Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. (Colosians 3:21 NASB)
A number of years ago, right about the time of my daughter Amy’s 21st birthday, I had one of the most significant conversations I think I have ever had. Although we genuinely loved each other, for a long time there had been a lot of hurt and anger between Amy and I. It didn’t take much to touch off a fire-storm. That one conversation reversed everything.
Only days before, at a family conference, the speaker had read Col 3:21 and then began describing something a lot like my relationship with Amy. It was painful to listen to. Fortunately, the speaker went on to describe how to have a reconciling conversation. The next day I called Amy at her college (about two hours away), and told her I would like to drive up and take her out to dinner for her birthday. A few days latter, after ordering dinner, I began to open things up.
“Amy, I know that over the last few years things have been pretty tense between us. I have no doubt that you love me, and I know that I deeply love you, but recently I have started to realize that a big part of the problem between us has been caused by things I have said and done that have hurt you.”
Amy immediately began to cry.
I continued, “I know that if I asked you to, you would probably do your best to forgive me, but I think that would only begin to touch the surface of things. It would be better if you would share with me some of the things that I have done that have hurt you the most so that I can try to understand them better from your perspective.”
This began a very emotional and painful hour or so of Amy sharing and me doing my best to listen and understand, followed by frequent apologies, requests for forgiveness, and affirmations of my love for her.
From that day on we promised each other to keep a short account of any offense between us. No more letting things get stored up in our hearts. Thankfully, our relationship made a great turn-around that day.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? ARE THERE ANY RELATIONSHIPS IN YOUR LIFE THAT NEED A RECONCILING CONVERSATION?
WHAT WOULD BE SOME GOOD FIRST STEPS TO TURNING THAT RELATIONSHIP AROUND?