WHAT is the Real Issue?

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Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Think

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Why were we taught such a blatant untruth as children? Maybe harmless in playground spat, harsh words can definitely harm — especially when lobbed at a significant other. Spewing hatred hurts everyone involved and burns relational bonds from both ends. Isn’t it amazing how quickly we can go from lovey-dovey to  3-alarm criticism fire when things suddenly go awry? We begin to bristle, tempers flare, and suddenly we’re in the midst of verbal combat.

When conversation combusts into a heated confrontation, why do we so quickly lose sight of the WHAT, the real issue, and attack the WHO, that person we love so much? We tear them down to the core and diminish their character. We insult their intellect and puncture their personality; we unfairly compare and name call. Simply put: Words can cause more damage than sticks and stones; most broken bones heal faster than broken marriages.

So, here’s a staggering statistic: 69% of martial issues are unresolvable, and only 31% are solvable. Unless we like living in a war zone,  we can’t afford to attack the WHO. Instead, we focus on revealing the WHAT, the real issue at hand. Then we swallow our pride and take the necessary steps toward compromise. We work at being less selfish and remember WHO — Jesus — gave His life to offer us reconciliation with our Heavenly Father. This allows His peace, compassion, and love to be REVEALED within our marriage and closest relationships. It’s within this space of God’s grace that true healing and reconciliation happen.

Here’s a better saying: Criticism and hurtful words are for the birds, so attack the WHAT and love the WHO. Allow Christ’s love to be REVEALED in you!

Act

The next time you’re about to engage in confrontation, don’t attack the WHO. REVEAL the WHAT, the real issue. And remember, your words can cause damage, so if needed, take a moment to take a deep breath and agree to resume the discussion later when cooler can heads prevail.

Pray

Dear God, I want to encourage and uplift my significant other, even amid confrontations. Help me swallow my pride, be less selfish, and take the necessary steps toward compromise so that Christ’s presence is revealed in all I say and do. Amen.