Sunday, May 6, 2012

March 21, 2012

Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate,
so stop before a dispute breaks out.
Proverbs 17:14

Thoughts ~

Why do we feel we must share our opinion when not asked for it? I suppose it’s part of wanting to be heard, of being validated. We all need it. And we all open our mouths at times at inappropriate times. Most of the time, the listener is gracious and listens to us, or at least pretends to.

But sometimes we open the floodgates of our mouths and can't seem to stop talking, opening the door to a quarrel. Ouch, says the listener.  Or maybe we are the one on the receiving end of a quarrel in the making and we say ouch! What is it about this lesson that is so hard for us to learn? Why are our mouths getting us in trouble so much? Why can't we close the floodgates before we even murmur one word?  Why do we think we must be right and need to prove it, without listening? 

There are a lot of whys in this thought process but I will share that for me, the best answer is ego. We all have one but we need to work at locking it in the closet sometimes. We need to work hard at locking up any quarrelsome thoughts before a dispute begins, closing the floodgate of our mouth.

Action ~

Grab a rubber band and a piece of paper and let's make a list of Trigger People. These are the people that no-matter-what, they seem to push your buttons. Some are fellow believers; others are Hines 57 varieties of faith or no faith. Whoever they are in your life, rest assured we all have them. (And maybe, just maybe, we are a Trigger Person to someone else!) After you finish the list you'll probably be surprised who you've listed.

Now, with this list in hand, do two things: (1) Pray for them and then yourself in the way you react to them. (2) Whenever you know you will be with that person, put your rubber band around your wrist. Pray a fast prayer for the Holy Spirit to keep your thoughts in your head and not on your tongue so that you won't cause a dispute. And SNAP that rubber band, discreetly of course, each time you want to start arguing. The conversation will fizzle; the Trigger Person will be deflated and perhaps even notice that you are always snapping a rubber band when you talk.  This just might open a door to a meaningful conversation someday.

Pray ~

Oh Lord, thank You so much for putting up with me when I open my mouth to argue with others or with You. Teach me to have a guarded mouth, keeping the floodgates of my mouth closed. Remind me to use my rubber band when I need it until I learn to stop disputes where I am involved.

Trusting in the Lord,

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