Ten things to remember when loving a fellow church member isn't easy
Relationships can't always be perfect -- even at church. When hurtful interactions affect our happiness, our Savior can soothe our hearts and help us know the appropriate ways to respond.
Loving God and being fully invested in our faith communities doesn't automatically prevent flawed interactions between imperfect people. Sometimes resolving conflict is easy, other times it is not. It may even require a radical change of heart or perspective. Here are ten things to remember when loving someone at church isn't easy:
1. God knows all the details of hurtful situations, friends don't. God can help us know if we need to ask for forgiveness, set boundaries, "stand up," or love someone where their at.
2. It can be easy to fall into "all or nothing" thinking - or seeing people and situations as "all good" or "all bad." In reality, conflict usually involves many factors.
3. "Oneness" often requires the sacrifice of pride. When imperfection is at the core of conflict and not abuse, The Savior might say to us, “You can be "right" or you can be mine.”
4. [Peacemaking] is the gift to help people find common ground when others are seeing differences.” - Henry B. Eyring
5. "Emotional reasoning," or judging a person or situation based only on how we "feel," ignores the fact that we often bring old hurts to new situations. Maybe we're pegging more on an upsetting exchange than is warranted?
6. The Lord's requirement to love our neighbor makes hurt and angry feelings a temptation, not an entitlement. Temptation destroys peace! How might God bring peace to a situation?
7. We've likely heard it before, but it's true: "There isn't anyone you couldn't love, once you've heard their story." - Mary Lou Kownacki
8. Is there something God would have me learn about my Savior, the past, or myself? Why is this situation particularly hard for me?
9. An offensive remark can become a window or a door. Like a window, it can let in light and new understanding. Like a door, it can become a locked barrier to hide behind in darkness and in fear.
10. In the Garden of Gethsemane, The Savior stood by each one of us as He took upon us all our sin, weakness, and pain. Now, we have the opportunity to stand by Him. We can do this in the reactions we choose, and how we treat each other. ❤️
Beautiful art by @kaylouisedoodles
Note: Hurt at church can usually be resolved with a change of heart or perspective, but spiritual abuse is different. Abuse is repeated mistreatment and may include threats, anger, shaming, name calling, and/or other forms of punishment and coercion. Spiritual abuse should never be tolerated. It should be addressed quickly. Not addressing it and allowing it to continue can result in trauma -- or a lasting impact on ideas about self and God.