Bobby McGraw - August 13, 2019
Arresting the Situation
From Series: "Weekday Podcast"
To arrest something means to stop it. Put an end to it. Take control of. There are times we need to do this as it relates to potential conflict in our lives.
“Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out.” — Proverbs 17:14 NLT
Opening a floodgate brings devastation. If you were to get rid of the dam near my house, thousands of homes and lives would likely be destroyed. In a similar way, starting an argument can do the same thing: it can destroy relationships. It can leave lasting damage.
Not all confrontation is bad. Ephesians 4 teaches that we should speak the truth in love. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is to confront somebody, but to remember to do it in love.
One of the things that makes this particular proverb so helpful is that it reminds us of the potential impact of disputes. It seems to teach us that disputes should be a last resort, not an operating principle.
Some people enjoy conflict. It seems they enjoy starting something for the sake of it. Others exaggerate situations in order to get a rise out of another person. But this proverb reminds us that living this way can lead to some irreversible results.
So how do you arrest the situation before it get’s out of hand? How do you handle the right way?
1. Inventory Your Motives
We typically have a binary way of looking at conflict. What I mean by that is we think the other person is totally wrong and we are totally right. Experience will tell us, though, its never really that clear cut. So before we point our fingers at someone else, let’s look within, at our own motives. Motives are rarely all good or all bad.
2. Seek Godly Counsel
It is usually helpful to talk with a trusted friend, spouse, or mentor about a situation to get their input. An outside perspective can often help us to see a situation more clearly.
3. Clarify the Wrong
Now that you have a bit of distance from the incident, ask yourself, “Has a wrong actually occurred? Why am I reacting to this? What do I wish had happened?” Clarity brings a great deal of confidence.
4. Do the Loving Thing
At times, we’ll find that we overreacted to something and the most loving thing to do is to drop the issue. In these cases the goal is to learn from them. To begin to identify the triggers that set us down this path so that we can arrest them sooner.
Other times, we’ll find that an injustice has indeed occurred. And the most loving thing to do for the other person (and ourselves) is to speak the truth love.
Conflict is inevitable. Dealing with conflict in a damaging way is not necessary. It is possible to handle hard situations the right way. For me, that often starts with me praying and asking God for wisdom to know what to do and the self-control to do whatever it is he tells me to do.
That’s the best way I’ve found to arrest the situation.