Would you believe me if I told you I have learned in the past year how to win every fight? Especially if it’s not my fault? All I have to do is picture a traffic light.
I’m sure that you have had somebody close fight with you. You don’t know where it came from, or the magnitude surprises you. Your knee-jerk reaction is one of pain and perhaps retaliation.
This is when you need to visualize a traffic light. Big time!
Green! (Quick to LISTEN)
Stop all noise. Virtual and otherwise. Turn off your phone, get away from people, find some solitude and quiet. Especially if you are reading a comment on Facebook or a text message. Take time to come down from your initial emotional reaction. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Maybe go for a walk. Pray. Remove yourself from the situation for a minute. Perhaps you are just an unfortunate recipient of somebody’s pain and hurt, and it has nothing to do with you at all. Are they under a lot of stress? Have there been recent changes or losses in their life? What may have caused them to lash out?
Yellow. (Slow to SPEAK)
We want to answer immediately. Often, though, our emotional response is less than gracious. Giving yourself a day or two (if possible) before responding can also open an opportunity for explanation. Maybe their intent did not come through in their words. What they meant to say and what they actually said could be two different things. You can ask questions to clarify, giving the benefit of the doubt, and possibly receive a resolution immediately.
If you are genuinely upset, a vague “rant” on Facebook will stir up curiosity from many not involved. Leave them out of it. Instead, if you must talk to someone—choose only one. Speak to them directly if you can. The digital age often results in misinterpretations with lack of facial expression. Emojiis just don’t cut it compared to tone of voice.
Red. (Slow to become ANGRY)
Assume the best about this person. If you’ve had a great relationship until now, a fight is upsetting. Why? You are afraid of losing this friendship. You clearly value this person and what they think of you—which is why you feel so wounded.
Don’t throw away what you have in a moment of pain. Remember why you like them. Pray for them. Ask for reconciliation. Will this matter a month from now? A year from now?
“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” ~Proverbs 17:9 (NLT)
If you didn’t immediately recognize our traffic light, it’s found in James 1:19. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
This, my friends, is how we win the fight. We choose love.
Sometimes, we will have to love from far away, but often “hurting people hurt people.” There is a hurt inside that person that is spreading like a wildfire. You can choose to respond in love and stop the cycle of hurt.
How can we pray for you?