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Sermon Summary

21st March 2010 Speaker: Keith Harrington

Conflict Pt 3 How to have those tough conversations

A workmate has borrowed $200 dollars off you. They promised to repay you on the next pay day, but now a month has gone
by and they have not done or said anything. Meantime you are getting angry about it. You need to have a tough
conversation

You have noticed a friend has been drinking more of late. You suspect they have an alcohol problem but you are scared to
confront them. Last time you said something, they got really angry. You need to have a tough conversation.

Your mother in law has been interfering. She has helped you get your first house. But she has been giving unwanted advice.
You worry about confronting her because of her generosity but your marriage is suffering. You need to have a tough
conversation

Your boss has been making remarks in front of others that you have found demeaning. He is always micro managing you
and never trusts you with any responsibility, despite you being there longer than most others. You don’t want to lose your
job or make matters worse. You need to have a tough conversation.

A friend of yours has been broken a confidence you shared with her. The information has now spread around your circle of
friends and they seem to be treating you differently. You suspect they have a distorted version of the facts. You feel
embarrassed, betrayed and angry. You need to have a tough conversation

The sexual intimacy with your spouse has been poor for the last few months. Last time you bought the matter up, you
ended up having a row, and they did not speak to you for a week. You need to have a tough conversation.

Your ex spouse has rung up numerous times over the last months, claiming things had come up at work, and that they were
unable to care for the children at the agreed times. To keep the peace you have looked after the children, You are
increasingly angry about the matter. You need to have a tough conversation

Your 16 yr old teenage daughter has come home later than expected and drunk. Things have been strained for a while
now, and she is threatening to leave if you curb her style. You need to have a tough conversation.

These are but a few example of tough conversations. In many of them the stakes are high. There are strong emotions
involved. There are serious consequences as a result of the conversation. Jobs and careers are at risk. Marriages are at
stake. Friendships can fall apart. Goals and performance targets are affected. Ramifications of these conversations might
reverberate for week, month, years, There can be high stakes involved with tough conversations. Even with lower level
tough conversations, there is still stuff at risk. Not many people like having such tough conversations. We find them
stressful. We find ourselves lying awake at night, rehearsing them. They get our stomach churned up and our blood
pressure rising. We find our mouth going dry at the thought of them.

We find excuses to put off having them


I might offend the person It would not be the loving thing to do.
I’ll wait a while and it might just blow over I just can’t do it. I can’t face the person
I’m scared they will blow up at me It’s not my style
I’ll just let God sort it out

So the first thing to ask ourselves is. Why should be have these conversations at all? If it is difficult and causes us so much
stress, why have them at all? Why not just avoid these tough conversations altogether.

1. God tells us to have them


When we have done something wrong. Matthew 5:23-24
That’s tough. But it takes priority over worship

If someone has done something to offend you. Matthew 18: 15-16


That’s tough. We are the victim. They should come to us. But Being mistreated does not give you the right to hang on to
the offence. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Don’t need to talk to the person every time they do something wrong. love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

Speak the truth in love. Ephesians 4:15


If I am offended by someone (and the sin might not even be to me, but to someone else but it has still offended me) then
the relationship is not based on truth unless we deal with it.

If you ring me up, and pressure me to go to home group, but I don’t really want to go, but I don’t want to offend you, and go
wishing I had never said yes, resenting it, then not truthful relationship. Truth would be say. I am sorry I don’t wish to go
to home group tonight,

2. It builds true relationship - and unity


If relationship is not built on truth, then it is not really a true relationship. If I am unable to share things of concern with
you, if I can’t speak freely then it is superficial to say the least. Relationships are strengthened not weakened by tough
conversations. Unity is forged out of such conversations. Is 29:13 is an example of a relationship not built on truth and
God displeased.

3. It deals with the trap of offense. John Bevere. The bait of Satan
Matthew 24:10-12 Talks about in end times many will be offended wit one another hate one another. NKJ. Context
persecution but can still see the truth today in our churches. False prophets thrive among those who have been offended.
People . Often leave the church rather than deal with the offense. Heb 12:14 very relevant.

4. It’s better for our long term health, our organizations and our communities.
Given that tough conversations can stress us, dispute this. Alternative is that we bottle up the emotions, avoid
conversations. Study showed lowed immune system, even to the extent of our ability to recover from life threatening
illnesses. Growing evidence Failed conversations, poor communications affect our health. Affects our community. Half of
those in prison violent crime first time offenders, committed crime against someone they know. Friend or family member.
Study 500 top performing companies. One keys to their success was not performance management systems, but their ability
to have tough conversations at all levels. Everyone kept everyone accountable Down the chain, up the chain as well.

How do we go about having such conversations.


An alternative to avoiding them is to have them but handle them badly. Reality is that they can come up at times don’t
expect it, when emotions are high, under stress, just don’t know how to have the conversation and where to start.

Humility. I Peter 5:5


This includes examining ourselves first. Might have to seek forgiveness for our actions. We are not perfect. We might not
have all the facts. We might have contributed to the issue.
Listen: James 1:19
It might well be that we simply have not understood where the other person is coming from. Different values at work need
to understand. Miscommunication. Might be that we have played a key role in the issue but we are unaware of it.

Speak truth in love. Aim has to be Build the other person up. Not to win. Not to pull them apart. Make them feel lousy.
Get revenge. Vent our emotions. Other persons good. Truth without love is a weapon. Very destructive. See this
among Christians. Where passionately convinced they know truth about some matter. Convert everyone else to their
doctrine. Angry if others disagree. Accusing them of liberal, backslidden.
Go in private. Reality is that we often don’t do this. It’s much easier to complain to someone else. Share the offence
with someone else. But what does that do? Doesn’t deal with the issue. Issue is between us and someone else. Colored
our friends view of the person we need to talk to. It changes their perception, hinders their ability to relate.
Pray: Pray for our enemies. Matthew 5:44-46 Pray for courage. Bathe the matter in prayer.

Group Discussion Questions

Do you tend to avoid tough conversations? What’s one you put off? What impact did it have?

What are some examples of tough conversations you have had in the past? How did they go?

Have you been on the receiving end of tough conversations? How did you receive them? What attitude did the
person approach you with?

What impact of telling others rather than go the person who has offended you, have you seen?

Why is offence between believers described as “the bait of Satan”?

What difference does it make to pray for your enemies?


What do we need to do to ensure we face rather than avoid tough conversations?