and just my childhood. I have a lot of bad attitudes growing up and I've been first married as well and sidewalk up our handicap ramp and I would say prayer Lord, help me to not lift myself as I walked to the store to serve my family and I called my threshold is a walk that your Lord, help me to take the same energy that I gave all day at work to my kids is really good and so that's when he might not living for ourselves, but it's pre-work right because if I wait I go and I'm tired of sitting on the couch and then I'm complainant. And then I try to come to my senses in that moment.

It's can be difficult but that threshold prayer that pre-work of his eye, going to my home think I've given my my heart, my life to everyone. Today I want to give it to my kids today. What's good about that is that other Scriptures. As you know, don't be conformed to this world right that's kinda what you're saying and it's so easy if you're lazy about those responses, it's easy to be conformed to the world, not to the spirit as I read this I saw myself as a coach yelling on a player you will no longer live for yourself like that you like. I like from the sidelines and you got this so that the player eventually says I will no longer live for myself and that's how that's how I came across in this book is you're not yelling angrily yelling and yelling as he heard you can do it gradually got it.

Now let me again your vulnerability in the book is great and we appreciate that you were pastoring a church where you had a woman who wasn't happy with how you're managing the church finances and it sounded like she kept coming at you about it. Describe that situation.

How you dealt with this of this is the church I split my early 30s. It was that he said the church I split yeah sometimes what would you say you had a church, but what does that mean well that the church when this might happen, church went that way and here's an example yet. Here's an example so I had I had had the opportunity to help a church that was once large and had become small and had a Christian school, about 400 kids and so there's price 5060 people in the in the church left there. We really grew it like it is our growing and prospering, but there became this tension between the school and the church that so often happens in our communities and so we ended up in essence selling the school to another nonprofit. This lady was not happy with that and so she came out at me with attorneys.

She wanted funds to one of this order that no attorney would pick up her case because there was no it was baseless is baseless right and so I had to figure out how to look at her in a different way.

You know, like how not to just see her fallenness every day because it is.

She was annoying. I don't also say have been just simply annoying and I remember running into her at a store and had to say that prayer again Lord I don't like this lady. I don't want to be around this lady and she worked there and I needed her assistance right so I just went up I said, Lord, help me, just not this year, fallenness, and so and I explained what I needed and she help me and I just kept the cordials best as I could and I and I left an end to subordinates release her.

She's your child, not mine. She's my sister. I guess I have so that was the pitch that we had a guy like the description of that now were talking what happened, though, I mean the Lord was able to move you into a better place to Jesus. So I think I actually don't know the end of her story. I know for me it really released me from the pressure of a trying to please her right and beeping okay. That got to be the final judge of that situation. Yet what I guess one of the things in reconciling sometimes when you can't reconcile what what do you do with that.

How do you get to a better place and you describe that in that story, but you some things could be even more contentious than that and and I guess the how you look at the log in your own for the spec in your conflict persons, which I think with this what Jesus was getting at. Yeah if you think about this simple way who's going to pay the bill and whoever pays the bill gets reconciliation so if Jesus is the one who pays the bill, like a snake in our broken relationship. I'll you $1000, you will be hundred dollars less in that relationship you say I want Jesus to pay the $1100 difference between us.

Your reconciled because Christ paid the bill.

I may still be carrying around $1100 debt and not be reconciled with you. So whoever pays the bill is where who will experience a reconciliation so that what that means is you have record solution through Christ because he paid the bill for you and you have shalom or piece and when I come to my senses and say okay now I Christ to pay the bill for me now or now have a reinstated relationship were friends again yeah I like the in the book you talk about this area of living reconciled and what we do with conflict and the fact that it's this the spiritual realm issue. It typically isn't a fit you might have physical symptoms where you get angry and you can feel that stiffening of your spine and your and all that but describe the spiritual realm of conflict and reconciliation.

When you think about it. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and so there's this whole area of our mind and our internal fallenness that can take place and so I talked about proclaiming God's truth over our our life and our situations so that we begin to think in a godly manner.

We begin to think through this conflict to the lens of Jesus Christ. And when you think about that that this can become your ministry, your intense broken relationships can become a ministry of reconciliation where you represent the gospel both to that person that you are in conflict with, but oftentimes it's this subsequent people like your children who are saved, how can my dad or my mom respond and caught the unit with peace even though that this person is mistreating them. We forget that testimony that can come out that ministry reconciliation and that happens not by being buddy buddy with every person that happens by getting the gospel to be the center of our lives so that when we walk through like people see the piece because we know who our God is and were not ashamed of that gospel to die to ourselves and walk in the newness of life. Yeah Brian.

Let's end here in your counseling as a peacemaker and out if you can will come back tomorrow and continue this discussion because is a lot more to go through but in your counseling as a peacemaker. Routinely hear from people who feel like they cannot control how they think or feel about their adversary Johnny put hand appeared okay I will. But you you say we need a from now on the approach to conflict which comes at a second Corinthians. So you start that phrase with from now on. Fill in the blank sure that verse and explain how you should use that phrase yes. So in verse 16 it says from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh, this that's a powerful writer. Paul wrote it right, you can stop and think about that for the next half hour. Yeah, exactly. So you think about how you from now on I cannot say that that this type of person from now on.

I miss it an antidepressant. I'm not in a look at their fallenness any longer and he doesn't even you doesn't even put parameter on the basis from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh challenge is it yet.

It's easier when it's within the family of believers now gets more difficult when you're talking about people in the abortion industry people that oppose our definition of sexuality while I know it and that it just stretches me to a new dynamic and to really be up begin to understand that God is in the process of drawing them to the cross or refining them after the cross and to look at them in a different way that they have been created in the likeness of God and the only thing I've added that is, no one is beyond the reach of God. Try not even me and put that back on us and that's one of things when you go and talk with people of all stripes, you know, we all are broken people and to be able to find that waiter help the Holy Spirit right correct the heart open and allow the Holy Spirit to do his job. That's really the goal that I always see.

So Brian, this is been so good. Let's like I said let's come back tomorrow and pick this up and talk more about reconciliation and peacemaking. I mean Blessed are the peacemakers right that's right there in Scripture. Thank you for the incredible book.

I hope people will pick this up. Living reconciled.

If this is touching a nerve for you and I can think of about 95% of the Christian community should probably pick this up, you can get a copy here at Focus on the Family and will make it easy if you can support the ministry with the gift of any amount will send you a copy of the book as our way of saying thank you for entering into the ministry with us and we think it's a great way to help one another, you get a great resource and we compiled the financial support right back into doing ministry call and donate today. As you can and get your copy of this book living reconciled by Brian Noble are numbers 800 the letter a in the word family 800-232-6459 or click the link in the episode notes and if you're dealing with a conflict that seems insurmountable isn't going to help. Or so you think, and then give us a call and asked to speak to one of our caring Christian counselors we can set up a free consultation for you over the phone, they can unpack things with you. Pray with you and direct you to further resources. Maybe even a counselor in your own area. Our number again is 800 the letter a in the word family or click the link in the episode and plan to join us next time will continue the conversation with Brian Noble on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team on John Fuller.

See next time as we once again help you and your family thrive. I was shocked when she gave me the divorce papers. I was so time I had reached my breaking point.

I was desperate for a shred of hope. So I called the hope restored team at Focus on the Family they they listen to me and they asked about what was happening in my marriage. They encouraged me and my wife to attend one of their marriage intensive's for couples in crisis and they prayed with us. They help me believe that my marriage could be saved agreed to go but was skeptical that anything can help us put the whole environment was so safe and nonjudgmental from a high-tech and open up as we work with the counselors.

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