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Case Study #2 - Birthday Tug-of-War

Imagine that you receive the following email (or letter or phone message) from a Christian friend.

I've been dragged into a conflict with my brother and sister over what to give Mom for her birthday. Ever since Dad died, my brother, Ben, has been pushing us to get Mom a puppy to keep her company. Our sister, Susan, doesn't like pets, so she keeps arguing that a dog will just make a mess and keep Mom from getting out to see friends or traveling to visit relatives.

Since Mom's birthday is coming up, Ben called me last week to get my support for buying the puppy. While we were talking about Susan I made a couple of comments about her controlling nature and how she always got her way when we were kids. I should have known better! When Ben talked to Sue the next day, he told her what I said about her to strengthen his case for getting the dog.

This morning while I was in the shower she called and left a message on my answering machine. She is so angry that I'm afraid to call her back. I'd like to just pretend I didn't get her message and stay clear of her for a couple weeks, but I'm afraid she'll just show up at my door and let me have it. What do you think I should do?

Remember that Susan isn't a Christian, so we don't have any common ground to deal with these kinds of problems. I just don't know what to do!

Although you would normally try to talk in person or by phone about such a delicate issue, your schedule won't allow that in this case. So you decide to mail your friend a copy of the Peacemaker Brochure, along with a personal letter explaining how he (or she) might apply the basic principles of peacemaking in this situation. What would you write? (Assume that your friend is the type of person who would appreciate as much detailed advice as you can possibly provide, so suggest specific wording on how to confess, correct, forgive, or negotiate.)

After writing out your own response to your friend, click here to read our sample detailed response.


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