Are You in a Relationship Standoff?

Have you seen the insta-famous black car vs. silver car standoff?  Last week, a black car in Los Angeles drove past a parking spot to parallel park.  As he (or she?) put it in reverse, a silver car tried to pull in the spot from behind.  It was on! 

The black car waited for the silver car to move; the silver car waited for the black car to move.  Neither moved.  The standoff started at 6:30 p.m. and they sat there for — are you ready? — an hour!  Horns were blaring from angry passers-by.  The standoff was holding up traffic!  

It finally ended when a third vehicle, the one parked in front of the empty spot they were fighting over, moved.  They both pulled in and — stayed in their cars for another 20 minutes!  No one wanted to get out, maybe for fear of shooting the other person or fear the other person might shoot them, who knows?  

A woman got the whole thing on camera and posted it to Twitter.  You can find the story here:  https://wnep.com/2019/04/04/woman-hilariously-documents-hourlong-parallel-parking-standoff-in-los-angeles/

The word the Twitter poster used to describe the situation was “petty.”  I think we can all agree!  It’s just not worth an hour-long standoff for a parking space! 

Of course, this wasn’t about a parking space at all.  It was about pride. 

They both thought they were right and didn’t want to give the other driver the satisfaction of thinking they won. 

Have you ever seen, or been a part of, a relationship standoff?  You find yourself at odds with a friend, family member, or brother or sister in Christ, but you’re convinced it’s their fault.  They should be apologizing to you!  The problem is, they aren’t budging! 

They’re convinced it’s your fault and you should be apologizing to them!  So you both just sit there, not for an hour, but for days, weeks, months, even years! 

How petty!  Just move already!  When we find ourselves in that situation, we’re holding up traffic in our life!  God is honking at us to swallow our pride, make the first move, and give up the spot (of being right) for the sake of peace and reconciliation.  

“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”  (Matthew 5:23-24)

Jesus said, “Go!  Make the first move!”  When we know things aren’t right between us and another person because of our sin, we need to go quickly.  Don’t even worship God until you go. 

If we’re in a relationship standoff waiting for the other person to make a move, what’s the point of taking the Lord’s supper, singing, and praying in worship?  Jesus says it’s useless until we move.  Our pride holds up the traffic of worship.  

In the next verse, Jesus tells us to “Make friends quickly with our opponent” because the longer we cling to our pride, the worse things get for us.  

On the other side, if someone has wronged us, Jesus doesn’t say to sit there in a standoff until the other person apologizes.  He doesn’t say to avoid them, to give them the cold shoulder, or to seethe in anger and resentment.  He tells us to make the first move. 

1) If it’s something petty, just forgive and let it go.  

“A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.” (Proverbs 19:11)   

2) If it’s something serious, we lovingly confront with the goal of reconciliation.

“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.” (Matthew 18:15)

In Christ, the question isn’t, “How long can I hold my spot without moving?” 

It’s, “How quickly can I give up my spot for the sake of peace and reconciliation?

Are you still waiting for the other car to move?

If so, it’s time to go.   

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