Misunderstandings. We all have them at one time or another. We just can’t make it through life without facing hurt feelings, harsh words, and misunderstandings within a relationship. Sometimes we receive it; sometimes we dish it out. When these kinds of things happen, our relationship feels fragile. We may stand there stunned, wondering how in the world we could be in the middle of such a misunderstanding. Or we may feel convicted, knowing it was our fault when our own bad attitudes and words created the situation in which we find ourselves.
And at this point, we have a choice.
We can avoid the situation, hide our hurts, cover up the misunderstanding, and even deny our need to seek forgiveness. Or we can be seekers – seekers of His grace both for ourselves and for pouring out to the other person. We all know the right choice, but it’s the hardest one, isn’t it? How can we move forward and turn those hurts and misunderstandings into a deeper relationship?
We can find some answers in Colossians 3:12. Friends, I have read this verse many times. I have prayed it for the past few weeks since we talked about praying verses over our relationships in this post. I know others of you have prayed these verses right along with me. But what I didn’t realize is what we were really praying when we claimed and prayed this particular verse for our relationships!
And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12 NASB)Click To Tweet
And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12 NASB)
There are five characteristics mentioned in this verse (Colossians 3:12)
We know that we should be trying to exhibit these characteristics in our lives and relationships. But let’s take a closer look because if we dig a little deeper, we’ll find something that gives us a deeper insight. To do this, we need to look back at the Greek word meanings. This is the language that Paul was using when he wrote Colossians from his prison cell. (All of these definitions are taken from Helps Word-studies, and I have linked directly to the page where I found them over at Bible Hub. I encourage you to click through and study them further!)
Compassion – This word, in the original Greek, is oiktirmós. It means having a deep feeling about someone else’s difficulty or misfortune. It also is used to refer to the deep feeling that God has for all of us. This is something He powerfully shows and shares in those following Him. (See Helps Word-studies on this page at Bible Hub.)
Kindness – This word in Greek is xrēstótēs, and it refers to meeting real needs in God’s way, in His timing. It’s listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit, and it’s this Spirit produced kindness that meets the need and avoids human harshness. (See Helps Word-studies on this page at Bible Hub.)
Humility – This word in the original Greek is a long one! The word is tapeinophrosýnē, and for the believer, it means living in complete dependence on the Lord with no reliance on self. (See Helps Word-studies on this page at Bible Hub.)
Gentleness – The Greek word for gentleness is praýtēs. This word has an insight that I absolutely love. For the beginner, meekness (“gentle strength”) begins with the Lord’s inspiration and finishes by His direction and empowerment. It is a divinely balanced virtue that only operates through faith. (See Helps Word-studies on this page at Bible Hub.)
Patience – The Greek word for patience is makrothymía, and it means waiting the proper sufficient time before expressing anger. This avoids premature reactions that arise out of improper anger. Only the Lord produces this kind of true patience and long-suffering in us, and thus this characteristic is a fruit of the Spirit. (See Helps Word-studies on this page at Bible Hub.)
I don’t know about you, but wow! When we pray this verse over our relationships, here is what
we are praying for ourselves and others as these five words pour out the following:
• When we pray for compassion, in a relationship, we are really asking for God to give us a deep feeling for the other person. Instead of looking at our own feelings and hurts, we consider that our friend is hurting, too.
• When we pray for kindness, we’ve actually been praying that the Lord will help us meet relationship needs in His way and that He’ll help us do this in His timing, too.
• When we pray for humility in our relationships, we are asking for complete dependence on the Lord, not ourselves. Humility is so often misunderstood. This definition gives us a clear perspective of the proper focus. If we are focusing on Jesus and what He would do, then the actions that follow will be in align with God’s will.
• When we pray for gentleness, we are asking for strength. It takes strength to be gentle. This kind of strength comes through the Lord’s inspiration. If we are seeking Him, He will give us direction and empower us to finish well.
• When we pray for patience, we are asking God to help us wait before responding, especially if we are angry. Only the Lord can help us with this kind of waiting in certain circumstances. It’s a virtue that comes from the Holy Spirit. And it’s available to us because we know Him.
This scripture essentially gives us 5 action steps for when we face a fragile time in a relationship. It a powerhouse of practical steps straight from God’s Word. Think of all that has been wrapped up inside the words of this simple verse!
•Have compassion. Remember that your friend is hurting, too.
•Show kindness. Meet relationship needs in God’s way and in His timing.
•Pray for humility. Completely depend on the Lord, not yourself.
•Exhibit gentle-strength. Pray for direction and allow God to empower you.
•Be patient. Wait before you respond and avoid impulse reactions that harm a relationship.
I’ll be the first to admit that these things are very difficult for me in relationships. I’m an avoider, and I don’t like conflict. As I pray these things for myself, I wonder if you’d join me in praying? Relationships are so critically important, and we have an enemy who wants to defeat us. He knows God works through relationships. Let’s protect them through daily prayer.God works through relationships. Let’s protect them through daily prayer.Click To Tweet
* I made another infographic for you this week that you see above. You’ll find a printable version of it inside the Resource Library on the main page under “Infographics.” Just scroll to the bottom after you click through. You can receive the password to the library by subscribing to our newsletter below this post, on this page, or in the sidebar to the right.
This week’s verse is Colossians 3:12. Just click on the reference to be directed to Bible Hub where you will find more resources for further study. Be sure to click through on the links to the Helps Word-studies that you will find the definitions above!
How do you handle misunderstandings in your relationships? Do you have any action steps that have helped you?
Dear Heavenly Father, we come before you asking that you would help us when we walk through misunderstandings or hurts in our relationships. Help us to look to You for the guidance and strength to move forward in Your way with Your timing. In Jesus name, Amen.
Next week we’ll talk about how to support your friend through adversity. I hope you’ll join us!
This post may be linked in other encouraging places! To find out where click HERE!!
The post 5 Action Steps to Carry You Through a Misunderstanding first appeared at www.journeytoimperfect.com.
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