Archive for May 2nd, 2009

Most of us are, at various times, susceptible to using rhetoric that is inflammatory, illogical, careless, rude, or divisive.  This waywardness of the tongue (or typing, as it were) is often found in the presence of impatience, hastiness, defensiveness, passion, anger, pain, and a variety of other (often negative) thoughts, feelings and emotions.  Sometimes, however, it can simply be a failure in communication.  I had a college professor who would tell us that some questions are unanswerable because the question is faulty.  “Do you still beat your wife?” is a yes or no question that I personally cannot answer with a yes or a no because I have never beaten my wife.  We are sometimes prone to asking questions and making statements like this as well.  We like things to be either/or.

I have been somewhat surprised at the conversations that have been taking place on CRN.Info over the past couple of days.  The norm around here has been typical of many relationships in our lives, which involve 4 ways in which we respond to what others around us say: 1) we agree with them, 2) we ignore them, 3) we get upset with them, but agree to disagree, or 4) we fight it out.  Each response has its place; but sometimes I forget the value of the fourth one (fighting it out) when done in grace, respect, and forgiveness because it is so often done out of a heart and mind clouded by the previously mentioned attitutdes.  When we are willing and committed to fight it out (not fight for the sake of fighting) in the community of God, our hearts and minds, our very selves are challenged and stretched to grow.

What we say and how we say it can direct a conversation, but it can also redeem a conversation.  My desire has been to avoid asking questions (and making statements) that are fueled by ignorance, faulty thinking, and/or strong emotions.  This has led me of late to talk a lot less (often about even important matters).  But I suppose that if those things never came out, we’d all be agreeing with and ignoring each other.  Healthy, functional relationships rely on the ability to disagree and even argue, knowing that when all is said and done, we’re all growing to become like Christ.  Hopefully I can begin to listen all the time, and speak up when it matters.

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