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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Avoiding the Conflict of Words


“Better shun the bait than struggle in the snare.”
~John Dryden
Were there ever things regretted as much as words? The apostle James warned us about the corrosiveness of words in his Epistle. The grandest warning of all is that we cannot tame the tongue. We are ever destined to say the wrong thing, to upset people, to lose control of our irretrievable words.
So, avoiding the conflict of words, however that may be achieved, is of lasting relevance. If we are able to do that, we avoid regret and we damage fewer relationships. The benefits are obvious.
Yet the way there is not so obvious.
Understanding The Complexities In Relationships
We generally have no idea how complex our relational world is. Even as we relate with ourselves there are complexities we have no idea about. I mean, why do we feel the way we often feel? If we can no easier understand ourselves, what chance do we have of understanding others, comprehensively?
This is no reason, though, for giving up before we have started.
We should remain aware of the giant complexities before us. As we understand the complex interrelationships between people, and between people with themselves, we begin to contemplate the many dark motives and confused intentions that exist and the communication errors that occur.
Whether people bait us or not, we are often taken as baited. We can take things too seriously, or miss the intention, or take things not seriously enough, among the many miscommunications that entrap us.
Of course, others are in the same boat. How others respond to us is easily perplexing and hurtful. They may feel baited for something we have said or done.
One thing is for sure, relationships are complex, and they always will be.
A Necessary Prudence – The Respect Of Grace
As we keep this knowledge of the relational complexities at the forefront of our minds, we are cautioned toward a necessary prudence so we shun the things we could take as baits. We are better to take less offence than our instincts will advise.
When we are armed with prudence we begin to encourage the broader perspective. Our outlook is widened. And from such a standpoint the respect of grace in advance can be issued.
Grace, which has its traction in tolerance, is always the best as we meet situations that involved baiting. The typical response to baiting, of course, is baiting in return. That is what we avoid.
The idea is we stop the baiting in its tracks. Instead of arrogance and ignorance, we meet such disdain with what can be seen as an unreasonable tolerance.
That is Grace: undeserved favour. And God will give us plenty of opportunity to practice issuing this undeserved favour. Of these opportunities, we are to be thankful.
***
Words make us out as sick fools when we take the bait. It’s better by far to delay our instinctive response. When we actively check what we are about to say we hurt people less.
Words carry disease. Better to inoculate our words before they are sent viral.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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