That's a lot. I'm not one that generally finds herself in a position where there are at least 3 people walking around out in the world who are specifically upset with me.
So I spent some time thinking about it. Because these are each people who are part of my life, who are, on some level, important to me. I'm the common denominator and if I've done something to cause harm, I have to address it.
In one situation, I was to blame. I let my emotions get ahead of me. I can make lots of excuses, I can explain a lot. But the bottom line is that I ended up in a situation where I said at least 2 things that weren't my best moments, where I let my emotions drive my words instead of letting knowledge and understanding lead the way. I have sent an apology to that person and hope that my attempts at amends are accepted.
In another situation, both sides are to blame. I know I can be the "bigger person" and make the first move. I've done it before, I can do it again. Or maybe it will just kind of resolve itself. I suppose the right thing to do would be to reach out and apologize for my part in it. And I guess my hang up is that I feel like I want an apology, too, and am pretty sure I'm not going to get it.
And in the third situation, I'm the hurt party. I can try to explain it in my head but it's really just me reaching for reasons to try and give some explanation. I don't feel like I need to apologize because I don't feel like I did something wrong. I guess what I'm really doing is analyzing the relationship, analyzing the situation, looking at the big picture and trying to figure out what happens next.
So I've got one where I've reached out to make amends, one where I know it will be ok but I have to decide what action I'm willing to take, and one where I think I have to just wait and see and be ok with whatever the consequences end up being.
Personal conflict. Personal conflict in everyday relationships.
I often turn to the Bible for some input.
The Message (MSG)
15-17 “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.
The Message (MSG)
26-27 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
English Standard Version (ESV)
32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
It's funny - I feel like each of those verses speaks to my 3 situations. In my first situation, Ephesians 4:32 spoke to what I chose to do. I am apologizing, I am seeking forgiveness. In my second situation, I went to bed angry. I didn't follow Ephesians 4:26. I'm letting the anger stay and that's ok but I'm letting it stay too long. I need to move on to verse 32 in that situation.
The verses from Matthew are, I think, some of the hardest to follow.
I am not good at going to another person and saying "My feelings are hurt." My pride gets in the way. My pride wants that person to realize that they've hurt me and that they come to me with an apology. I don't want the risk involved with making the first move.
And even as I come to that understanding of myself, my wants, and what the better path is... I'm not sure I am ready to take that step, to make that choice.