Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 8, 2019
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19
Some time ago, I watched an online video of Billy Graham with Woody Allen. Graham was on Allen’s show in 1969, and the men discussed many different types of topics, including religion. It was clear that they stood on opposing sides of the faith fence.
But what was so refreshing is that Allen and Graham didn’t exchange one harsh word between them. Graham was gracious, and Allen also. A fight didn’t break out. Name calling did not ensue. They were amiable and sought to hear one another’s perspectives.
This is so different than what typically happens in today’s world. We are often so quick to want to be heard, but not so quick to want to listen. This ineffective way of handling conflict does not result in right living with God and often makes a big mess of our relationships.
Here are two mistakes people often make when seeking to solve a conflict or share differing opinions.
1. “I just tell it like it is. I don’t mince words.”
When relationships are difficult, misunderstandings have occurred, and we want to be heard, emotions can run high, so when we head into conflict, we may be ready to just let the other person “have it” and “tell it like it is.”
Having a prideful attitude which would cause you to rush into conflict, not pay attention to the other person’s mannerisms, words, or how they may feel, is unwise.
Proverbs 29:11 says, “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.”
Notice that a fool shows no restraint with their anger, but the wise person knows how to bring calm by listening well. They seek to understand before being understood.
2. “I’m afraid of saying how I really feel. I don’t want to make anyone mad.”
Solving conflict well also doesn’t mean you admit guilt when you shouldn’t, only try to make the other person feel good, or avoid difficult topics in an effort to smooth things over.
When I was young, I used to apologize for things that were not my fault in conflict in order to make peace. I saw myself as a victim and people made me afraid. The only way I felt that I could deal with conflict was to admit I was wrong—even if I wasn’t. But this is equally as unwise as telling the other person like it is and not humbling yourself. This doesn’t lead to peacemaking, but only keeping a false peace.
Wisdom lives in the middle, where you are both humble and courageous. You seek to understand the other person’s perspective, and you admit if you are wrong and seek forgiveness if needed. But you also know how to speak the truth in love at the right time.
“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (Romans 14:19).
Lord, please help me to humble myself in my relationships so you are glorified. Also help me to have courage when needed. Make me a wise peacemaker—not a peacemaker or a pot stirrer. Amen.
Do you need to seek to make peace with someone? Ask the Lord to give you a teachable and humble heart and then go to them.
Wisdom and humility know how to speak the truth in love at the right time. #WisdomHunters #conversations #Jesus
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