A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city,
and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
The closer a relationship the deeper an offense is felt. It may or may not be easier to offend a brother, but when he is offended the wound goes deep, as is the witness of many, many family divisions. The offense only goes deeper and the brother more unyielding when the offender tries to argue his case which ends up in quarreling.
How to break through the city wall and the castle bars? Here are practical steps to take: First, listen. Take the time to hear out the offended brother. Ask good questions that help you understand what he is saying and how and why he feels the way he does. Don’t be satisfied until you are able to articulate to his satisfaction his side and feelings.
That’s about it. You will be amazed at how easily your brother’s defense system comes down when he believes you really understand him. Because he is your brother (or sister), he wants resolution and reconciliation. But he cannot bring down his defenses until he knows you understand him and that you will not attack once he brings them down.
It sounds too simple, but you will be surprised at how effective it is. The reason? You are having to put down your attack weapons and your own defenses in order to listen well. You are having to make changes in yourself. And the best chance of our brother making the changes we think he needs to make is when he sees us making our own for his sake.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2023 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org