Time For a Time Out?


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?

Blessings, Kristina

3 responses »

  1. Kristina,

    I believe there are certainly times where a time out is appropriate. The emphasis would be that you have to get back into the game afterwards. If one person decides to pass and stays off the court/field there isn’t a good way to reengage them as you have indicated. I think problems start when the “Time Out” gets used as the excuse for inaction and conflict avoidance (Something I’m pretty good at).
    ~~i have been good at that also. No one really wants conflict. of any kind.

    Our sermon yesterday was about the split of Paul and Silas. This parting of ways was not pleasant at the time, but furthered the gospel. We live in one of the most unchurched areas of the country. It is sad that the split happened. In one of God’s strange twists of providence many who left are now filling important rolls at new bodies. Jason was able to be more involved at BP than he was at ERC and is a current seminarian and future pastor (not ideal for me as his boss, but hey). Several more families are now working with a new body in Puyallup. I think that it also allowed/forced more people at ERC to take a more active roll in the life of the church.
    ~~I agree, it was all of God, and Im so happy for all those who took this as a positive after the dust had settled and were able to spread their wings both at our church and elsewhere. I’m sad for those stuck in the ugliness of it all and unable to reconcile their own feelings about it.

    Sadly there are some who I think did suffer from the split and don’t have a real church home or are less involved that previously.

    I may be overly simplistic or naïve, but I don’t feel tension or regret about leaving. There are times when the longing is still there to feel that fellowship with the beautiful body in Lakewood. God has called us elsewhere. You are where you feel he has called you. Our intention was to leave on a congenial note. I think that for those who left the short term adjustment was probably harder, but the adjustment was reasonably quick and the long term pain isn’t great. Those who stayed maybe didn’t have the huge challenge of trying to find another body to worship with, but you also get reminded weekly in worship of people who aren’t there, which may be harder – especially for the ladies who are more relational.
    ~~Well, you hit the nail on the head. most of the stuff I still encounter and think about is the relational stuff. As a whole Im ok with what God has done, personally I mourn the loss of friendships and mentors I thought carried over into all walks of my life, not just on sunday. I often tell hubby ‘these people just need to get over it’ yet I still think about it. Am I over it. Yeah, I guess. Do i sometimes still grieve, yes. I felt like I was still a baby christian when it all happened and my world was crashing down on me, this world I thought was safe, full of saints. i looked up to people and thought them..well idolized them, then God showed me all our faults and we are still just sinners.
    All that to say if I need to get back on the court an finish a discussion with you about something I have done to wrong you or conflict you think that we left unresolved, please let me know.
    ~~you and your sweet wife have done nothing wrong and I cherish your continued friendship and e-mails and comments. If its anyones fault, its mine, I lack in finding time to be there for you two.

    God Bless,

  2. Well Kristina it is all of our faults as sinners involved with the situation, but thank you for your kind words. I don’t think that you have any blame more than anyone else.

    You may be a young Christian in years, but I don’t consider you young in Christian maturity. You inhale the Word like few I know. Your life before Christ gives you an even greater appreciation for what Christ saved us from. I am grateful for the Christian Heritage I have been given, yet often long for myself and my kids to have to re-evaluate everything from the start and question everything, I have so many theological assumptions that I haven’t even had to question yet.

    My spiritual age may be greater than yours, but I think you have me in overall maturity.

    In Christ,

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