Sometimes, it’s clear to you that you need to change. Maybe you realize that your anger is destroying your relationships or your lack of responsibility. Maybe it’s your lack of keeping commitments or any number of relationship hindrances. You feel convicted of your need to change your behavior. Conflict comes when you know you need to do things different but you are not sure how to go about it.
I’ve been in that situation and still am. My relationship shortcomings in one of my relationships is resentment. I know it’s wrong. It’s not good for me or for those I am in relationship with. However, I’m not totally sure how to get out of this trap.
Here are seven insights that have helped me.
- Confess it. Confess simply means to come out of denial and admit that you have the problem. This is the first step toward change. Confession simply means that you agree that your behavior is not a good thing. In court, once someone confesses, it means they
agree they did it and it broke the law. It is the same with relationship offenses, once we see and confess it, we agree with God that this breaks the command to love one another.
- Receive forgiveness. Jesus generously paid the price for your shortcomings. The actual word sin means to fall short. It’s when we violate God’s law of love. It’s like if you broke the law and someone paid for your ticket. Jesus paid the penalty so you don’t have to pay. You are forgiven for anything and everything you have ever done wrong. Watch out for the trap of self-condemnation. Sometimes when you feel bad about what you did, it’s tempting to be hard on yourself. You don’t need to. Receive God’s forgiveness and grace because it will give you strength to make different choices. Grace breaks the power of sin. Condemnation keeps you stuck. Grace gives you strength to change.
- Know that God accepts and loves you right where you are at. He is delighted that you are
at a place of agreement with Him so He can get you out of the oppressive trap
that falling short of the original plan for glory, the glory of who God meant for you to be. puts you in. Sin binds, destroys and brings grief. God wants to free you to be the fabulous person He originally had in mind when He created you!
- Accept responsibility. It is your responsibility to change. No one else can do it for
you. You have to be willing to change your belief about the situation and take action to change. You want to change don’t you? You want to be that amazing person God created you to be, right? You don’t have to stoop low and settle for less than all you can be.
- Easier said than done sometimes, right? Be encouraged. You don’t have to do it alone. God will help you. He is not going to show you an area you to change without giving you the strength to overcome it. He will show you the way out. He is our
Wonderful Counselor who is available 24 hours a day. Also, friends, church leaders, counselors or others who seek God and the ways of wisdom can give you good counsel. Paul, the author of many books in the Bible reassures us, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” I Corinthians 10:13 (NIV 1984)
- Ask for wisdom. When you are willing to ask for wisdom, to listen to it and act on it, God will teach you better ways to think and behave and you can overcome! “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” Psalm 25:8,9 (NIV 1984)
- Be open to new ways. We change by thinking different. God has better ways for us to think and behave that will bring us peace and prosperity, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9 (NIV 1984)
Be patient with yourself. You didn’t get into this situation overnight, it can take time and repeated decisions to change. But with patience and perseverance you can overcome!
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1 (NIV 1984)