I have a house that is constantly filled with little people these days. They are growing, and learning, and stretching their boundaries, and playing as hard as they can, and working out issues together… well, to be honest… we are still working on working through issues together well.
We have been trying to use a concept that John Jenkins, Pastor at First Baptist Church of Glenarden, suggested in a short video in which he shared the way that his church has discussed conflict in the past. If you have time to listen to a short video, I commend it to you here, but if not… just keep reading I have a short synopsis down below!
The 3 steps that Pastor John suggests create the acronym SBI: Situation, Behavior, and Impact.
Situation is all about bringing a specific moment in history, within the context of all the other stuff that was happening, that brought up the conflict. When I say, “you always act in such and such a way…” that doesn’t fly! A specific situation gives the other person with whom you have a conflict the opportunity to ask for forgiveness for that moment and to change the way they act in the future!
Behavior is all about focusing on what happened, instead of focusing on the motive behind the behavior. Sometimes the best of intentions can still harm another person! (Oh, how I have learned this one in my life!) Assuming the best about the other person, and simply pointing out behaviors that have led to a conflict allow the other person to ask for forgiveness for that behavior and to change the way they act in the future!
Impact is all about focusing on how the behavior impacted you and your feelings. If you felt disrespected, saying, “I felt unloved,” is very different from, “You were unloving toward me.” My feelings, your feelings, everyone’s feelings are valid, no matter how illogical they may be! Sharing how another person’s behavior in a specific situation impacted your feelings, allows the other person to ask for forgiveness for the way that their behavior impacted you and to change the way they act in the future!
SBI (a little like FBI, only not so much). Using these three tools puts our family in a place where we can try to communicate all kinds of ideas and fail horribly without fear that relationships will be irreparable! The mercy of God is not too small that it won’t cover over every single time we miss the mark; can we join with God and be people of mercy who practice forgiving each other and asking for forgiveness when conflict arises between us?