Restoring Relationships: Fix the Problem, not the Blame
By Rick Warren
“A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire” (Proverbs 15:1 The Message).
The fifth biblical step toward restoring a relationship is to attack the problem, not the person. You cannot fix the problem if you’re consumed with fixing the blame. You 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).
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 it 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 GNT).
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, we must destroy our arsenals 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 GNT).
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Talk It Over
What can you do instead of condemning, belittling, comparing, labeling, insulting, condescending, and being sarcastic?
How can you prepare yourself to give a soft answer before even starting a conversation?
What role do you think body language plays in fixing the problem and not the blame?
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When you’ve had all the “crazy” you can take…
Do you have a relationship that drives you crazy? Maybe it’s a spouse, sibling, parent, co-worker, or the crazy relative that really pushes your buttons.
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May it help you learn to love even the most difficult people in your life.
This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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