How to Be Wise in Relationships
“Any fool can start arguments; the honorable thing is to stay out of them.” (Proverbs 20:3, GNT)
Wise people are peacemakers, not troublemakers. Wise people don’t carry a chip on their shoulder. They’re not always looking for a fight. And they don’t intentionally antagonize other people.
The fact is, if you’re around someone for any length of time, you’ll figure out what irritates that person. Then you may file that information in the back of your mind as a tool to use when you get in an argument. When that person says something that hurts, offends, or slights you in any way, you pull out that information and use it against them. You push the hot button. And it works every time!
You know what the Bible calls this kind of behavior? Stupid! It doesn’t get you any closer to resolution or help your relationship. In fact, it hurts the relationship. It’s not wise.
Proverbs 20:3 says, “Any fool can start arguments; the honorable thing is to stay out of them” (GNT).
We all use counterproductive strategies in relationships. They’re hurtful, they’re harmful, and they don’t get you what you want. But when we lack wisdom, we use them anyway.
Here are just a few of these counterproductive strategies:
- Comparing. Never compare your wife, your husband, your kids, your boss, or anyone else -- because each person is unique. Comparing antagonizes anger.
- Condemning. When you start laying on the guilt in a relationship, you get the opposite of what you expect. It doesn’t work, and it’s foolish.
- Contradicting. William James, the famous psychologist, said, “Wisdom is the art of knowing what to overlook.” Some things just aren’t worth your attention; you simply need to overlook them.
The Bible says in Proverbs 14:29, “A wise man controls his temper. He knows that anger causes mistakes” (TLB). Have you ever said or done anything out of anger? We all have! When you get angry, your intelligence goes out the window. You say and do foolish things that are self-defeating.
Have you ever thought about the fact that there is only one letter difference between “anger” and “danger”? When you get angry, you are in dangerous territory. You are about to hurt others -- and yourself -- with your own anger.
The good news is that you don’t have to let your anger get the best of you. You can choose to be a peacemaker, not a troublemaker. Follow the wise advice of Proverbs: Control your temper and stay out of arguments. You -- and the people you’re in relationship with -- will be glad you did.
Talk It Over
What counterproductive strategies have you used in relationships? How have they backfired on you?
How has your own anger hurt you or the people around you?
When have you chosen to stay out of an argument or to control your temper? What was the result?
Premium Resource: You Make Me Crazy Study Kit
This devotional © 2021 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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