Why Have a Conciliatory Conversation?
Conciliatory conversations are important because they remove guilt so we can love from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith. If we don't properly deal with guilt then we will seek to justify ourselves.
The main way we justify ourselves is through blame, which leads to the stronghold of resentment, which leads to despising and eventually it becomes a root of bitterness.
The conciliatory conversation will free us from guilt and bitterness that comes from an unforgiving heart. When we ask forgiveness we are keeping short accounts, we are not building up overdue emotional debt that needs reconciled. See Ephesians 4:32, Matthew 18:21-35 (Parable of the Unmerciful Servant), Mark 11:25, and 2 Corinthians 2:10-11
You will receive the level of honor according to the level of humility you go to. In this conversation there are four levels of an apology as well as four degrees of humility. Jesus shows us how to esteem the needs of others as higher than our own in Philippians 2:1-9 as he humbled himself by becoming a man, then a servant, then a public scourging and death on a cross, now his name is above every other name. The law of the universe dictates that humility comes before honor.
When to Have a Conciliatory Conversation
When we realize we have sinned against someone or offended a person and we need to leave our gift at the altar and make things right with man before continuing our worship before God. Unforgiveness can keep us linked to the pain of the past versus releasing people and cutting off the enemy's attacks through forgiving one another.
How to Have a Conciliatory Conversation
Often times we only deal with the surface problem and we argue about the interpretation of one another's actions and intentions. Forgiveness is not justifying, forgetting, excusing or denying the pain of someone's sin nor is it not counting other's sins against them. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 Forgiveness is an act of the will in which we choose to give up our right to hold another person accountable for the wrong they have done to us. We cannot hold unto a person in order to settle the score. Forgiveness is letting go and releasing a person from any future claims against them.
Ultimately, you need to determine the Four Levels of the Problem and go through the Four Levels of Forgiveness.
These are hurtful words, actions and attitudes and represent the content of words or actions.
- Ask "What did you hear me say?"
- Ask "What did you see me do?"
- Remember that what someone else sees or hears may not be what you intended or even what you thought you said or did.
- The important thing is not to determine whose perspective is correct but more that you understand the other person's perspective. Many times what we say or do can speak into other's fears and get filtered negatively.
These are the resulting thoughts, fears, and conclusions, and represent the interpreted intent of your words or actions.
- Ask "What did my words, actions, attitudes cause you to think?" This allows you to understand the lies that the speaker began to believe.
- Ask "What meaning did you give to my words or actions?"
- Ask "The meaning often determines the feeling, what did you feel?"
- Ask "What fears did this produce in you?"
- Ask "What painful memories did this trigger?"
- Ask "What stress did this cause?"
- Ask "What conclusions did you come to?"
Regardless of your intent this is often a failure to demonstrate love or respect and a lack of vital character qualities (see the 49 Character Qualities of Christ).
- Ask "How did I fail to demonstrate love or respect to you?"
- Ask "What character qualities did I fail to demonstrate?"
- Ask "What qualities do you need to see in me?"
- Ask "What does this failure cause you to think or do?"
Root issues are caused by us when we resist God’s grace in our pride and stubbornness.
- Ask "What do you perceive I am unwilling to do?"
- Ask "How did I resist God’s grace in this situation?"
- Ask "How did I demonstrate pride to you?"
- Ask "How did my stubbornness affect you?"
Four Levels of Forgiveness
The four levels of forgiveness are invoked by proceeding backwards through the Four Levels of the Problem. Your notetaking in the previous steps will come in handy here!
Say "Knowing what I know now..."
Level 4: Root Cause
Say “I can see how my unwillingness to...” and state how you resisted God’s grace.
Level 3: Root Problem
Say “Caused you to feel unloved or disrespected...” and state the character qualities you failed to demonstrate.
Level 2: Surface Causes
Say “And made you believe... fear... remember... experience...” and state the effect of your words or actions.
Level 1: Surface Problem
Say “Because of my actions or words of...”and state the content of your words or actions.
Say “Will you please forgive me?”
Note that the other person may not be ready to forgive you in that moment. That's ok, let them sit with apology and allow God to work in them. At this point, you will have demonstrated that you have insight into their true condition.
At this point you may have some additional information that you might be able to give that will provide clarity to the situation.
Say “Would you like to know any additional facts so you can ease your mind regarding this situation?”
Or say “I have some additional information that might be helpful in understanding this situation better, would you like me to share it now or at some other time?”
Describe your intent in sharing or doing what you did.
Understanding a person’s intent will help your spouse associate a new and more accurate meaning to the content of your words and actions. Our feelings are often controlled by the meaning we associate to words and actions. Change the meaning and you will change the feelings.
Discovering the truth will overcome the F.E.A.R.s (False Evidence that Appears Real) and it will set you free from the lies of the enemy. This requires listening to one another’s facts, meaning and then deciphering the truth and being willing to once again believe the best, hope the best and endure to see the best.
When we become allies instead of enemies, we help one another become vulnerable enough to share from the heart the facts, feelings, fears, failures, weaknesses, needs and then finally the truth that will help both to once again enter into God’s rest. (See Hebrews 4 and Proverbs 16:6-7)
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