Tackle the Tangles

Tackle the Tangles

Posted by Regi Campbell on March 22, 2018

My post last week, “What’s Unpacked Sometimes Unravels,” was the most unnatural thing I’ve ever written. I know it was wise, but so unlike me. I struggle to leave anything alone; I’m the world’s worst at leaving things unpacked. I want to set it straight and get it over with, so I can move on cleanly. But I do believe there are situations where that’s not the wise thing to do.

When issues get unpacked, it’s the relationships that can unravel. Facts and feelings get all tangled up, sort of like the spinning reel I once used to fish. You look at the mess . . . the tangles and the knots and you just want to walk away. These tangled up messes create anxiety . . . raw spots that hurt every time they’re touched.

There are two ways to tackle the tangle. If it’s just you that’s all ‘balled-up’ . . . if you’re the one unraveling, then taking your thoughts and feelings to the Lord and renewing your mind may be the answer. Realizing God has forgiven us already empowers us to forgive ourselves. Picture that tangled up mess of fishing line. Sometimes the best thing is to cut off the balled-up mess and throw it away. Reconnect the pieces with a strong knot and go back to fishing. Seeing that tangled mess in the trash is freeing. That’s grace!

But it’s harder when there are two people involved. If healing is going to come . . . if you’re going to get back to fishing, you have to untangle the mess. Event by event, decision by decision, we have to sit down and take the time to straighten out the mess . . . to make apologies and reconsider things we thought were facts. Frank conversations and real change may be necessary. And patience . . . oh, patience! It takes a lot of patience and a lot of time to untangle a mess. It’s ironic how things can get tangled so quickly but take so long to untangle.

We can’t talk our way out of what we behave our way into. We have to act. When, in humility, we take ownership of our messes and do the hard work of making things right, we lay a foundation built to carry the weight of future mistakes. When we hold onto our pride, burying things and pretending they’re fixed, we set ourselves up for future failure.

Scripture: Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (James 5:16)

Mentor Tip: Men in your group may get convicted and want to go home and confess their sins to their wives. All of them. Caution your guys about dumping their past messes on their wives, no matter how well intended. Ask God to give them wisdom that exceeds courage.

Comment here.

Responses (1)

Chuck Posted: March 22, 2018, 11:08 am

I know you have a small space to tackle some very difficult subjects, but maybe a second or even a third message is needed for this subject. The last paragraph says we “have to act”, “in humility take ownership” but your mentor tip you say “caution your guys about dumping on their wives”. I get that, but many men and many mentors might just take that as a “get out of jail” card and never share with their wives, so they stuff it and are never really genuine with their wives (is that taking “ownership”?) I know, you state ask God for “wisdom”, which is absolutely key, but I believe this is where mentoring takes on a whole new level, “extreme radical mentoring”. Where the mentee and mentor are on their knees before the Lord (together), not just once a month but weekly until the Holy Spirit is heard. I get it, dumping can be disastrous, so there has to be a plan, God’s plan for revealing the truth…but hiding things, stuffing things might be just as bad for the man and their relationships with their wives (especially if they feel “convicted”). Sorry, I just think this needs more of your input, more of your experiences and more focus than what this small space allowed…your thoughts

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