Wise People Avoid Arguments
“Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others.” (James 3:17, The Message)
Do you get offended easily? Are you always looking for a fight? Does your defense mechanism kick in during every other conversation?
The Bible says that, if you are wise, you won’t antagonize someone’s anger: “Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others” (James 3:17 The Message).
Wise people work at maintaining peace and harmony. They're not carrying a chip on their shoulders. They don’t take offense easily, and they don’t say and do things that they know will stir other people’s anger.
“Any fool can start arguments; the honorable thing is to stay out of them” (Proverbs 20:3 GNT).
Being wise in your relationships means avoiding arguments. There is a long list of things that cause arguments. Here are three specific things you can avoid as you try to honor people and build more peaceful and loving relationships.
Don’t compare. Comparing causes arguments because it shows that you’re not satisfied and content with what you have and who God has made you to be. When you are content with your life, it will show in your healthy relationships.
Don’t condemn. It’s no surprise that using condemning statements like, “It's all your fault” or “You should be ashamed of yourself” leads to arguments. Or maybe it comes out in phrases like, “You ought to,” “You shouldn't,” “You always,” and “You never.” Using phrases like these and condemning people puts you above them. That is not the way of Jesus.
Don't contradict. When you're in the middle of an argument, don't sweat the small stuff. If somebody gets a detail wrong, just let it go. William James, a famous psychologist, said, “Wisdom is the art of knowing what to overlook.” If you can learn to let things go, then you will notice how much more peaceful your relationships are.
Comparison, condemnation, and contradiction always lead to arguments. But when you choose instead to show grace, God can transform your relationships.
Talk It Over
Which of these three—comparison, condemnation, and contradiction—do you find yourself most often employing in your conversations? Why?
Why do you think it’s hard for us to let something go when we disagree? Why do we so often have to have the last word?
In what ways did Jesus model peacemaking in his relationships?
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This devotional © 2020 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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