Have you ever walked through a divorce? Or, alongside someone who was navigating the loss of a marriage? One of the greatest challenges is in keeping your emotions in check when they are running high and wild. Tensions build and words can fly.
Taming the tongue ( Proverbs 10:19 ) can be a near impossibility.
In my experience, there is usually one person who seems to be a bit more contentious with the other – oftentimes the one who is left behind, but more frequently it seems to be the person who chose to leave. Needing further justification for their decision, people who walk away from relationships will often poke and bait the other in an attempt to get a negative response, which further justifies their animosity towards the person they once loved, and masks their personal feelings of guilt and shame…
….leaving the ones left behind in a wake of constant criticism and assault.
While certainly maddening, the best remedy is often to kill them with kindness. Such a response can certainly feel ill-fitting initially, and absolutely unfair in exchange, but the result, even if it doesn’t immediately diffuse the onslaught, brings peace to our souls and offers the other an environment in which to change. Or, to face their own shortcomings.
I have always taught my kids that regardless of what someone else does, we are responsible for our own response.
If you are in a difficult relationship or season, please be encouraged that to square off with hostility is to breed it – there is no end to the discord, only a deepening of wounds. As Christ-followers, we have the tools we need to maintain a position of love and kindness. And to trust that in season, we will reap what we sow.
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
For so you will heap coals of fire on his head,
And the Lord will reward you. Proverbs 25:21-23
Keep your head up, my friend. His grace is near.
Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to to ruin. Proverbs 13:3
Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel. Proverbs 20:15
teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth, so that you bring back truthful reports to those you serve… Proverbs 22:21
My inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right. Proverbs 23:16
Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them. Proverbs 29:20
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26