By Helen Lescheid
Scripture: “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…” (Ephesians 2:13,14).
“The hostility between my son and me is palpable. When I’m with him, I have to tread on egg shells. People say, ‘talk it out,’ but every time I try, I get an explosion. Talking it out is like beating egg whites: it only makes it bigger. So what can I do?”
To this mother I suggested a strategy that has worked for me: unconditional love coupled with persistent prayer. When my daughter and I had a falling out, I visualized Jesus in the middle putting one hand on my head and one hand on my daughter’s head. Then I prayed the following prayer based on the verses found in Ephesians 3:19, 20:
“Dear Jesus, strengthen my daughter (I’d name her) in her inner person. Give her the grace and the strength and the will to let go of hurts of the past. To let go of resentment and bitterness and preconceived ideas.
“Help her to open herself to Your love. May she grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love more fully so that she may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
“Lord Jesus, do the same for me. I want to love her unconditionally. Help us to forgive one another. Heal our relationship. You’re the Reconciler. You’re the Mediator. You’re the Healer of damaged emotions. I pray that my daughter and I will be friends again.”
After several years of praying this prayer and keeping the door of friendship open, the inevitable happened. The ice melted. Friendship was restored. We can now talk freely and openly again.
What much talking couldn’t do, Jesus did in answer to prayer.
Prayer: Dear God, I commit my children (name them) into Your hands. Bless them indeed. Keep evil far from them. May Your abiding love fill our hearts to overflowing.
Consider these questions: In your experience with conflict, have your attempts at “talking it out” ever made the problem bigger? Why is important to combine prayer with unconditional love? How can you show this kind of love to someone with whom your relationship is strained?
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Further reading: “Helping parents survive teenage rebellion” http://christianwomentoday.com/parenting/rebellion.html
About the author: http://www.talk.thelife.com/authors/helen-lescheid/