By Dr. James A. Perkins
When one takes the position to prepare for sword fighting, the fencer says, “en garde.” Have you ever noticed that relationships, especially in family, may include times in life when it seems like a sword fight between you and another? Now if you are tired of feeling like there are way too many “en garde” moments in your life, then consider these 3 Ways To Win In Challenging Family Relationships.
W – Watch Being Drawn Into A Conflict. Listen, family living can at times feel like walking on egg shells or land minds. Wise people learn by trial and error that it’s best to be guarded against a battling with others. You know the feeling, when you try to be nice and someone misunderstands your motive. And before you know it, the person rises as your adversary, “draws swords”, and battles with you. Suddenly you’re in a full-scale collision that you never intended nor wanted. So be super-sensitive in order to not be drawn into conflict.
I – Inner Illumination. Being on guard against negative clashes in family requires learning to live with inner illumination. Inside you is the capacity to gain light on how to ready yourself, when another comes with an “en garde” posture and tries to fight with you. Spend time seeking to gain inner wisdom about being more patient, kind, and gracious. The goal is, “not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead” (1 Peter 3:9).
N – Nearer To Jesus Makes You Nicer Before Others. You know, it takes a lot of guts and courage to live like Jesus. Yet if you keep drawing nearer to Him, He gives you the desire and power to be nice to those who try to lure you into a conflicting, “en garde” situation. So learn how Jesus did it, and let Him be Himself in You. Here’s His approach: “While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). And be sure that you may respond just like Jesus, when you keep drawing nearer to Him.