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How can I learn to be quiet and not cause more trouble?
Thank you so much for your honest spiritual enquiry.
Confrontation is never an easy thing, and we should do all we can to avoid these kinds of situations in the first place - after all prevention is always preferable to damage control - sometimes however, they happen, so how do we not "add fuel to the fire" with our words? How many of us wish that we could reverse time and undo some of the hurtful things we regret having said in haste and in the heat of the moment? I know I've been there!
The Bible has much to say on the tongue and speech:
Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. (James 3:5-6)
Controlling the tongue is not an easy thing for some of us. The Psalmist prayed set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3). I would suggest that this is a very good prayer to pray before engaging in any potentially difficult conversation!
However, I would also suggest that staying silent in a confrontation may not always be the answer, but rather, having the wisdom that comes from God to say the right things at the right time. As we read a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1) and the same chapter goes on to say, a man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is! (Proverbs 15:23)
Often in confrontations and arguments, especially in a close relationship with a spouse or other family member, we may know what to say to illicit a reaction, or we may try to have the last word, and indeed, our sin nature would urge us to do so! At such times we then have a choice, we can either be 'willing to yield' to this and suffer the consequences of further inflaming the situation, or we can yield to the Holy Spirit within us, rein ourselves in and reap peace and a good outcome; as James puts it: the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17)
I would also suggest that learning to become an attentive 'listener' instead of always a 'talker' may even help prevent confrontation in some areas. Listening in this way does not always happen naturally; it is often a conscious choice we will have to make, but the benefits will far outweigh the effort made to learn this skill. Again, James advises us that so then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20)
In summary then: in confrontations pray for God's wisdom and choose peace; let your words be few; learn to be an active listener.
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:
- Proverbs 10:19
- Ecclesiastes 5:2-3
- Ephesians 4:32
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*All Scripture references are taken From The New King James Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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