PARDON MY TONE!
A friend e-mailed a helpful article to me about resolving breaches in relationships. The writer of the article confessed that during a confrontation, a colleague was unable to display empathy toward him because of the tone he was using.
How interesting that the writer took full responsibility for his offensive tone over defending the strength of his position. The article went on to say that intuitive perception is a person's reality no matter if it is true or false and whatever is perceived dictates the response.
When the perception is negative - meaning if a person perceives an indifferent or dishonoring tone - it is nearly impossible for that person to overlook the offense long enough to embrace the logic of the position.
This situation then becomes an issue of what I value more - my position or the relationship. This is a good time to ask myself, is this a hill to die on? If I choose to value the relationship, then I have work to do to repair the breach. The writer of the article goes on to say that humility is the pathway to resolving a relational breach of this kind.
Recently I found myself taking issue with two individuals I care about. With the first, I chose wisely - meaning I was able to focus on honoring the person and achieving a good outcome. The happy result was a preserved relationship. But with the second, I chose poorly - meaning my passion overwhelmed me and my tone blocked out what I was attempting to say. The unhappy result was a breach in the relationship.
When a relationship suffers a breach - and over time most all will - then I must do deeds of repentance to repair it. Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom (James 3:13 ESV).
Deeds of repentance are actions that express humble, regretful sorrow for an offense. In my case, my offensive tone did not reflect value for the person or the relationship. Therefore, I could, in good conscience, admit that the perception was my responsibility and that it represented a sin against the person involved.
Wonderfully, God knows we are dust and His Word provides an excellent way to repair breaches. It is called making amends! To make amends means to put something right. In this case, I made amends by extending a sincere apology with a request for gracious forgiveness. My amends made it possible for the relationship to be restored.
It is a happy day when a breach is repaired, when a rough patch is smoothed and when fellowship is restored with a person I highly value!
Humility begins to repair,
Amends clear offending debris,
Forgiveness heals a relational breach
Between my friend and me!