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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Learning to Fix the Problem and Not the Blame

In review of Proverbs 15:1 it says, “A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire” (The Message).

Bottom Line:
A gentle response will have much better results than a harsh one.

What this means to me:
How I respond when I’m backed up against a wall is important. A gentle and calm response will help to defuse anger. Harsh and sharp tone on my part will only foster and make tempers flare.

Proverbs 15:1-2 explains how a gentle answer will deflect anger, but harsh words will only make tempers flare. The tongue of the wise person makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.

It is hard to argue in a whisper. It is equally hard to argue with someone who insists on answering softly or gently. On the other hand, a rising voice and harsh words almost always trigger an angry response. To turn away wrath and seek peace, I can choose quiet and gentle words when I respond.

It’s important in restoring a relationship to attack the problem, not the person. I cannot fix the problem if I’m consumed with fixing the blame. I must choose between the two. The Bible says, “A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire” (Proverbs 15:1 The Message).

I’ll never get my point across by being cross, so I need to choose my words wisely. A soft answer is always better than a sarcastic one.

In resolving conflict, how I say it is as important as what I say. If I say it offensively, it will be received defensively. God tells me, “A wise, mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is” (Proverbs 16:21 GNT).

Nagging will never work. I’ll never be persuasive when I’m abrasive.

During the Cold War, both sides agreed that some weapons were so destructive they should never be used. For the sake of fellowship, I must destroy my arsenal of relational nuclear weapons, including condemning, belittling, comparing, labeling, insulting, condescending, and being sarcastic.

Paul summed it up this way: “Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you” (Ephesians 4:29 GNT).

This is a great and timely reminder for me, especially as I have been feeling dumped on and against the wall. Instead of lashing out harshly in response to my conditions, I need to have an attitude of gentleness and helpfulness.