I recently re-connected with Marc (an old friend) over breakfast. We’ve known each other for over 25 years, and there was a lot of reminiscing of our journey together during that time. I shared with him that one of my favorite memories was an early one where we had gone “sideways” with each other. The tension between us had caused so much distress that a 3rd friend (Kevin) had to step in and help us mend what had been broken.
I will never forget our meeting that Saturday morning. It took two hours for Kevin to back us up slowly through the chain of events that separated our friendship. We would back up one conversation at a time to find the breakdown and identify exactly what went wrong. We did that through multiple conversations until there was an “aha” moment when we both looked at each other and exclaimed “Wow. I didn’t understand….THAT is what you meant?”
Essentially, we diagrammed every conversation and every misunderstanding until we found the original “split”. We found the exact moment when we started to take sides…the moment that led to all other misunderstandings.
Once that moment was identified, we understood each other and all was forgiven. We saw the other person’s viewpoint. We each took ownership of our own contribution to the tension. We repaired the relationship and never went sideways again.
Here is the invaluable lesson I learned that day: Being in conflict with someone does not make them my enemy.
The real enemy was Satan, who kept whispering words of division and discord in my (and Marc’s) mind. He was the one who kept pouring gas on the fire and making it worse. Once Marc and I were reminded how we are brothers in Christ…and we saw what was going on…we set aside our differences and re-established our friendship.
If you ever start to believe that another human being is your enemy, how can you repair the relationship?
- Determine the real enemy
- Diagram your conversations to find the original misunderstanding
- Mend what has been broken (make amends)
- Move forward with a clean slate
Thanks for listening.