3 Steps to Relieving Relational Tension

Sadly, we sometimes find ourselves in situations laden with relational tension. This can even happen in a church small group. Sometimes, you may be called upon to help two different people work through their differences, or you may need to work through a disagreement with someone else. Remember, the LOVE of Christ should always drive us, but here are three helpful reminders for working through relational tension.

1. Don't ASSUME you know the whole story. Be open to learning something that might change your opinion about a situation or a person. Be a good listener.

2. Don't ASSIGN evil motives to someone else. It's good to talk about what you have observed and how you feel, but be careful not to judge another person's motives. They may have accidentally offended you, even though they had the best intentions.

3. Don't ABSOLVE yourself of guilt. Most relational breakdowns have more than one contributor. While you may not share equal blame, be open to hearing what fault you may carry... and be willing to make it right!

And in all this, don't forget Paul's words to the Philippians:
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.