Ask the Heavenly Father to help you tread lightly with words that can cause pain and conflict.
Steer clear of foolish discussions which lead people into the sin of anger with each other. —2 Timothy 2:16 (tlb)
Here in Florida, on the Gulf Coast, we’re very careful of stingrays— those beautiful, gentle creatures who bury themselves in the warm sand next to the shore during mating season. If you step on one accidentally, it’ll whip its long tail and jab you with the barb located halfway down it with such velocity that the pain is nearly unbearable.
The county even posts signs along the beaches to warn people to do the “stingray shuffle” where you keep both feet flat in the sand and shuffle them forward when you enter the ocean. The stingrays won’t hurt you as long as you don’t step on them. If you tread lightly and shuffle your feet in the sand, they can feel the vibrations and scatter before you come near.
Over the years I’ve had to learn to do a bit of shuffling, zip my lip, and tread lightly with my friend Brenda when it comes to a few topics of discussion. Our religious and political convictions are light-years apart, and rather than ruin a wonderful friendship when those subjects come up, I do the stingray shuffle until I can change the subject. It isn’t always easy since I enjoy a good discussion, but I also know that neither of us is willing to stray from our convictions.
Brenda’s willingness to do the shuffle too has maintained our close friendship to the point where she was my official witness when Jack and I married in 2012.
She’s a keeper!
Heavenly Father, You are the Master Negotiator. Help me to tread lightly when it comes to words that can cause pain or disagreement.
Written by Patricia Lorenz
Digging Deeper: Mt 5:9; Rom12:18; Eph 4:1–6