“A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city;
disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.” -Proverbs 18:19
Immediately when we feel challenged there is something that rises up inside of us that causes us to want to fight. We shut down towards the other person’s point of view and just wait for our turn to tell them why they are wrong. In return, we are greeted by the same wonderful response from their end.
Rarely do disputes end well for either side.
So how do we combat this? The first step is recognizing what is going on and stopping it before it even begins.
Whenever you listen to a dispute from the outside looking in, it is typically fairly comical. Generally there is actually quite a bit more common ground then either party realizes. If only they would first seek to understand the other person’s point of view before wishing to be understood, a lot of these issues could be avoided entirely.
So next time you catch yourself about to respond sharply to someone, pause. Smile. Then listen some more. When you are finally ready to have a healthy discussion without the initial emotions attached, then it is time to share what is on your heart. However, by taking a little extra time you will be far better equipped to have this conversation with a smile instead of a scowl. You will be in a much better place to make it a discussion instead of a dispute.
Then at the end of it all you will still have a friend who doesn’t resemble a fortified fortress or barred gates of a citadel!