When conflict drives a wedge between you and your friends, it hurts. During a prolonged and deeply personal disagreement with a close friend, Tasha and her husband Brian had seen little fruit from their attempts at reconciliation, though they were exasperated and desperate to resolve the conflict.
Romans 12:18 says, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Over many months, God convicted Tasha of the “as far as it depends on you” parts of the broken relationship. She realized that her sense of violated respect was overblown, and that her own pride was keeping them from making strides toward healing. Timely sermons on reconciliation further convicted her of pride and piqued her desire for a restored relationship.
And for several years, God—and the wisdom of a family counselor—had been showing Tasha that as a people-pleaser, she sinfully sought her approval in others, rather than seeking ultimate approval from the Lord. Again, Tasha was reminded that being liked isn’t the most important thing, and that good can come of pushing through conflict and strife.
One day, Tasha had the irresistible, God-given urge to call her now distant friend and own up to her part of the conflict between them. Tasha was incredibly nervous that she would stumble in her apology or articulate it poorly, or that her friend would outright reject the attempt at reconciliation. But Tasha prayed hard, for herself and for the relationship, and God fortified her with courage for the uncomfortable conversation.
To Tasha’s great joy, her apology was received. Encouraged by Tasha’s pursuit, her friend asked, “Why did your heart towards me change?” Tasha told her, “It’s just a choice, to be honest”—one that God helped her make. After that conversation, their standoff ceased and was replaced by a mutual attempt at understanding. Now, the two even pray for one another.
Renewed relationships are still hard work, but this triumph has renewed Tasha’s hope that doggedly pursuing reconciliation can thaw even a glacier of wrongs with other friends and family as well. She leaves the door open for change, both in her relationships and in her own heart.
Because sometimes when you wish God would change another person, he changes you instead.