Links for Leaders 2/23/18

It’s the weekend…finally. The perfect time to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on some reading. Below, you’ll find some articles I came across this week that I found helpful as a leader and parent and hope you do as well.

Before diving into those, in case you missed them this week. Here are the top 3 posts on my blog this week that I hope you find helpful:

I just wrapped up a relationship series at our church called Him & Her and so I’m writing some new related content around the series: The Key to Healthy Relationships, The Power of Sexuality and Our Longing for Intimacy in Relationships, 3 Things that Make a Great Marriage and How to Love Those Who Mean the Most to You.

I love this article about Ray Ortlund and his ministry. It was deeply encouraging to me. To see how I don’t have to be great in my 30’s or do anything incredible for Jesus, but can have the greatest decade in my 60’s and 70’s. I also love that he planted a church at 58 since so many people in their 30’s feel like they missed out on something. For those who feel like life has passed you by, this is an encouraging read.

Carey Nieuwhof shares what will drive church growth in the future. There are a ton of great insights here.

If you’re like me, you love new ways of communicating, marketing, etc. In doing that though, it is easy to miss those old things still work. Rich Birch shares 4 old school communication methods that churches should use. We use some of these but will start using more of these as well.

Most leadership blogs and books on what leaders do. Brian Dodd shares great insight about the 8 things great leaders know.

Doubt, Faith & Hope (Mark 9)

Doubt is something all of us have at different points in our lives. It can be related to relationships and doubting whether or not someone cares for us, will be there for us, or

can be counted on. It might be around finances and doubting if we’ll make it through a situation, but where doubt shows up the most is in our relationship with God.

We wonder if God hears us, cares for us, and wants to be close to us. We wonder if God has the power to change us, take away our hurt, our sins, change someone close to us, or has the power to heal us or a loved one.

In his helpful book Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt Is Not the Enemy of Faith, Barnabas Piper makes the distinction between doubt based on belief (the anchor of God) and doubt that undermines belief.

I think what matters with doubt is what we do with it.

The father in Mark 9 took his doubt directly to Jesus.

He didn’t hide with it, run from it, or pretend it wasn’t there.

Frederick Buechner said, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief” is the best any of us can do really, but thank God it is enough.

The father in Mark 9 struggled because of the immense pain he had for his son. He longed for his son to be healed, he was desperate, which is why he comes to Jesus and says, “If you can.”

Jesus responds that anything is possible for the one who believes.

Believes what?

That Jesus can.

The father throws himself on the power of Jesus.

Too often in my life, when it comes to doubt, I simply move in to control it. Others run from it and hide. Others lash out at the situation, but what we are called to do is throw it onto the power of Jesus.

Don’t forget the context of Mark 9 because that is crucial.

This comes right after the transfiguration, where we see who Jesus is, that he is God in human flesh, greater than Elijah and Moses, but that he is also the redemption longed for, the freedom longed for.

I think another thing is important in Mark 9 as it relates to doubt.

Hope.

Too often I hear people talk about life, where they are, what they are going through, as hopeless.

It’s easy to do. Life feels overwhelming. It feels like we are stuck and can’t move forward.

Yet for the follower of Jesus, it is never hopeless.

A follower of Jesus should never shrug and say, “It can’t get better. All is lost.” Or, “I don’t know how long I’ll be stuck.” Or, “I keep doing the same thing over and over and can’t move forward.”

That’s hopeless.

The father in Mark 9 is clinging to the smallest shred of hope, but he is still clinging and that is crucial.

Why?

Again, the words of Jesus in Mark 9:23: All things are possible.

All things.

How to Focus

If you’re anything like me, you need to focus. There are times when you need to hunker down and get things done. Yet, your mind wanders. You daydream or think about what will happen later today or tomorrow. It could be a conversation, a meeting or a vacation you can’t wait to start.

Your lack of focus might come from no desire to do what you are doing, how hard something is or because you didn’t sleep well last night.

Many times the reason I am not able to focus well is because of the whirlwind around.

Focus comes from having “white space.” This is the place where you are able to shut down social media or email and think. To narrow down what matters the most right now.

I’ve heard John Maxwell say that leaders could stop doing 80% of what they’re doing and no one would notice. That feels high, but there is some merit to it.

Each day you must be able to say, “If I accomplish nothing else today, here’s what must get done.” That focus helps you to stay on track.

When you find your brain wandering, stand up, walk around, get some fresh air and then return to something.

Focus for Your Church or Organization

Focus doesn’t just matter for you personally, but it has enormous implications for your team and your church.

Many teams lack focus. They are stuck in a whirlwind of activity, simply doing the thing right in front of them. In a church, this is easy to do because worship services come around with such regularity (every seven days), so there is a deadline to that whirlwind.

For our team, just like in our family, we talk through what is most important for the next 2-6 months as a team. What are we all going to be working on and moving towards?

Why Focus Matters

Without focus, anything and everything is important.

This is where many churches and people get off track in their lives and ministries.

Focus says, this matters more than that.

That is hard to say, because it determines ahead of time what you will think about, work on, spend money on and give manpower to.

Whether you sit down and write this out or say it, you do this exercise each day.

The ones who accomplish things and see greater effectiveness are the ones who decide this instead of falling into it.

The days that I flop into bed with a feeling of “what did I really accomplish today” are the days I wasn’t focused and allowed my day to get away from me.

Amazingly, as you read through the gospels you see the incredible focus that Jesus had. He was fully present wherever he went. Whether he was teaching, healing, resting, praying or spending time with his disciples, he was focused on what he was doing. When you think about what he did, you also get a sense of the things he didn’t do. He made the choices we have to make each and everyday: what will get our time, energy and attention.

10 Ideas for a Great Valentine’s Day

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share the top 14 marriage and relationship posts that Katie and I have written over the years. Thanks for learning and growing with us over the years. Bookmark this page to use as a resource you can come back to. Katie and I hope this helps take your marriage to the next level.

  1. 11 Ways to Know You’ve Settled for a Mediocre Marriage
  2. 18 Things Every Husband Should Know about His Wife
  3. When You and Your Spouse aren’t on the Same Page
  4. 10 Questions You Should Ask Your Spouse Regularly
  5. When You Manipulate Your Husband, You Lose Him
  6. 10 Ways to Know if You’re Putting Your Kids Before Your Spouse
  7. 7 Reasons You Aren’t Communicating with your Spouse
  8. Stop Pretending Your Marriage is Great
  9. Lies Couples Believe About Marriage
  10. The Power of Sex and Our Longing for Intimacy
  11. When Your Spouse Disappoints You
  12. Why Your Spouse Doesn’t Listen to You
  13. 3 Things that Make a Great Marriage
  14. The One Thing Destroying Your Marriage That You Don’t Realize

Happy Valentine’s Day!

How to Love Those Who Mean the Most to You

Every marriage and relationship is different, and every person is different. But every marriage and relationship have one thing in common, a desire to be closer and to be more in love.

Throughout the day we send out signals, what one author called “bids.” We’ll ask people if they saw the game last night, if they watched that show, read that blog, what they’re doing this weekend.

Why?

To connect.

While some couples may feel distant and feel like the fun and love have worn off from their marriage, it is never too late.

I’m always sad whenever I hear couples talk as if their marriage is as good as it can get. We feel the same about friendships. At least I have someone to watch the Super Bowl with. Could be worse!

So, how do you build love back into a loveless marriage? How do you rekindle love that feels like it has worn out? How do you feel more fulfilled and happier in your marriage?

Honestly, it isn’t as hard as you might think.

The next time you are with your spouse or friend, ask them: What is one thing I can do to make your life more enjoyable? To make you feel more loved? To lessen the stress in your life?

The answers from your spouse might be: to have coffee ready in the morning, to pick up your clothes, to pick up the kids at school, to have dinner ready by a certain time, to have a meal plan for the week, cleaning up the kitchen before going to bed, no smartphones after 8pm. It might be more affection, more date nights, more time alone for mom, more sex, more talking, more face to face activities (what women enjoy), or more shoulder to shoulder activities (which men enjoy). It might be a huge request or a small one.

Your friend might say, “Let me pick what we do. Stop talking to me like that. Say yes to help me next time I ask.”

A few years ago Katie and I were beginning to feel like we had settled into a routine in our marriage, and we wanted to shake out of it. So we asked each other this in a conversation. We began to see how we had taken the other for granted and what would begin building back into our relationship. Revisiting this conversation can be incredibly helpful for couples.

Now a word of warning. There is a chance that what your spouse or friend will say is something you don’t want to do or think you are already doing, and they should be grateful for what you do. It can be easy to blow off what they say because you don’t want it. This response can be destructive to your relationship because your spouse or friend will probably not mention it again, and a divide will begin in your relationship.

As you move forward from this conversation, try it out for a week. See how it goes. Try it out for a month and then evaluate it. You may find it isn’t so bad. Your spouse may decide they really don’t want what they requested as much as they thought.

In the end, you are moving towards the other person and showing love to them in a way that makes sense to them, and that is never a bad thing.

When You Quit Too Soon

At some point, we are tempted to quit something.

It might be a job, a church plant, a team, a diet or workout plan, a book, a degree program or even a difficult marriage.

Why?

Because we’re human, and when things get difficult, many of us want to pack up and go home.

But what if on the other side of that difficulty is what we have longed for all along?

I think many times when we quit, we miss out on what God has for us.

Why do we quit?

Sacrifice.

It is hard.

Difficult.

Painful even.

Ross Perot said:

Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.

I think what often sets people apart is their ability to persevere in something when it is difficult.

If you watch great athletes, the ones who win the gold medal, hold up the trophy or score the winning point, you will often see someone who was willing to live through pain, hardship, and difficulty. What you don’t see is the workout at 4am, the eating plan they put themselves through, the saying “no” to a night out with friends to get 10 hours of sleep. You don’t see the 1,000 jump shots they took each day, the miles they swam or ran, or the weights they lifted beyond what even they thought they could do.

When you see a couple in their 50s laughing together and genuinely enjoying each other’s presence, what you don’t see are the sleepless nights because they wouldn’t go to bed angry but instead worked through that argument. The tension of dealing with past hurt and past baggage and bringing it all to light so they could move forward. The hours spent holding hands and praying together about facing the road ahead. You don’t see the hundreds and thousands of compliments and little annoyances they decided to overlook instead of making a big deal about it.

What is on the other side of that difficulty or hardship? Very likely the breakthrough you’ve been waiting for.

But how do you know? How do you know if you should quit or keep moving, especially in a job like leadership?

Here are some things that I ask myself or encourage others to ask themselves:

Am I getting enough sleep? Often, but not always, the reason we are in a difficult season or want to quit is related to our sleep. When we are tired, we make poor eating choices, cut things out of our life that could be beneficial, have a short fuse with people and have a fogginess when it comes to our choices and thinking. This is why we often make better decisions in the morning instead of later in the afternoon.

Do I have enough outlets for stress? Leaders need outlets for stress – things that recharge them and help them keep going. Those outlets, when used correctly, will often help you stay the course. Things like sleeping, sabbath, eating well, working out, community. All of these are incredibly important to staying the course.

What led up to this season or desire to quit? A desire to quit often comes when we don’t know what else to do, but looking backward can be a helpful thing. Was there a leadership choice, a hire, a new launch that led to this season? Sometimes, we want to quit because we are running from something and a new opportunity or throwing in the towel is easier. Whenever a pastor calls me and says he’s thinking about leaving his church, the first question I ask him is, “What about your church is difficult right now?” Often, we are running from difficulty.

What does my community look like? It is easier to throw in the towel when we’re alone. Most sin happens in isolation. Community has a way of shining the light into places it needs to be. Many leaders leave a place because of isolation and loneliness.

What is my relationship with God like? Lastly, what is your relationship with God like? Too many pastors fall into, “God told me to leave” because it is hard to argue with. God may have called you to leave, but He may be telling you to endure as well. I can tell you that one is easier.

Only you know if you should quit something. You know what led to that season and choice, but you don’t know what’s on the other side of it. There have been many times in my over 10 years in Tucson that leaving would’ve been the easier choice, but each time I’ve stopped to ask myself these questions and others, I’m glad I kept walking in what God called me.

3 Things that Make a Great Marriage

Healthy relationships take work. Healthy marriages that people want to stay in don’t just happen, although we think they do. We think two people magically just work together, never fight, never have an issue or disagreement to work through, but they do.

So, where do things go wrong? How can a friendship that was working so well, a marriage that seemed so right all of a sudden seem all wrong?

Here are five ways relationships go from working to broken:

1. It’s too much work. Healthy relationships take a lot of work. It means being patient, listening, hearing someone out, and putting your wants and privileges aside. That’s work.

2. It hurts too much to face their past or do the hard work. As we’ll see later, almost every fight in a relationship is not about what you are fighting about. You are fighting with a past incident, a hurt you haven’t dealt with, a person you see in the person in front of you. They remind you of your dad, your mom, they said words similar to an abuser or someone who you were supposed to trust. Healthy people face their past and in the power of Jesus see it redeemed. Unhealthy people use their past and stay the victim instead of finding healing. This is hard work and can be incredibly painful. In any argument you have to ask the crucial question, “Are we actually fighting about this? What are we really fighting about? Who am I really fighting with?”

3. They’re lazy and selfish, they want the other person to do all the work and all the changing. Just like #1, being lazy and selfish in relationships is easy. Serving, putting in the work, putting the other person’s needs and wants first takes work. Often, too, we want the other person to put in the work to become the healthy person while we stay unhealthy. “I’ll hold on to that incident and bring it up whenever it suits me. I’ll remind them of my hurt instead of dealing with my hurt.”

4. They think they are better than their spouse or the other person. Sometimes people are in an unhealthy relationship because they think they are less sinful than the other person. They look down on them. They wouldn’t say this, but they hold the other person’s sin in contempt, thinking, “How can they not see that? Why do they struggle with that?” They turn up their noses at the thought of putting in the hard work to reconcile with a spouse or a friend. They will say it is the other person’s fault, but deep down they are the least sinful person they know.

5. Confuse what reconciliation means. Reconciliation doesn’t mean you are friends with everyone. You might need to protect yourself from an abusive situation, and you may need to protect your kids as well. Reconciliation does mean that you don’t hold it against the person anymore, that you don’t bring up the past. You stop saying, “Remember…?”

So what do healthy couples do?

They do many things, but here are a few:

1. They grow close to Jesus. This may seem obvious, but if you stray from Jesus, stop reading your Bible, feel your relationship with Jesus suffer, lots of things go wrong. Your desire to fight sin goes down. Your desire to serve your spouse goes down. Your desire to love your spouse goes down. Your desire to stay pure goes down, all because of one thing. Couples who make it to the end keep God at the center of their marriage. They grow together spiritually, they take control of their spiritual lives and don’t leave it to chance. They read solid books together, they pray together, they have a plan for how they will disciple their kids (they don’t leave that to chance either). They attend church together, are in a Christian community and serve to use their gifts and talents. God is not some figure that appears periodically in their marriage but is what the marriage and family revolve around. Men are asking how they can help their wife grow and become all that God has called her to be.

2. They protect their marriage. This is something couples kind of stumble through. They take their vows, wear rings, but too many don’t protect themselves when it comes to their minds, hearts and eyes. Yes, they make sure not to sleep with someone they aren’t married to, but everything else is fair game. A couple who lasts does not do that. The only thing on their menu is their spouse. They protect their eyes, they aren’t looking at porn, they aren’t fantasizing about that girl at work or the guy in the movie. They aren’t dreaming about their romance novel, they aren’t acting out (even with their spouse) in their mind. They act out with their spouse (and only their spouse). They make sure nothing will tear them and their spouse apart.

This isn’t just about vows and promises but about the priority you place on your relationship compared to other relationships. Your kids matter and you love them, but your kids come after your marriage. One of the fastest ways to go from a great marriage to being roommates is placing your kids above your spouse. One day your kids will be gone, and you will have only your spouse. At this point, most couples split because they no longer need to stay together for the kids, and they have nothing in common. Don’t let that happen. This doesn’t mean you neglect your kids and not do anything with them, but it means they come after your marriage. If you’re not sure where you stand on this, here are 10 ways to know you are putting your kids in front of your marriage.

3. They pursue each other. Pursuit is what got you married (because you started pursuing when you dated). Pursuit is what keeps a marriage healthy, and pursuit is the first thing to go out the window of most marriages. The couples who last don’t leave this to chance. They make time for their spouse, they have a yearly getaway with their spouse, weekly date nights and they do fun things with their spouse. I’ve never had a couple who did this tell me they regretted it. I’ve had lots of couples tell me how they long for this. Here are some ideas for doing date night at home, some rules we have for date night and some help for when date night falls apart.

Know that affection is the first thing to go and fight against that. Affection is what goes first. Kissing when you say goodbye, holding hands, snuggling. Life is busy, you know your spouse, you have them now, your kids are climbing all over you, you are running late, you are tired and want to sleep, you are worried if you snuggle he will want sex and you just want to go to sleep. All of these things happen to couples who couldn’t keep their hands off each other at one time. Fight this. When you kiss, kiss for 5-10 seconds. Throw some tongue in when you are just saying hello or goodbye. Gross your kids out. Hold hands in the car. Kiss at a red light. Snuggle at night. I’ve said this before and people tell me I’m wrong, but I’m not: the amount of sex you have, the amount of affection you have, is one of the best barometers for where your marriage is. Show me a couple with little affection and little sex, and I will show you a couple going in opposite directions.

The relationships that are healthy and growing take intentionality, and they take specific choices. Otherwise you drift into unhealthiness.

An Important (And Overlooked) Part of Your Leadership

Leadership is difficult. It can be hard to be a leader. Tiring, exhausting and exhilarating, all at the same time.

People often debate what makes a leader, what they do, and what you should look for in a leader.

There is one reality of leadership that I think often gets overlooked, and that is the role that a spouse plays for a leader.

Often the only time a conversation comes up about a pastor’s wife is when considering whether to hire a pastor (I think this is too narrow for leadership, as it only looks at a man as a leader). The question is often asked, “What should a pastor’s wife do in a church?”

The reality of leadership in a church is that your spouse is an extension of you, in good and bad ways.

If you and your spouse are at a meeting but you don’t get to talk with everyone, whoever has talked with your spouse feels connected and heard by you.

While the spouse of every leader is wired and gifted differently, one of the most important things a leader’s spouse brings is their presence.

This presence can be felt through actually being there, conversations, visibility, prayer or giving ideas and leadership to certain tasks or activities.

All of those things will come out of a spouse’s level of capability, life stage of kids, desire and passion, as well as capacity to do certain things.

These are important questions to ask and come back to on a regular basis.

Because of how relational leadership is, particularly in a church, this becomes all the more important.

This also, when done right, creates a lot of energy for the church and the leader and their spouse as they are working out of their unique wiring and bringing value to each other and the church.

The Power of Sex and Our Longing for Intimacy

Many times in our lives we underestimate the power of sexuality, ours and those around us. We underestimate our desires, longings, addictions and past sexual histories.

When you read Scripture, you see that we are created for relationships, for intimacy. We are created for knowing and we long for that. Yet, our culture has connected sex, love, and intimacy and made it a big mess.

You can be intimate with someone without having sex. You can have sex with someone without being intimate.

This confusion has led many of us to look for intimacy in places we can’t find it.

We look for it in sexual relationships outside of marriage, affection from co-workers, emotional relationships outside of marriage and porn.

Often I’ll hear people say, “Believing sex outside of marriage is wrong is so prudish, so old-fashioned. Doesn’t everyone have sex before marriage, out of marriage, look at porn?” Here’s my question, “Has sex outside of marriage made your life better? Has looking at porn made your life and relationships richer? More meaningful? Deeper? Has cheating on your spouse made your life better? Less stressful?” The answer is no. But we think it will, so we do it.

Where it Begins

It is important to understand where this begins.

Why?

1 Thessalonians says: For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.

We must understand as best as we can where our sexual desire got off track. For many of us, that got off track at a young age and in a painful memory.

Having sex as a teenager, being raped, abused, or molested. It was the discomfort we felt when friends pressured us to kiss someone, or struggling with same sex attraction and not being sure what it meant.

Too often in Christian circles we read verses like Matthew 5:27 – 30 on lust and adultery and look for ways to battle them, which is important, but we rarely understand where they came from.

Yet, if we don’t desire holiness and purity, if we don’t understand where things became broken, we won’t know what to fix or what we’re even trying to get to.

For me, this is facing what I learned about sex at a sleepover when I was 11, and the dad brought down a box filled with porn and said to us, “It’s about time you boys learn about this.” I need to look at what that taught me, how that shaped me and changed me. How has that impacted my way of relating to others over the last 27 years?

What is often the most painful about this looking back is we see what was taken from us.

Redemption and Sexuality

Many times we’ll struggle with this question: If God is in control, why didn’t he stop that? Why did he allow that first experience? This is a heart-wrenching question.

As a follower of Jesus, according to the New Testament, you are in Christ. You were in Christ before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1 says that if you are saved, a follower of Jesus, redeemed, you were chosen before the foundations of the world, your eternity and hope were sealed before God created anything.

This means everything in our lives is ‘in Christ.’ Our joys and pains. All has been redeemed and is being made new. We only think about what we’re walking through right now, in the future or from the time that we became aware of Jesus. But there was a time before we were aware of Jesus that he was aware of us.

Being in Christ means that those painful moments, that abuse, pain, heartache, destruction, addiction, Jesus was not absent or somewhere else, but was with you. And, because he knows holiness, beauty and goodness, the way God intended things to be, he feels and knows your pain and my pain even deeper than we ever could, because he knows how it should be. This is what took him to the cross, to redeem and make new, that pain, that abuse, that destruction.

Being ‘in Christ’ means I have the power to battle all the sin I face and experience the life Jesus experiences with the Father.

I think it is interesting in Matthew 5 that Jesus puts anger/murder next to adultery/lust. Both destroy people, both rob people of life and joy.

What Jesus is pointing to is a greater righteousness and hope.

Many times when it comes to our love lives, dating, marriages, addictions, sexual histories, broken promises, broken commitments and broken hearts, we say, “There’s no hope.” The gospel of Jesus, the hope of Jesus says, “There’s always hope.”

Jesus came to make you whole. This doesn’t mean that your past, your hurt, the scars you carry on your body, heart, brain or soul disappear, but it does mean they change.

This is the invitation that Jesus has for us in Matthew 5. Do we trust that his picture of holiness is better than our picture of broken connection through our sexuality?

How to Have Healthy Relationships

All of us want healthy relationships.

Whether we’re married or not, we watch married couples and we think, “I’d hate that, I’ll never do that.” Or, “I like that.”

We watch parents, whether we have kids or not. We look at their relationships trying to discern what is working and what is not.

We then take those observations and apply them to our relationships.

Sometimes those results work, sometimes they don’t.

After decades of studying thousands of couples, Dr. John Gottman thinks he found the foundational, most important issue to a healthy relationship.

Trust.

He said, “What I found was that the number one most important issue that came up to these couples was trust and betrayal. Can I trust you to be there and listen to me when I’m upset? Can I trust you to choose me over your mother, over your friends? Can I trust you to work for our family? To not take drugs? Can I trust you to not cheat on me and be sexually faithful? Can I trust you to respect me? To help with things in the house? To really be involved with our children? Trust is one of the most commonly used words in the English language. It turns out that when social psychologists ask people in relationships, “What is the most desirable quality you’re looking for in a partner when you’re dating?”, trustworthiness is number one. It’s not being sexy or attractive. It’s really being able to trust somebody.”

We know this, but what does trust look like in relationships? How do we keep trust at the forefront so we have healthy relationships?

Trust comes into play when we have relational hurt or relationships fall apart.

Repairing of those relationships is more likely if we have relational change with that person and we have built into that person’s love bank or emotional tank. If we are constantly making withdrawals, trust is hard to repair.

In Matthew 5, as Jesus looks at relationships, He raises the stakes.

The religious leaders looked at the command of murder and saw murder. That was the end of keeping that commandment, don’t kill anyone, which is good advice.

Jesus raises the stakes of righteousness (Matthew 5:20) by saying that anyone who insults someone, has anger towards someone, wants to retaliate against someone, is the same as murder.

Jesus uses an interesting picture in verse 25 of Matthew 5, of being in prison. When we don’t deal with relational hurt, we are in a prison. We hold grudges, are bitter, and we’re stuck. This describes many of our relationships and hearts.

Stuck. Bitter. Hung up. Not moving forward.

Let me give you four questions that I think help us get to relational health:

1. What am I hurt about? What am I really angry at? Can you define what hurt you? Why is that relationship broken and not healthy? It might be with a spouse, child, friend, parent or boss.

Define what you are hurt about. What did they say? Do? How did that make you feel? Name your feelings. It might be afraid, hurt, lonely, isolated, run over by them. That you couldn’t stand up for yourself, or you couldn’t meet their standard.

2. Do I have any sin in this? This is crucial because many times we are angry because of sin and blind spots we have.

Did we do anything to cause the relational rift we have?

When it comes to your reaction to someone or a situation, a great question to ask is: Is my reaction proportional to the situation?

3. Am I dealing with it or simply talking to others about it? Many times when we’re hurt, we talk to everyone but the person who hurt us. One person, a spouse, a close friend, yes, so they can tell you when you’re being irrational or help you see things clearly, but broadcasting it on Facebook, telling everyone you come into contact with, is not healthy.

In fact, that’s gossip.

Bryan Miles said,Gossip is taking your problem to someone who can’t do anything about it.”

4. What does moving forward look like? This is the goal. The goal is reconciliation for broken relationships, but reconciliation looks different for each relationship depending on what happened, what boundaries are healthy and what your heart can handle.

Why is this?

We are responsible for our part of every relationship we’re in.