You have got to be joking!

Moved house recently?  It’s such a busy, stressful time, isn’t it? 

Preparation overdrive 

Last week our family relocated.  In the lead up to leaving our rental property, we cleaned vigorously.  Walls were scrubbed with sugar soap, cobwebs were swept away, cupboards were wiped down until they sparkled.  We were proud of our efforts and satisfied with the result.  In fact, we thought we had taken things a step further.

My dad has experience as a handyman.  He repainted a wall and replaced grout that had mould caught in it.  He had also repaired, at no cost to the owner, a handful of property faults during our four years at the home. 

Making the grade 

Inspection day arrived and we were disappointed to be asked to return, twice, to address minor issues.  The vent above the shower was dusty.  We had not noticed.  Dad returned with a vacuum cleaner.  Then a new cobweb was discovered.  We dealt with that.  Next it was above the stove.  “Greasy,” the agent said.  We took the grids home, soaked them in hot soapy water and returned them.  “Still a bit sticky,” was the feedback. 


Suddenly, I felt deflated.  Actually, angry.  Here we had gone above and beyond, yet still the agent was dissatisfied.  Didn’t we deserve praise and thanks, not criticism? 

Going deeper 

I was sobered watching Dad’s gentle spirit as I simmered with frustration.  “He’s just doing his job,” Dad reflected.  Slowly, I reconsidered my position.  A high achiever and a perfectionist, I thrive on affirmation.  The rental inspection was not an assessment of my value, yet I measured my worth by its outcome.   

We had embarked on the extra work, such as repainting, as a gift.  How had I suddenly decided we were ‘owed’ something for that, such as grace for our occasional oversight? 

Choosing the higher road 

Own your part in a conflict, Jesus teaches, before focusing on what the other person has done (see Matthew 7:3-6). 

It is easier, and more comfortable, to judge the other person’s role in a conflict.  The surprising thing is that when we take responsibility and apologise first, often this leads the other person to admit their part!  This opens the door for reconciliation. 

Tools for the tough stuff 

Are you stuck in a conflict?  Feeling frustrated and hard done by? Check out the peacemaking principles on the PeaceWise website. You just might turn things around.

This article was written by Tammy Brinsmead.

Tammy is a working single parent, who thrives on exercise (really!), cacao smoothies, page-turning novels and her Zoom Bible study group.  She writes in her spare time to encourage people in their faith.

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