Reflection by Scott Stoner
It may be that we avoid the difficult conversations that can lead to forgiveness because we don’t know how to have them. Maybe we have tried to have the discussions, but they have not gone well. The above saying, a core teaching in our Living Compass Parent Wellness Circle program, provides a shorthand guide for how to have productive conversations.
Say what you mean. When we are seeking healing in a relationship, it is crucial for us to speak the “truth in love.” Avoiding or minimizing what we are feeling may buy peace in the short term, but will block healing in the long run. It is vitally important for both parties to speak their truth, to say what it is they need to say to each other.
Mean what you say. It is essential to be consistent in our words and our actions when we speak to one another. If we say we are going to commit to healing a relationship, then we need to be sure our actions align with that commitment. Reestablishing trust in a relationship requires that our words and actions align.
Don’t say it mean. When we have been hurt and are feeling vulnerable and defensive, we are more likely to speak in a way that is mean, intended to hurt the other. This will sabotage any attempt we make to forgive and heal. The paradox is that sometimes we think that “saying it mean” will increase our chances of really being heard, when in reality it will have the opposite effect.
Making It Personal: In general, which of the three recommendations do you find hardest to practice when having difficult conversations: “say what you mean,” “mean what you say,” or, “don’t say it mean”? When you find that you have “said it mean” to someone close to you, are you able to apologize and ask for forgiveness?
Follow along with us this Lent season with our daily devotional and engage in discussion in our closed facebook group moderated by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner & The Rev. Jan Kwiatowski.
In this group, participants will have a chance to share their responses to the prompts in the daily readings, and also the chance to receive additional material for reflection.