One morning I delivered our daughter’s lunch to her fourth-grade classroom. After knocking on the door I heard the teacher approach, but she was speaking angrily and harshly to one of the children. When she saw me, she turned and said in a sweet and loving voice, “Tonya,* your mother is here to see you.”
Later that day I asked Tonya, “Who was the teacher speaking to when I came to the door?” Tonya said the teacher had been speaking to her. This was not the first time this teacher had been unkind to our daughter. What could I do, both to put an end to the verbal abuse and also to help the teacher? Here are 10 biblical suggestions for solving interpersonal problems:
Hebrews 4:16 and James 1:5 say we should begin with prayer and preparation.
Matthew 7:3-5 reminds us that the problem may be on our part. Perhaps Tonya had been irritating the teacher by her words or actions. In that case, I should also talk with Tonya to guide her into asking Jesus for help.
Galatians 6:1 advocates that we seek to restore the relationship in the spirit of gentleness. It also prompts us to consider our own feelings lest we become swayed into defending our child and our point of view.
Matthew 18:15 tells us to go personally to the individual involved. We should initiate the reconciliation process.
James 4:10 tells us to humble ourselves before God. We should also ask Him to make us humble when speaking to the other person.
Proverbs 15:1 reminds us that a soft answer turns away anger. Anything I say should be couched in kindness and a desire to restore relationships, not just to “win.”
Romans 14:19 advocates that we do all we can to become peacemakers.
2 Corinthians 13:11 tells us to be of “one mind” so that the end result can bring about an agreement between all parties.
1 Corinthians 12:25-27 advocates that we maintain unity, for without it everyone suffers.
* Not her real name