Relationships are important, differences and disagreements are inevitable, and it is important that we all learn how to deal appropriately with other people, at home, at work, and at play.
1. Do not insist on your own way. 1 Corinthians 13: 5- Love is not selfish or self-seeking. Love does not insist on his own way. Understand that when there is a difference of opinion, you may be the one who is wrong. Be willing to listen to and to understand the other person’s position.
Even if you do not eventually agree with the other person, there is usually some valuable lesson to be learned.
2. Watch out for anger. There are 2 sides to this: the anger that you show and the anger that you receive.
i. The anger that you show. James 1: 20: The anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. At the times when you are being driven or controlled by anger, you would never be found showing forth the righteousness of God. Whatever you say or do out of anger would never be the right thing expected of you by God, it will always fall short of God’s expectations of a righteous man. Wise people know the value of not taking action while they are angry. Whatever you say out of anger, you would definitely regret it shortly thereafter. We need to learn to control our anger, and to ensure that we do not sin because we became angry (Ephesians 4: 26). A soft answer turns away wrath but harsh words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1). There are days when we are so angry that we may not be able to come up with any mild or soft answers. Instead of sharing the caustic answer on our lips, it would help very much if we would keep our mouths firmly shut at such times. Each of us must learn to disagree without being disagreeable.
ii. The anger that you receive. It is important that you do not intentionally set yourself up to become the target of great anger. Remember the story in Matthew 5 about the man who was about to give an offering to God, and there remembers that his neighbor has something against him? He held no grudge against this neighbor. Rather, his neighbor had something against him. The Bible advises in verse 25 that he should agree with his adversary (enemy) QUICKLY (while the damage is still relatively easy to mend) because if he doesn’t do so, the issue may fester, grow, escalate and get out of hand, up to the point where he may be sent to jail for an issue that should ordinarily not have warranted such grave consequences. A stitch IN TIME saves nine. When you have a tear in your shirt, one stitch applied ON TIME is able to save the tear from becoming larger and needing 9 stitches. Perhaps, this is the reason the Bible advises us not to let the sun go down on our anger (Ephesians 4: 26). The expiry date on each episode of anger is expected to be less than the time duration between sun-up and sundown. To enjoy success in our relationships, we need to be eager to settle disagreements quickly.
3. In relationships, love makes all the difference. The Bible encourages us to love one another DEEPLY because love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4: 8). We are able to take a lot of rubbish from the people we love, without feeling too bad, complaining or feeling like we are making a huge sacrifice. We need to cultivate love in our relationships because the more we love the persons we deal with, the easier it is for us to be tolerant of their mistakes and to be generous in forgiving them. In addition, we need to understand the concept of agreeing with our partners because the relationship is more important than the disagreement.
4. Ask God for help. A lot of us have had relationships where we are at a loss as to how to make things better. Remember that help is always available from God. There are times when you are wrong, and you don’t know it, and you are fast becoming a nuisance to the people around you. If you allow God, He would lead you to gain the right perspective on each and every issue. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes but the Lord weighs the heart (Proverbs 21: 2). Without God’s help, I could mark my own script and score 100%. God’s help is valuable for determining the true situation of things. Knowing this, David said in Psalm 139: 24, “Search me, O Lord, see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Hear Philippians 3:15, “Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you.”