Time for a Time Out?
When dealing with difficult people, it is also important to recognize your limits. Even when you continue to do what is right, some people may adamantly refuse to admit you are right or to live at peace with you. This is why Paul wrote, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18).
In other words, do all you can to be reconciled with others, but remember that you cannot force others to do what is right. If you have done everything in your power to resolve a conflict, you have fulfilled your responsibility to God and may stop actively trying to solve the problem. If circumstances change and you have new opportunities to seek peace with an opponent, you should certainly try to do so.
In the meantime, it is not necessary or wise to waste time, energy, and resources fretting about someone who stubbornly refuses to be reconciled.
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 252
Food for Thought
Are you in the middle of a conflict where the harder you’ve tried to make peace, the worse things have gotten? Don’t be discouraged; instead, think about taking a “time out”. Sometimes we think of a time out as giving up. But sports coaches know that time outs are as important to the game as what happens while the clock is running. It gives the players a chance to regroup, to catch their breath, and to listen to the coach’s strategy for success. In the same way, perhaps you are in a conflict that could benefit from a time out–giving you a chance to regroup and seek the Lord for direction. Pray to God for wisdom on how and when to act “as far as it depends on you”–and patience to wait on the window of opportunity He will supply.
I’m in the middle of 2 incidents where a time out is needed. (Update: the ‘split’ happened a few years ago, but the above just reminded of that time.)
1. was and still is the split our church encountered a few years back. We live in a town small enough where we run into the people who chose to leave the church. A few of them still hostile toward those of us who stayed. With some individuals I personally tried to make peace, with not so good results. Some I wish I still could talk to, but the pain for them is still too deep.
I have had many people tell me this~
“ In the meantime, it is not necessary or wise to waste time, energy, and resources fretting about someone who stubbornly refuses to be reconciled.”
and I try not to fret about it, I try to understand the others point of view, I also wonder how, as Christians, they can hold the anger, grief, bitterness in for so long. May God do a work in their hearts. ~In all our hearts.
2. a recent family situation has brought me to my knees where I really want reconciliation, but I’m not quite sure how to go about it with non-christians. Confessions, forgiveness and understanding should go hand in hand with Christians, but I have to let God be in control, and I have to be reminded that He is in control, of every situation in every way, He is in control of christians and non-believers. His will be done.
Any times you have had where a time out is needed?