People cause problems! It’s part of the human condition. Any time you put two people in a room together, there is a potential for problems because of our inherent differences. The closer that two people come to one another, the more severe and damaging those problems might become.
Families and friends have the potential for the greatest challenges in your life. This is certainly true of David Dusek, who went through significant challenges in his childhood. His problems with his father were so deep that it took him more than nine years to reconcile this relationship as a grown man.
If you’ve listened to David’s episode of Unbeatable, you heard him admit that many of his problems were the result of his father’s mistakes as a parent. However, some of those problems David carried with him into adulthood. It was only after David became a father himself that he realized he needed to go back and reconcile things with his estranged father.
This brought one of his greatest challenges.
Picture in your mind the humbling circumstances of David driving halfway across the country to knock on his father’s door and ask forgiveness for his part in this estranged relationship. Frankly, David did what few people are willing to do and faced his own mistakes and failures, rather than pointing the finger exclusively at his father.
All of us can learn a lesson from David’s courage and humility. Here are three things that you need to be willing to do right away if you’re going to take responsibility for your part of a relationship problem.
Do it for yourself, if no other reason
I can easily hold a grudge against people who have hurt me. I’m sure this is also true of you. It’s easy to point out where somebody else has done wrong to us, and it’s easy to expect the person who offended you to take the initiative and to make things right.
But, holding a grudge hurts you more than the other person. When you have been offended, it is only natural to expect the other person to make an apology. However, if you’re not careful, getting bitter while waiting for an apology can become a cancer that will consume you, rather than the one who offended you.
I’m not suggesting that you take all the responsibility for the relationship. I’m simply suggesting that you take the first step toward resolution. Take this step, because relationships have a big impact on how you view yourself, your future, and even on your health! Take the initiative to resolve the problem if for no other reason than your own health and future.
Don’t become farsighted
I feel the need to remind you that all conflicts in human relationships have two parties involved. If there are not two people involved, then we don’t have a human relationship. Sometimes you can get so focused on the person that did you wrong that you fail to recognize your part of the problem.
Jesus described what it looks like when someone becomes spiritually farsighted. He uses extraordinary language when he describes being so blinded by the splinter in another person’s eye that you can’t see the stick in your own eye in Matthew 7:3-4.
Like you, I’ve been hurt deeply by people who are very close to me. If I’m not careful, I only focus on the hurt that they did to me and cannot see the hurt that I might have done to them, as well. Like David’s drive across the country to meet with his father, it takes a lot of courage and humility to be willing to admit your part in a problem. However, this is almost always the first step toward resolving human conflict.
Take the first step
Nothing gets resolved until someone takes the first step. I believe that it’s right for the one who did the offense to take the first step to make things right. However, that doesn’t always happen. If you’re in a strained relationship right now, follow David’s example. Be the bigger person, and take the first step toward reconciliation.
Even if the other person doesn’t admit his or her mistakes, I still suggest you should take the first step toward reconciliation. No matter how things turn out when you take the first step in resolving the conflict, you can rest better at night knowing that you did the right thing in this relationship.
Relationships are hard, because people can hurt each other.
The closer the relationship, the deeper the hurt. Instead of sitting there thinking to yourself that the other person doesn’t deserve your forgiveness, try following David’s example. Remind yourself that holding onto a grudge hurts you more than the other person, take the first step, and admit your part of the problem.
And you will sleep better tonight, knowing that you’ve done your best by taking responsibility for any part you may have played.