I’ve been in the middle of hundreds of conflicts.
Divorces, custody battles, business lawsuits, forced pastoral exits, church splits, nonprofit disintegrations … you name it, I’ve seen Christians fight over it.
After many long and difficult mediations, I learned that there was one factor that usually made the difference between seeing either genuine reconciliation or destroyed relationships.
Was anyone teachable?
Was even one person willing to admit that he might be wrong?
That he might not have all the answers. That his application of Scripture could be deficient. That someone’s criticism might be valid. That another person might have a better solution. That there were still ways for him to learn and grow.
If even one person in a conflict was teachable, we usually made progress. If people on both sides were teachable, we almost always saw genuine reconciliation.
So the next time you find yourself at odds with someone, pray that God would give you a humble and teachable spirit.
You’ll find faster solutions to most of your problems.
Better yet, you’ll receive God’s favor and grace (Prov. 4:10, Prov. 4:6), move closer to reconciliation (Matt. 7:3-5), grow in wisdom (Prov. 1:5; Prov. 15:32), and reduce the likelihood of similar conflicts in the future (James 3:17-18).
– Ken Sande
PS: If you’ve been praying for our 17 day marathon, thank you! By God’s grace, the 14 presentations we’ve done over the past 14 days have gone well. Corlette and I are now in Birmingham, Alabama, where we’re scheduled to do a radio interview, speak to a group of businessmen, and present another Discovering RW Seminar. Your prayers and emails have put wind under our wings!
- Who were the most unteachable people that Jesus faced? What did that attitude gain them? (Hint: see Luke 6:6-11; Matt. 23:23)
- Read the Scripture passages cited near the end of the post. What do they promise?
- Think of someone you know who is unteachable. What kind of relationships does he or she have?
- Think of someone who is very teachable. What kind of relationships does he or she have?
- Who has more respect, influence, and credibility–and a more compelling Christian witness, a teachable or unteachable person?
- How does the gospel help us to maintain a teachable spirit? (see Alfred Poirier’s excellent article, The Cross and Criticism)
- Is there a recent situation in which you have been unteachable? If so, what can you do differently in that situation in the days ahead?
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© 2015 Ken Sande
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