Overflow #1: When Working It Out Doesn’t Work Out

Mondays are OVERFLOW days on my blog. Each week there are many things I don’t have time to fit into the Sunday message, so this is the platform to bring some of those ideas to life.

Just to give you an example: for a 40-minute message, I normally teach from 4 1/2 pages of notes. This week, I cut out 3 1/2 pages of content that I wouldn’t have time to preach!

Stay tuned here on Mondays as we go deeper. Make sure to sign up with your email to get these blogs in your inbox each week!


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Today’s blog post comes from week 1 of a new series at Awaken called It’s Complicated: Clarity in the Complexity of Relationships. You can keep up with the  messages, download social artwork, and submit questions for LIVE Q&A on Facebook at awaken.church/itscomlicated. During this series, we are learning about many different seasons of life – from spiritual relationships to dating to parenting and everything in between. Some of these relationship seasons are temporary, some are lifelong, but all need the clarity that is found only through God’s Word.

20161030-title_nvWeek 1 was about spiritual relationships. The Church. Christians. We are the Holy Spirit Unity Maintenance Crew (“HSU Maintenance Crew” for short). Jesus built the Church, the Holy Spirit unites the people, so our supportive role to is maintain and fight for the unity they created.

On Sunday, we discussed how the Bible directs us with how we relate to each other and how to work out our inevitable issues. Today I want to talk about the uncomfortable other side. What happens when “work it out” doesn’t work out?

Romans 12:18 – If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

“If possible” implies that working it out isn’t always possible.

“So far as it depends on you” reminds us that all relationships are two-way streets. Reconciliation is only possible if both sides are willing.

When working it out doesn’t seem to work out, here are 2 questions to ask and 2 things to keep doing…

Question #1: Did I give it my all?

Romans 12 says to live peaceably with all so far as it depends on you. That means our conscience can only be clear if we’ve exhausted all resources for reconciliation and fought for the relationship to the end.

If you can’t answer this question affirmatively, you still have some work to do, and God still has some work to do in and through you!

Question #2: Was it a battle worth fighting? 

You’d be amazed how many people choose very petty things to fight over. Personality differences, leadership styles that don’t compromise Scripture, social justice causes, and many more…

Do you have to keep fighting or allow this issue to come in between you and them, or is it possible to drop it? I know that might mean swallowing some pride and letting it go, but it turns out your ego is not your amigo. If you can, drop it.

Action #1: Keep praying.

Even if you gave reconciliation everything you had, sometimes the other person still walks out on you. They may still give up earlier than they should. They may be able to block you on Facebook or avoid seeing you by going to a different church, but they can’t block your prayers!

Keep praying for God to reconcile. I can say with certainty that’s a prayer He wants to answer!

Action #2: Keep building bridges.

They can cut you off, but you don’t have to cut them off. You can disagree with them without being disagreeable. Despite the wounds, I would encourage you to keep building bridges. You may be surprised at how God can heal, mend, and restore relationships you thought had no hope. With God, the most hopeless situations always have hope!

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