Today's focus is on how we handle the inevitable conflicts that are a part of our personal relationships with other people. The kind of communication that takes place in the middle of our conflicts has an awful lot to do with the longevity of our relationships. Earlier in the week we talked about the "throw away" world we live in and the devastating impact this has on relationships. Whether we realize it or not, poor communication in our relationships during times of conflict is a manifestation of a "throw away" orientation to life. Consistent poor communication in times of conflict reflects a lack of commitment to getting the relationship right. Whether we realize it or not, if we are not working at getting a relationship right, we are in the process of "throwing it away."
Our Proverbs 12 passage from earlier in the week gives us several fitting lines that help us see our need for this kind of commitment: "A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted .... Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing .... Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace!" The person who lacks a commitment to getting communication right in times of conflict in their relationships, will very likely be one who is quick-tempered, makes cutting remarks, and plotts evil (retaliation). The committed person is one who is planning on peace and seeks to stays calm when insulted and use words that bring healing.
Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything. Proverbs 13:3
Now that says it well, doesn't it? Controlling the tongue is the key to a lifetime of solid, long-term relationships. If we have problems controlling our tongues in the middle of our conflicts, it is almost a sure thing that we will have problems controlling our tongues in regard to what we have to say to others about the relationships in which we are experiencing conflict. The Proverbs that follow speak very well to the issue of gossip and the additional destructive impact it has on our relationships.
The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips. Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart .... The first to speak in court sounds right-until the cross-examination begins .... An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. Proverbs 18:7-8, 17, 19
When arguing with your neighbor, don’t betray another person’s secret. Others may accuse you of gossip, and you will never regain your good reputation. Proverbs 25:9-10
A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence. Proverbs 11:13
We have a lot to think about today. Keep in mind that when we are in the book of Proverbs truth comes to us primarily in the form of principles that need to be applied to our lives. But realize this: the inherent danger of having principles to apply to life, is approaching them in a self-help kind of way. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understandings. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and 'he will make' your paths straight."
Put together a prayer response to God for yourself and remember to incorporate our theme response for the series "Lord, I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments."
Posted on Fri, September 18, 2015
by Alan Porter