USA (MNN) — Between Christmas shopping and planning get-togethers with family and friends, it’s safe to say we are in the thick of the holiday season.
Although it’s known as the most wonderful time of the year, Ron Hutchcraft with Ron Hutchcraft Ministries says, “Sometimes it’s the most wounded time of the year because it really surfaces broken relationships and walls between people where there should be bridges.”
If you find yourself dreading family gatherings at Christmastime because of past hurts, this may actually be the best time of the year to find reconciliation.
And if the person you need to reconcile with doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus, this may also be the best time to share the hope you have in Him.
“If I’m the one who knows Christ in this relationship, I need to take advantage of the holiday season,” Hutchcraft says. “Hearts are softer during that time. It’s more natural to bring up Jesus during the Christmas season than any other time of the year.”
So here are a few tips from Hutchcraft on how to rebuild relational bridges this Christmas:
Don’t Try To Win An Argument
When you go into a conversation with someone about Jesus – especially a friend or family member – Hutchcraft advises not making the conversation about winning a debate.
“This is about winning their heart. Too often we may have tried to win an argument over spiritual things or even politics with somebody. My job is [to ask,] ‘What can I do to win their heart? Not win the argument about Jesus or about anything else.’”
Make It About You And Jesus
Next, Hutchcraft says, talk about your own relationship with Jesus.
“Paul said when he came to Corinth, ‘I didn’t know anything except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.’ Please stick to Jesus. Do not get into religion — their religion, your religion. Not the issue. Don’t get into their behavior, their lifestyle. That’s not the issue. The issue is Jesus loved them enough to go to a cross for them.
“You wrap Jesus’s story in your own hope story and when you put His story into your story, it may change their story forever.”
Write A Letter
Finally, maybe a face-to-face conversation isn’t the best approach for your situation. In that case, Hutchcraft suggests writing a letter to share your heart and build a bridge to the other person’s heart.
“When we try to say things, we get diverted by what they say. We never really get it done. And they’re thinking of what they’re going to answer you with,” he says.
“Whereas you put it into a letter and it’s something they may keep and read and re-read. You might even put in there that you would love it if you could later talk about what you have written.”
Hutchcraft suggests four themes to serve as inspiration for your letter:
- I love you. – “Elaborate on that. Maybe you have for a long time, and maybe you haven’t done the greatest job of showing it, if you do really love them.”
- Thank you for…. – “Think back over some time in your life when they did something to help you, things that have meant a lot to you, qualities you appreciate about them, experiences that you’ve had together maybe a long time ago. But reminisce about some of those experiences and how that’s a special part of who you are today.”
- I’m sorry for…. – Hutchcraft suggests to include “if there’s anything you wish you had done less of or more of or differently. This isn’t about things they’ve done wrong. This is only about where you are trying to make right some things that maybe have made it impossible to win their heart.”
- I wish we could…. – “I don’t know how many years either you or I have left, but here’s how I wish our relationship could be. Maybe not build it all on the past where we’ve had this brokenness. But can we declare a new beginning? I’d love it if we could start here and have a strong relationship for the rest of our years.”
Let’s make this Christmas season one of healing and love, whether that means finding unity with a fellow believer in Christ or finding reconciliation with a loved one as a chance to share Jesus.
Header photo courtesy of Fred Kearney via Unsplash.