Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mending Fences

This week I had someone who wanted to "mend a fence" with me over a situation. However, the way they chose to go about it was to just ignore that there was a problem and pretend like everything was fine. In small offenses, sometimes, I am willing to overlook things and just move on without sifting through the past. But, when it's something big, it's a different story.

I've had this picture in my mind regarding certain situations where the floorboards of a house have been broken, attacked by termites, or have become rotten and unstable. In those situations, the home owner would be foolish to merely try to fix what was left. It's important to remove the broken and decayed pieces before rebuilding the foundation.

The same is true in a relationship when things happen that shake or damage the foundation. It's important to address the problem, remove the decay, and begin afresh. In some cases, it may be as simple as saying "I'm sorry", or maybe the situation calls for restitution to be made. But, there is some amount of work that needs to be done if the relationship is going to be healthy.

I've been experiencing that in another relationship lately where much care has been taken to find out how we wound up at odds and how we can avoid it in the future. Humility has been shown from both sides and responsibility has been taken where appropriate. And, grace has been found in a beautiful measure. It's been hard to be honest with my mistakes, but I know that I can speak openly before this friend and be forgiven just as I myself have been forgiving. It's a really beautiful thing.

The best thing about it is that I know the rotten, decaying and broken wood that had found it's way in has been removed and destroyed and replaced with something clean, fresh and beautiful. The foundation has been repaired and a healthy relationship now exists based on truth and respect.

So, my questions for you are:

1. Can fences be mended without addressing how they were broken in the first place? Is that always important?

2. Are there times it is ok to just overlook an offense and move forward as if nothing is wrong?

I'd love to hear any thoughts on this as it's what I'm currently processing for myself!