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2014 Northland Sharpening Iron Men's Ministry Workshop January 18, 2014

January 2014 Workshop

The 2014 Northland Sharpening Iron Workshop, Operation Nehemiah for Men: Rebuilding Broken Relationships   was held Saturday morning, January 18 at Clyde Iron Restaurant in Duluth. The messages focused on rebuilding and healing relationships with those closest to you. Speakers were Scott Michaels, from KDNW, Bill Teten with the Navigators and Dave Hall, area counselor.  We had about 90 guys show up and there were a lot of very positive comments about the workshop.  Many thanks to the speakers and to the guys who were able to make it on a cold January morning !!

I had a handout for the workshop that I had put together on how Nehemiah himself, might handle rebuilding broken relationships based on how he rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.  That handout is below .

Operation Nehemiah for Men: Rebuilding Broken Relationships

  • Your Wife: Love her as Christ Loves the church. What does this all mean? Your wife is your first priority to love, protect, be faithful to and to speak excellent words of Grace to.

  • Your Parents: Honor your Father and Mother, in person and in your memories.

  • Your Siblings: What does it mean to have sisters and brothers. Do we have their back too?

  • Your Kids: How can you damage your parent/child relationships with anger, abuse, neglect, excessive permissiveness? How can the damage be redeemed with adult children and with younger children?

  • God: Did you have a relationship with God that at one time was beautiful and complete, but it now seems broken, or not what it once was? The Prodigal Son story shows us the kind of Loving God we have, Who looks for our return to Him.

  • Neighbors, co-workers, and other people we encounter often, (or infrequently) during our daily lives.

Of course, all of our life and relationships should be built on the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ, so that He is the starting and ending point, the foundation of all our relationships. I Cor. 3:11. In my view, not all relationships are necessarily God Ordained and God Honoring.

Repentance is an understanding of our sin and our part in the problem with the broken relationship, and a desire to ask forgiveness and to change our attitudes and actions to be inline with how God wants us to feel, act, change, ask for forgiveness and to live in active forgiveness toward the other person.

In all occasions, we need to forgive and live in forgiveness. But some relationships may be somewhat or very harmful and should not be continued in the same manner as it was before the brokenness; but the rebuilding process should be as complete and healthy as possible. And some relationships with friends can be for a season and were valuable in their time, or other relationships wax and wan through no particular problems.

Nehemiah was a wonderful example of a Man of God who encountered problems and worked diligently for years on the solution. As you remember, he heard about the broken walls of Jerusalem and proceeded to take on an Epic Adventure restoring the walls, and restoring the protection that it provided. He also helped restore the city to an understanding of righteousness.

The analogy shown below is probably a big stretch, but if Nehemiah was challenged to consider how to take on the task of “Rebuilding Broken Relationships”, God appointed relationships, relationships that should rebuilt and restored; here are the same basic stages, steps, and processes that he used to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. See if this is how he might go about it !!! (Read Nehemiah and see if the steps below are similar to the ones he took.)

The Nehemiah Process

Recognize that a Problem Exists:

  • It may be a broken relationship between you and someone you know or love, or between two other persons who are a God ordained part of your life.

  • If the brokenness is between two other persons, be realistic, wise and objective whether you are responsible to be part of the Relationship Rebuilding Process, or would it be harmful if you were to intrude.

  • Be in prayer about your part in the rebuilding process. How did you contribute to the brokenness, are there issues of lack of forgiveness, lack of repentance, are there other persons involved in the whole situation.

  • It seems that there are four basic scenarios, 1) both parties are non-repentant and non-forgiving, and uninterested in restoration, 2) one party is repentant (yet primarily to blame for the brokenness) and is seeking restoration, and the other one is non-forgiving and uninterested in restoration, 3) one party is forgiving and seeking restoration, and the other one is non-repentant (and primarily to blame for the brokenness) yet is non-forgiving and uninterested in restoration 4) both parties are repentant, no matter who is at fault, both forgiving and both seeking restoration.

  • Number 1) and 3) are generally the most difficult to resolve.

Prepare for Rebuilding the Relationship:

  • Be in prayer asking for God's wisdom, intervention and healing power.

  • Be repentant for your part in the brokenness, no matter how small or large.

  • Have a continually forgiving attitude, but still live safely and wisely. Don't subject yourself to harm or abuse.

  • Lay up wise counsel, wisdom, knowledge, and the encouraging support of others.

  • Develop a new Godly response to the other party.

  • Be a student of the person with whom you are seeking to rebuild your relationship with.

Accurately Assess the Level of Destruction:

  • Work towards a clear level of understanding of the problem.

  • Attempt to accomplish this assessment privately, at a time with no overt contention. Listen carefully without interruption.

Start Work on Reconstruction:

  • Start work on all the breaches. Try not to leave unresolved areas of your relationship.

  • Get all important parties involved.

  • Work side by side.

  • Expect the work to be hard, very hard.

  • Build up by Grace filled words, and acts of love. Ephesians 4:29

  • Hear, value and honor the other persons view point and woundedness.

Expect Opposition:

  • The primary parties or other parties may not want the breach to be filled.

  • Unforgiveness on your part or on the others part may not come easily.

  • Repentance on your part or on the others part may not come easily.

  • Woundedness may be deep and pop up at unexpected times.

  • Sandballet and Tobiah opposed the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. Sometimes other friends or relatives may not support restoration of the relationship.

  • You may suffer from ridicule and tiredness, even from you own emotions.

Expect Warfare:

  • Sandballet is a type of Satan. The devil will oppose your rebuilding of God appointed relationships. John 10:10 “the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy...”

  • There will be a temptation to quit.

  • Satan does not want victory for us, only for him.

  • The Israelites were armed with tools and weapons. We need to be also.

  • Put on the Whole Armor of God. Ephesians 6:11

  • Expect a miracle, the whole power of God is on the side seeking to restore God appointed relationships. John 10:10 “....but I (Jesus) am come to bring you life and more abundantly, life to the full”.

  • Be in prayer, forgiveness and repentance.

Dedicate the Rebuilt Relationship to God:

  • This is a commitment to God and to the person(s) with whom you share the rebuilt relationship.

  • It may be a verbal commitment to the other person and yourself. It may even be a commitment in a more public setting.

Guard the Rebuilt Relationship over the years with God's power and commitment to Him:

  • This includes a frequent re-commitment and renewal of the restoration.

  • It includes an ongoing monitoring as to how well you are doing in repentance (turning away from the sin) and how well you are living in forgiveness.

  • Some times, forgiving the sin “seventy times seven times” is actually a “re-forgiving”, of the original sin, at times when the memories and anger from the past comes flooding back, or when new woundedness occurs from that same person. Matt.18:22

In Christ, Ted