spirited conversation – that which I use to define something I personally find dramatically uncomfortable
I think my discomfort with confrontation comes down to what was communicated to me nonverbally as a child. It took seemingly little, from my young point of view, to stir up an angry response or lengthy lecture from my father. Or, silence from my mom. As an adult, I know it was a result of living in a house with a lot of brokenness and fear, but as a child, the lesson I learned was that fewer skills were quite as vital to survival as choosing my words carefully.
So I did. And, still do.
Fast forward to marriage and kids and I find myself in the middle of my 40’s, just now learning about the blessing, and cursedness, of silence. I will often tell my kids that relationship is more important than being right, and while I do believe that, I also recognize that my angst about the potential responses of others has often bound my tongue when necessary words of healthy boundaries, relevant opinion, or actual emotional sanctity, were fearfully suppressed.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7
In today’s world, many seem to have the opposite struggle – the desire to be heard, to be right, and to stifle the voices of those in disagreement trumps a desire for community. And yet, as Christ-followers, are we not only beholden to promote such unity, but commanded to love others as we were ourselves first loved??
And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew 22:39
Regardless of one’s position, I think it should be of paramount concern to those of us who profess Christ as our Savior to be mindful the of the how when we are communicating. The what is often not as much the issue as the how that we go about our solutions, and the how that we express our opinions.
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. – Proverbs 16:24
Jumping on the media bandwagon and believing everything we read and hear without doing our own research not only clouds our vision, it perpetuates the agenda of a mostly anti-God world in continuing to bring chaos to our daily lives. Worse still, more and more people who call themselves Christians are buying into the cultural norm above biblical mandate, and committing Christian Cannibalism with the most indignant of justification.
Oh, how the enemy loves distraction and dissent.
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. – 1 Corinthians 14:33
With so many talking heads, it can be challenging to find any sort of plumb line. And yet, I submit to you that the only center for believers is found in the worn out (hopefully!) pages of a very old book…and maybe sitting in the pew to your left.
The next time someone speaks, or makes a decision you are challenged/angry about, take a deep breath and consider:
- Is it biblical? Just because it doesn’t feel fluffy, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
- Is it true? Fact check, fact check, fact check.
- Is it tainted? People like to bait us without revealing the bottom line.
- Does it set a precedent? What can seem like a win is not in the long run.
- Know the Constitution. Period. It’s easy for others to steal what we don’t know we have.
- Does it bring peace? When the dust settles, do you still love people? If not, you may have chosen the wrong side.
Life in today’s world can be beyond chaotic, unsettling, but the truth of God, the peace and grace and integrity of His Word, remains as a cornerstone for our lives. Make the decision today to build upon it, and find your rest.
Allow the Spirit to lead your spirited conversations …