Handling Disagreements from Proverbs
Anyone can be involved in an argument. Paul and Barnabas are reminders that even faithful brethren are not immune from having disagreements (Acts 15:35-41). Occasionally, our disagreements may get out of hand and we end up saying things we later regret. So what are some safeguards that we can use in handling disagreements in a Christian way? Here are a few suggestions from the book of Proverbs:
Be friendly. Try not to be adversarial in your point of view. “He that hath friends must shew himself friendly” and “A friend loveth at all times” (Proverbs 18:24; 17:17).
Ever use kindness. Cordiality goes a long way towards maintaining tranquility. “A soft answer turneth away wrath but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
Let up some. Most disagreements would remain friendly if we would just back off a little. “…but he that refraineth his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).
Overcome with good. Oftentimes in the heat of an argument we lash out in retaliation. “Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me” (Proverbs 24:29).
Value their opinion. Listen attentively to what others have to say. “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him” (Proverbs 18:13).
Introduce soothing words. You can get your point across in a nice way. “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24).
Never engage irate behavior. If a disagreement becomes ugly—conversation over! “Put away from thee a forward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee” (Proverbs 4:24).
Grow taller. The desire to win an argument often escalates it. Bigger people will refuse. “…therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with” (Proverbs 17:14).
“Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
May God continue to bless us all!
Richard Stevens, III
Minister of the Beckley Heights church of Christ