Restoring Relationships: Confront the Problem, Not the Person
By Rick Warren
— February 25, 2009
“A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire” (Proverbs 15:1, Msg).
The fifth biblical step toward restoring a relationship is to attack the problem, not the person. You cannot solve the problem if you're consumed with pinning the blame. You must set your bitterness aside in order to mend your friendship.
You will never get your point across by being cross, so choose your words wisely. A soft answer is always better than a sarcastic one.
In resolving conflict, how you say something is as important as what you say. If you say it offensively, it will be received defensively. God tells us, "A wise, mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is" (Proverbs 16:21 TEV).
Nagging never works. You are never persuasive when you're abrasive.
During the Cold War, both sides agreed that some weapons were so destructive they should never be used. For the sake of fellowship, you must destroy your arsenal of relational nuclear weapons, including condemning, belittling, comparing, labeling, insulting, condescending, and being sarcastic.
Paul sums 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 TEV).
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