The third biblical step toward restoring a relationship is to sympathize with the other person’s feelings.
If you’re going to restore broken relations, you need to use your ears more than your mouth. Before attempting to solve any disagreement you must first listen to the other’s feelings. Paul advised,
“Look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own.” (Philippians 2:4 TEV)
The phrase “look out for” is the Greek word skopos, from which we form our words telescope and microscope. It means pay close attention! Focus on their feelings, not the facts. Begin with sympathy, not solutions.
Don’t try to talk people out of how they feel at first. Just listen and let them unload emotionally without being defensive. Nod that you understand even when you don’t agree. Feelings are not always true or logical. In fact, resentment makes us act and think in foolish ways. David admitted,
“When my thoughts were bitter and my feelings were hurt, I was as stupid as an animal.” (Psalm 73:21-22 TEV)
We all act beastly when hurt.
In contrast, the Bible says,
“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 NIV)
Listening says, “I value your opinion, I care about our relationship, and you matter to me.”
The cliche is true: People don’t care what we know until they know we care.
God’s Power to Keep Going
“I’m a mess. I’m nothing and have nothing; make something of me. You [God] can do it; you’ve got what it takes” (Psalm 40:17 The Message).
How can you be sure you’re going to finish the race of life? Because of God’s sustaining grace. God doesn’t want to just save you. He wants to sustain you through life. He wants you to make it.
What is sustaining grace?
Sustaining grace is the power to keep on going when you feel like giving up. It’s the power to do the right thing when you don’t feel like doing the right thing.
There are many pitfalls in the marathon race of life. But regardless of what you go through, no matter what you face this year, you can count on God’s sustaining grace.
“My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace” (1 Peter 5:12 NLT).