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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Blessed to be a Blessing

Another cliché to tear apart… or put back together.
A great truth it is… give with the right hand, wholeheartedly without reservation, leaving the left hand in the dark. But oh, so rare it is that we give with that kind of altruistic heart. Let’s be honest.
Christians are called to this charity, but Christians are not impelled unless their hearts are transformed, and many an untransformed Christian calls Christ, Saviour. For them, he just isn’t Lord, let alone King. The transformed Christian peers into their own heart and they see just how many times and in how many ways they deny Christ.
There’s a Christian who exists to be blessed in being a blessing.
They do their works of righteousness for the glory they may get, and their hearts are patently unaware of their crime against Deity. In their conditional brand of love, they spurn precious opportunities to instil life in those they touch. This Christian exists to be blessed by the reciprocation of other human beings in being a blessing to them. If this is the extent of blessedness, there’s no love in it.
There’s a Christian who exists to be blessed in being a blessing.
They do their works of righteousness for the Audience of One. Their heart is set on the God of their momentary account. They live wakefully under the constant eye of their Lord. Their love is a sparkling diamond, shimmering from every angle of view, and their personal inspiration is what God does within them as they keep their kindnesses secret. They see life replete with pleasures of giving; opportunities to instil life in those they touch. This Christian exists to be blessed by God in being a blessing.
We are blessed to be a blessing, but the moment we seek an external blessing for the love we give we miss the point. The blessedness coming our way evaporates as if it never existed.
But the practice of blessing sees right hand doing secret kindnesses to the ignorance of left hand. This is the great principle of Matthew 6:2-4.[1] An inward blessing is had. But it’s not done for that reason. It’s done because Jesus alone is worthy; every little thing we do in secret we do for Jesus.
Here is the way to engage with Christ
to the point of transformation —
it most certainly will happen.
Consistently give your life away!
If we exist to be blessed in being a blessing and are sullen for the lack of recognition and reward, we’re far from the transformed life. Our motives are rotten to the core.
If we exist to be blessed to be a blessing and keep blessing people in secret at every opportunity, we’re evidencing Christ’s transforming of us, especially even to the smallest act.

[1] Jesus said, “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Friday, March 29, 2019

What are the signs of true heart transformation?

Heart transformation is sadly really quite rare, and this has levels of relevance and impact, from the ordinary, garden variety Christian to sociopathic abusers within marriages and families.
If we’re truthful, we bear witness within ourselves to a lack of transformation. I lived as a fake Christian for 12 years 9 months. When the bottom fell out of my life in 2003, I was brought to the valley of decision. But, for years I lived as an unregenerate Christian — someone God’s Spirit did not change, because my heart didn’t catch light. I had not yet been set alight. I understood to a degree that Jesus was my Saviour, but I did not have a transformed heart, though I did strongly desire it. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know.
These, for me, are the signs of transformation:
You no longer defend yourself, but you’re consistently quick to defend others — consistently against yourself — yes, you read that right;
Your insight has been awakened, and you can see your sin, it troubles and even sickens you and compels you to be honest, and you have an unrelenting desire to see it more and more — you hunger for more revelation — and this hunger is self-sustaining; completely without, but also completely open to, external prompting;
You advocate for victims, seeing through the characterisation of genuine humility, your own failings;
You champion the rights of the oppressed, and these are consistently others — not yourself;
You own the times you’ve abused people and situations and can see how quickly you may resort to manipulation — and can admit your heart is crooked (the paradox: acknowledgement of a crooked heart is the sign of a transformed heart);
You admit the capacity to abuse people resides in you, and that inspires fear in you; you never want to go ‘there’ again — and you’re prepared to leave no stone unturned, in order that it really never happens again;
You consistently see that change is the only way — nothing else is good enough;
You have identified where you’ve gone wrong so you can see how you’ll fall into such error in the future;
You’ve thought through the depth of your sin and you remain in that place where excuses are no longer tolerated;
You tell on yourself, subscribing like Sy Rogers to the idea that, “You tell on the sin or the sin will tell on you”;
You’re prepared to ensure the weak who have been abused in your midst are empowered and have ongoing structures of support — including others like pastors and counsellors and trusted friends — that will help hold you accountable.
Very importantly, many people who know you best attest to the heart changes and call them a miracle of God’s grace, i.e. you’re the last person who sings your praises, but others sing of God’s glory regarding the changes that only God could have wrought.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The person you can truly trust

Who is it we can really trust in these twisted days? So many people will say, “Why are being so negative… why do you see these days as twisted?” Well, many are trying to sell something, that’s why.
Many are won to one ideology or politic or faith or cause. They’re often so won to these things, they wish to sell such a message, often to the detriment of the relationship that might otherwise be nurtured.
Many are won to a conquest for some kind of domination, whether it be little or large.
Many are won to procuring an environment of their taste, and it may just be you who is spoiling it. In other words, you may sense that ‘being you’ isn’t right or good enough around such people.
We must truly ask,
more often, of other people’s motives,
“What’s in it for them?”
For Christians, so many, perhaps all of us, are skewed to one thread of this wide-sweeping faith, to the exception of other equally important threads. The truth is, as a humanity, we try to ‘box’ God and we always fail, because God’s ways and thoughts are higher than our ways. Some peddle a purely social justice gospel and decry the moral poverty in capitalism. Others focus on ethical issues and decry the moral poverty in socialism. And never the twain shall meet.
We must wonder why people put their opinions above their relationships. Why is it that people are prepared to burn a relationship because of an ideal that has become an idol? If a person’s opinion is so important to them that they’re prepared to stop short of loving another person built in the image of God, you must wonder who they’re following… and why. If it’s all down to manipulation, the relationship is worthless.
If you must agree to keep the peace,
it is not a relationship you have, but abuse.
If it’s the case that a dear friend or partner or boss cannot accept something that is inherently you, and you must change or else, you must wonder what the relationship is worth. Is it worth the preciousness of your trust? Is it worth your ongoing compromise? Is it worth your soul when it feels like it’s being eaten away by the day?
The person you can really trust has nothing to sell and is not trying to influence you for their gain. The person you can really trust has given up their conquest to master you. The person you can really trust is someone you don’t have to be someone else around.
The person you can trust
loves you for who you are.
God loves you will this love.

Photo by Purnomo Capunk on Unsplash

Monday, March 25, 2019

Patience of Presence in the Moment of Conflict

Everyone has experienced conflict where damage was done. We’ve all probably been in places in our lives where we responded submissively or aggressively. Here is one response that splits the middle, neither being submissive nor aggressive.
I call it the patience of presence in the moment of conflict. It does require courage, humility, generosity of spirit, and openness of heart — at a time when each of these precious emotional resources may be most tested and stretched.
Patience of presence is the capacity to embody
the moment with another person, being with them,
at peace together,
when neither of you know how to resolve the impasse.
It is a non-threatening way of holding a spiritual moment. Even though there are situations where even non-threatening responses won’t work (I have encountered this rarely), believing there is a non-threatening way of quieting the angry moment is key.
Here are some ideas:
ü Do keep eye contact, but only if you can do so in a caring, open-hearted way.
û  Don’t keep eye contact with someone who is incensed or intimidated by it.
ü Do lean forward in kindness, offering all of yourself vulnerably.
û  Don’t lean forward if your kindness might be read as manipulation.
ü Do hold their hands if they’re your partner/child/parent if you think it might help.
û  Don’t insist upon physical contact if the other person is repulsed at the time by it.
ü Do lower the volume and moderate the tone of your voice and slow the pace of your speech.
û  Don’t continue with non-threatening words and speech if the other person feels patronised.
ü Do seek some time apart to reflect; into these moments, pray: Lord, how do I bring glory to you, serve [the other person], and grow to be more Christlike, here?
û  Don’t completely withdraw for an extended time period without checking how the other person is going. (By checking, I don’t mean re-starting the divisive discussion, it’s genuine care for their wellbeing that we need to show.)
ü Do attempt to authentically reassure the other person of your true feelings of love/care for them.
û  Don’t persist with your reassurances or feel hurt (try not to) if they throw your love in your face.
ü Do try and sit still.
û  Don’t be afraid of shifting positions if you’re aware your body language might be a trigger for them.

Photo by Wes Grant on Unsplash

Saturday, March 23, 2019

What we never expect is sometimes what we get

“Just stay where you are mate! I’ll come and get you when I need you!” the vehicle examiner barked. I didn’t know whether he was always like this or not, and, because I was only dealing with him for a short time, I just let it pass with a smile. But I kind of knew who I was dealing with.
I wondered what kind of son, father, husband, sibling and friend he was, if he treated strangers like he did me. I did ask him what how his day was going. He just grunted and said, “It’s crazy around here.” I’ll say.
Now, what about the people we’re in ongoing, close relationship with?
There is something we need to know
about people straight away,
but we’ve got a big problem.
Many of the most important relationships we’ll ever form — those we will spend considerable time with — those with whom we will invest all of ourselves — start without us truly knowing them at all. It will take some time before we truly know who we are dealing with. On the other side of things, on the side of regret, we may recognise the red flags; those things we didn’t take too much notice of, but are now big issues.
Whether it is a romantic coupling, the finding of a life partner, or a family relationship that lingers because we are blood kin, or it is a work or church relationship, there really is no difference.
Until conflict emerges, we don’t know
who we are dealing with.
If it is a family relationship, perhaps it is a narcissistic brother or sister, or mother or father, or perhaps the narcissism runs deep in the DNA of the family. Either way, there are family roles, and assuming you’re the victim or survivor of toxic family dynamics, you will find that associated with the concept of family is pain. You know the nuances of narcissism all too well. As they say, you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.
If it is a romantic relationship, where you’re both choosing your life partner, be especially wary, because romance blinds us to the realities that either others may see, or we will just overlook because we are swept away with how we feel. “Charm is deceitful” when charity cannot be maintained in, or very soon after, marital conflict. It takes some time for the shine of idealism to wear off. The more you can anticipate these mushy feelings as false, the less of a crashing thud you’ll experience when the relationship lands. Because, all romances land! Reality can be a very harsh revelation.
If it is a work relationship, and you will probably be on probation initially (usually three-months), make sure part of you also sees that they too, your employer I mean, are on some kind of probation. I mean, within your mind. That you’re watchful for how other employees are treated, for the excuses and the ethical and moral lapses your employer engages in. How do people talk about the employer, and how does the employer talk about others? Be objective. Don’t be swept away by how nice they’re being to you. Far too much employment abuse occurs. We need to be faithful employees, but the last thing any of us needs is to work quarter of our whole life in a toxic environment. Decent employers will continue being reasonable and respectful in return for your reasonability and respectfulness. The best employee-employer relationships are like any other great relationship; there is giving from both sides, without us, as employees in this case, feeling entitled to receive.
If it is a church relationship, and abuse in these relationships is most astonishing to us because we naïvely believe we are dealing with safe and loving people, we can check our glowing perceptions of them. Until there’s been some conflict for us to negotiate, we don’t really know who they are. The added dimension for church relationships is the matter of spiritual abuse — when one party claims that “God is on my side” or “I’m biblically right… and biblically, you’re wrong.” Anyone pulling these tricks is playing upon an evil.
Here is a little clue on the way, however. If we watch their lives and try and gain some perspective of the role conflict plays, we might see who the new person we’re relating with is like when the chips are down. Anyone who deals with conflict in as balanced a way as possible, who respects those opposed to themselves, is, by that measure of observation, a safe person. But, also be careful — some of the most manipulative people are masters of creating such an impression.
We need to be particularly wary
if we are sensitive, empathetic types.
We must see this character strength (sensitivity and empathy) that we bear as literally a magnet for those with the opposite tendency: narcissism. Those who have suffered abuse often feel they have a sign on the forehead but says, “Come and abuse me.” It is perhaps more a case of us being sensitive to the charm of a person with narcissistic personality, as well as them consciously or unconsciously seeking out a sensitive person with whom to play out their tricks.
When entering any new relationship — family, life-partner, work or church — be wary. Not that you don’t trust them, you just don’t know them yet. It may take a full year, sometimes longer. Not until you’ve experienced conflict together will you know, and they know of you, what you’re both really like.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Child’s Play and the Sinister Temptation in Conflict

Doing parent help at my son’s school is a treat. Like so many parents, I find it’s a joy to support my child’s teacher and school. An interesting thing happened on a recent occasion that sparked a thought about how a children’s dynamic plays out in our adult world — like it happens for our kids all the time, it happens all too often for us grown-ups too.
Here’s the scenario: I’m playing a board game with three students, one of whom is my son. I’d just finished being beaten three-straight by another student but was fairing well despite my most recent form!
I begin playing this dinosaur game, and the three boys are all playing well for six-year-olds. Then something happens that happens in just about every game with children. A conflict develops.
My son decides his spin of the arrow didn’t go as he’d expected it, so he has another turn, and instead of getting “3” he gets “10”! The boy who’s just had a turn says, “Hey, wait a minute, that’s not fair.” My son makes matters worse by pleading ignorance regarding what I’d seen in plain view.
With literally one-minute to go before pack-away time, my mind doesn’t know where to go or how to deal with the situation. While we’re in the throes of packing away, I timidly offered to the boy transgressed that I saw what had happened and agree that it wasn’t right. He seemed a little more at peace.
That evening I dealt with my son, and as I told the story with Mum interacting as well, my son thankfully didn’t deny it had happened.
Remember all along, please, that the type of conflict in full focus, here and now, is that which is done against a party who has made no contribution to it.
There have been times in my life where something happened to me that shouldn’t have. When the people that count turned around all they saw was my complaint and the offender’s passionate denial of any wrongdoing — perhaps pointing out my fault and disregarding theirs. I know I’m not alone. I know this has happened to you too. It happens to most of us, if not all of us at one point or other.
It’s not good enough that the people who should care just want to keep the peace — as if ignoring the situation brings peace. It does not. When people who are wronged don’t get justice, they begin to do things that attract the wrong sort of attention.
If we’re not wise to the temptation in humanity to lie or cover accusations up, for fear of exposure, embarrassment or loss, we can do damage that was always meant to be addressed redemptively, by calling the wrongdoer to gentle and honest account.
Instead, it can be that the one transgressed is marginalised as a trouble-maker, when all they’re trying to say is, “Look at the wickedness done against me. Just say you believe me, and I can move on.” Unfortunately, there are those who make not much ado about reasonable complaint. They lack empathy. Yet, we’re called to care, not to say, “Just get over it.”
Of course, we know God sees all, but there is such a thing as social justice, and it’s an important concept.
One of the most important points here is we all do it; whether it is accidentally (or intentionally through hurrying) cutting someone off on the road, omitting some detail of a testimony, not consulting someone when we should, arguing our case for a transaction or result we got that we don’t like, or refusing to say hello or goodbye to someone because we’re annoyed.
Doing the wrong thing is a given.
We all do the wrong thing at times.
Being honest about what we did
is another thing entirely.
If we call Christ, “Lord,”
we’re obliged to be honest.
Competition motivates behaviours that disregard others. The attitude underpinning it is greed or envy.
So, you see that skulduggery doesn’t just happen in the child’s world. It’s not something we grow out of. It’s something buried deep in our competitive psyches. And it is dangerous, corrosive and toxic.
Thanks for reading.

Photo by Bao Truong on Unsplash

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The respect that trust deserves

One reality many of us come face-to-face with every day is that trust is hard.
We’re perplexed as to why some don’t return our love, why there is emotional distance, and why we may have our offers of kindness thrown back in our face. At times it feels this way. Sometimes it’s the other way around. We feel someone reaching toward us, but we’re not so sure it’s wise to nurture a friendship. Something in us just says no. Trust can be hard.
In working with children, I’ve noticed some children immediately warm toward me. For others it can take years. Most fit somewhere in the middle. And in all situations, there are reasons, unknown or known (usually the former), for the behaviour. It’s the same with adults. It can take years to develop the simplest rapport with some people, whilst others are an open house from the get-go.
When we’re working to build relationships,
we must accept the trust people are prepared to give us.
We cannot force it. We cannot get upset because people hold back. Just the same, we ought to be patient with those people who attempt to bust through our boundaries, simply because they want friendship. Insisting on friendship or a relationship, on the other hand, is a no-go zone. Sometimes there are fine lines, but it’s reasonable to expect people will back off when we politely though firmly say, “No.”
As someone in a helping profession — a mentor, chaplain, conflict coach, mediator, counsellor, occasional pastor or friend — I must respect boundaries. We all must. Not all these boundaries are communicated with words; indeed, most are not. We must discern them. And that is our work to do, not theirs! If someone doesn’t want our help, who are we to impose ourselves? Equally, if we desire another person’s help and that’s not possible, we need to understand.
One of the strangest realities of life is we never can predict what help we might require or what help might be required of us. We can be too expectant. We can also be too needy. And yet we can be surprisingly blessed by the situations we might be called to assist in. At times we stand amazed by the support we do receive.
Trust is hard because trust is tenuous. Although it’s hard to build trust, it’s so easy to break trust. It can be a simple misunderstanding that can generate significant hurt. It can be a miscommunication when friends are vulnerable. We’ve all had relationships that expired unexpectedly.
The epitome of trust is the combination of maturity with reliability — safe behaviours and responses will characterise every single interaction.
Developing trust is a delicate and precious pastime. It always involves a constant prayerfulness that we’re discerning the other person’s needs. And where we get it wrong, we’re prepared to promptly apologise and make it right.
When we’re committed to being trustworthy, we see that we can’t afford to be upset when the other person struggles to trust us. People who do not or cannot trust us have their valid reasons. When we accept that we’re not yet trustworthy in their eyes, or perhaps must rebuild a broken trust, trust can possibly form or re-form, because they hopefully see us as safe persons, prepared to go the extra mile with them.
Trust is about safety. Nobody is trustworthy unless they’re safe. And trust is very precious, because the bond of trustworthiness can expire instantly. It stands to reason that if we hurt someone or disrespect their boundaries that trust will diminish.
If we hope to build trust with anyone, we must accept it’s our responsibility.
It would be ridiculous for someone to expect to be trusted. And especially where there is a track record of untrustworthiness.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Dual Nature in the Abuser

Manipulation is the form that abusers take, and there is a dual nature common to those threatened enough:
“It is not unusual for abusive people to act like both a lion and a lamb in the course of being confronted. The lion intimidates, producing in others feelings of fear and desires to flee. The lamb pleads, producing in others feelings of sympathy and desires to extend help.
— Wade Mullen
I’ve seen the lion one minute and the lamb five minutes later. It led me — someone who’s dealt with union heavies, tough tradies, weight lifters, prisoners, drug addicts and alcoholics for much of my life — to feel about as insecure as I ever have. Completely thrown for how to think, feel or respond. This particular moment, after the danger passed, I just broke down. A grown man reduced to nothing in the space of a few moments.
The tactics, for they are manoeuvres for influence, are used in an arsenal of trickery, that they themselves will vigorously deny. You never know where you stand when you don’t know who you’re dealing with. And, in these kinds of moments, you never truly do. One of these moments is enough to generate a trauma response.
The lion is enraged, a visceral ball of explosive capacity, riled up and ready to enforce the action they think is required. The roar is either deafening or eerily seething, in a kind of just-you-wait attitude. This is a creature when you’re in the midst of the situation whom you just do not want to cross.
The lamb is the pretence of purity possibly a lot of the time, demure and easy to please. But the lamb is especially reeled out when you’re a quivering mess from one of those lion outbursts. The lamb comes in to placate you, and to calm you down so they don’t have to face the consequences of their actions. The lamb presents before the court of one’s peers. Only those close to the abuser see the lion.
We all have capacity for the lion and the lamb in us. We all do. But it’s those who make a craft of these two in a dual nature who are especially pathological. The lamb charms us for a time, before we get a glimpse of the lion, possibly when we say our first ‘no’. Then, the lion prowls from within, and when we’re especially cognisant of the lion, the fear of re-traumatisation is brutally real. Indeed, just the mere thought of the threat is enough to spark a physiological response we cannot control.
Be wary of this dual nature. Ordinary couples especially should talk about this. It should be talked about in pre-marriage education. It can arise in workplaces and in churches. A problem might arise if it cannot be spoken about; if it’s too close to home. In that case, it’s not advisable to discuss it, because it could provoke a confrontation that could be traumatic.
If this is the case, be in dialogue with those safe persons you trust.
Go to someone who will believe your perception. Most of the time we ourselves want to downplay matters of abuse. Do not make excuses for the abuser.

What we can only learn when our spirit is weak

Awareness of my state of attack and weakness was all it took. Bam. Decision time. Time to wrestle this weakness into a time of surrender and wrest back the power God has once-for-all-time secured for me.
As I wrestled with my foes,
I wondered what or who on earth they were.
Spiritual division in the Christian faith. Arguments over right and wrong. The misconstruing of Jesus’ words. The senseless butchery of innocent lives. Self-righteousness in some (including me!) who should know better. The burdens of others that I normally don’t carry that have loomed a little larger of late. The voices of others who are cold. The dissidents. The mind craving present but bombarded between past and future. The confusion in my mind for what to think and communicate, all the while communicating with usual confidence, which has bred cognitive dissonance.
Then I came in my weakness to a long-cherished truth:
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
because they’re safe in their reliance on God.
Then I was reminded of another thing. There is an opportunity only found in weakness; when darkness has descended. This opportunity isn’t present when we’re feeling strong.
Again, God turns the world upside down in this knowledge; and in this incredibly vibrant truth.
It was in that moment, where I bristled with a most urgent awareness of my weakness, where I felt every nuance of attack in the moment, that I remembered: it is here, right here, in the midst of my soul’s torment that I see I’ve been teleported to the valley of decision. I remembered that awareness was the golden key. I remembered that insight was God’s gift.
After all, it was insight that brought me
out of my dissociation from the present.
It was insight that brought me to the
sharp realisation of the pain I was bearing.
Indeed, people who struggle with anxiety will not account for the blessed fact that they may have extraordinary insight. It may not feel like a blessing. But that insight is just as easily redeployed in the valley of decision with the addition of courage to go weak through the admission of our weakness. We just have to call it what it is. No more hiding away under the veneer of strength.
It’s not popular to be weak these days. We are much more comfortable being warriors. But it is in becoming weak, as Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, that we derive strength that can only come from God.
There are lessons ahead for us all, and we put these lessons off as much as we can. We all would prefer it to be a different way. Those who deny their weakness never learn the way of the Master.
Anyone who struggles being weak will struggle to live out the radical teachings of Jesus.
When we’re weak spiritually we’re blessed, because standing on our knees is our surrender.
And what confounds the world is that standing on our knees is code for dependence. The person who is utterly dependent on God is safest, indeed most trustworthy, for others. If there was ever a need God had of us, it is our respectful care for all creation.
It is only a person who truly appreciates the need of that care, because they have been cared for in their weakness, who takes hold of that responsibility with the care that befits that role.
It is only the person who is routinely weak who truly knows God. They will bear the fruit of the Spirit, which is code for compassion and empathy and sensitivity and grace.

Photo by Amy Humphries on Unsplash

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Never trust a person who never says sorry

“Stop leaving out the part of the story where you f…ed up!”
I laughed, even if I find four-letter cuss words a little unnecessary. Sometimes, however, such words convey meaning other words cannot. And, as you may know, words fascinate me. This single sentence is compelling for some of the relationships we’ve endured — and some that have eroded us.
People who cannot bring themselves to look at what they did wrong are toxic for everyone they come into close contact with. And by close contact, I mean close enough that conflict is inevitable.
All close relationships bear the characteristic of conflict.
Every single close relationship bears the quality of conflict. No relationship can mature without it. The prime ingredient in marriages and friendships and working relationships is conflict. Misunderstandings are inevitable. Miscommunication occurs eventually. Those we know well will ultimately madden us. And we will ultimately madden them.
If two can tango toward mutual understanding, they will dance a breathtaking performance. Each will compensate for the flaws of the other, never leaving one to always compensate for the other. Neither will claim the perfect performance alone. Both hold their hands together and aloft at the end of the routine.
The mature relationship will bear conflict well,
working it through in humility to resolution,
committed beyond divisive issues,
for the wealth of the relationship.
It is our capacity to handle conflict and our ability to own our contribution that sets us apart as safe people; who are trustworthy to relate with.
We would never introduce a loved one to someone who cannot bear to be wrong. That would set our loved one up for the despair of an unworkable situation. That is not how you love someone! But I suspect we haven’t always truly known the people with whom we’ve introduced our loved ones to, have we? We want our loved ones to be respected and loved, just as we would wish they would treat people that same way. Period.
What kind of person never says sorry?
There is no such thing as a Christian, for instance, who never says sorry. Hear me out.
Christians, by virtue of their decision to follow Jesus, admit they’re sinners, so there is one thing we can know about them: they know they have done wrong, and they know they will keep doing wrong. Yet, they’re thankful that their wrong no longer separates them from God.
Christians of all people will, by admission of their sinful nature, be self-motivated to reflect on what they did wrong; if they are following Jesus, they endeavour to get the lot out of their own eye before they attempt to get the speck out of another person’s eye.
The kind of person who never says sorry
is not a Christian, but a narcissist.
The narcissist is also the master
of engineering apologies from others.
Many Christians need to face this truth. They will look God in the eye one day. And on a day that will not be able to deny the truth that their own soul bears!
Heaven forbid, that any of us would cry out, “Lord, Lord! — did I not do all kinds of service in your name?” where Jesus might answer, “Get away from me, you who didn’t respect my commands… one final command I gave you — love one another…”
Real Christians bear the fruit of repentance
— at conversion and ongoingly.
It is impossible to have a relationship of any proximity with a person who never says sorry. If there is any conflict, and you are the only person who is ever wrong, you are in a toxic situation; it will erode you until you can bear it no more. And such an erosion of self takes place in anyone who is continually embattled by relational injustice.
If ever you find yourself in the situation where you are in conflict with someone who never says sorry, you can know that you’re in an abusive relationship. How much worse is it when the conflict you are in is in no way caused by yourself? — where the sin is all theirs, but the apology is all yours!
Spiritually healthy people bear conflict well when others desire resolution. Commitment to the relationship extends beyond the issues to the health of the relationship itself. To this end, every person is tested by their capacity for apology.