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The other day I overheard co-workers talking about their spouses when they articulated some very interesting [and frankly, uninspiring] perspectives on their relationships. It was one of those moments when it becomes very easy to judge the people involved and, by the grace of God, I was able to bite my tongue before saying something…whether it sounded judgmental or not. I wanted to challenge them on their perspectives: why they thought that, how they arrived at those thoughts, and how they believe those thoughts affect them and their spouses. Those situations can become rather sticky, however, because even though it’s not unbiblical to challenge people on their thoughts, why you’re challenging them can get you into a lot of trouble. Take the previous situation as an example: I wanted to challenge others’ perspectives not because I truly and wholeheartedly wanted them to know the truth of Jesus Christ and what he believes a relationship should look like. I wanted to challenge them because I wanted them to hear what I had to say, and essentially prove that they were wrong and that I was right. (But come on, who wouldn’t want to hear what I had to say…)

This gets me into trouble all the time. I anticipate the next heated discussion, the next disagreement, the next biased perspective articulated by anyone and everyone… The desire for these situations is rooted in the pride of being right, of being relevant, or of being even considered in a favorable regard by others. 

I’m not saying everyone shares this desire, but I can guarantee everyone struggles with handling these types of situations in some way, shape or form. Some of us want to make sure we say the right thing at the right time and can walk away feeling like we did the “Godly thing”. Some of us try to get into the conversation with the intent of not saying or thinking anything judgmental—only to discover that the conversation has now turned into an argument and we’re not truly loving the other person as Jesus would. Some of us want to completely avoid these situations altogether; the further we are from conflict or disagreement, the easier our relationships will be (we seem to think). Some of us ask really good questions but dread being asked the same questions because we don’t feel we have the ability to completely articulate what we think. Some of us just don’t like the tension of the situations and try to ease the conversation, or bring it back to equilibrium. Some of us want to drop the best one-liner, that knock-out punch, and feel good about “winning” the argument. And then some of us just get energized by bantering back and forth and trying to counter the other person’s thoughts and perspectives (gulp… Guilty.)

One of the best moves the devil can make is to trick us believers into thinking our own thoughts or perspectives are good enough and that we need not consult the words of the Holy and perfect God. Given how difficult* conversations can be these days, it’s absolutely necessary for us to see what God instructs us to do in these types of situations.

That being said, here are a few scriptures to consult that pertain to the topic at hand:

2 Timothy 2:23-26

Colossians 4:5-6

Ephesians 5:15-17

1 Peter 3:15-16

I encourage you to read these 4 passages in their proper contexts and seek to understand what our Heavenly Father would want us to do in difficult conversations. Meditate on those scriptures and we will reconvene next week…

*{Quick side-note: I say “difficult” for a number of reasons. 1) conversations are becoming less common in our society today since we can engage in a bajillion other things instead of sitting face-to-face with someone and talking about something meaningful. Because they are becoming less common, each conversation has more value in the spectrum of a lifetime. 2) There’s this societal assumption that certain topics are absolutely out of the question to discuss with another person. Religion. Politics. Personal/family matters. To name a few. 3) Many of us like to talk first and listen second. So we’re not as careful about what conversations we initiate or join in on. As people who are called to live above the desires of the flesh and put on the “full armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11), it’s crucial that we battle our selves in where are thoughts go.}