Last week I was thinking about arguments and contention. About why I can update my Facebook status with something totally innocent, and within hours it has turned into a flaming rant! I was pondering this recently, and asked my husband why a simple thought or statement gets such a response? I mean, I am not even trying to start an argument! I am simply stating my opinion on some random topic, and suddenly everyone feels the need to start an argument.
Granted, I am easy to provoke, I suppose. Its not so much that I have to be right – more that I feel like my point of view is not being understood! So I repeat myself in a different way so they can understand where I’m coming from. Well, most people have no interest in seeing it from a different point of view, so then I have to say it again, from yet a different angle, because if they just understood what I am trying to say, they would at least concede that there is a different way of looking at it, right?!
I have discovered that most people have zero interest in considering other points of view. And after trying to explain it about 10 different ways, I start to get mad. Then my focus shifts from wanting them to see it from my point of view, to wanting to prove that I am right!!
And that’s where it all goes downhill. I say things that I later regret, I show a spirit of Self that is truly horrid. I finally get myself in check, only to mourn and punish myself for weeks. I say things to myself like: “I’ll never share my opinion again!” or: “I’ll just stop talking!!”
Which is impossible, if you know me at all! I can’t be quiet. I can’t stop talking, any more than I can stop breathing. I get a headache if I can’t get stuff aired out! I will talk to myself if I have to. (oops, did I say that?!) No, really, it’s all too true. And it’s not because I like to hear myself talk – I actually dislike hearing myself talk . It’s because I don’t know what I feel, or how to process stuff, until I spill out the words. That is how my brain works.
As I was contemplating this, I was asking my husband what the answer is? (And how come he never, ever starts conflict with what he says or writes?) He assured me that ‘shutting up’ is not the answer. He said: “If you are a talkative person with lots of opinions, you will face different battles than those of us who are quiet.” He also reminded me that he writes and speaks a lot less than I do – therefore is less likely to share controversial topics. He greatly dislikes conflict – while I don’t shy away from it. (although I don’t really enjoy it.)
After talking to him, and mulling it over, I had a renewed desire to ‘set a watch before my lips’. Yes, perhaps I spark debate without meaning to – that is no excuse to either bow out without a word – nor to return the ranting. I need to walk in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, speaking only what is true, good, lovely, etc…
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8
I can’t excuse my own behavior under the guise of: “well, I wasn’t trying to start an argument!” No, I have to take responsibility for my own words and attitudes. I have to realize this is my battlefield. This tendency to argue and fight is where I have to die to self. It doesn’t matter if I am misunderstood. It doesn’t matter if I don’t win the argument. I need to speak words of Life, and let it go.
Maybe I am the only one who faces this? Maybe you all have no problem keeping quiet… if this is your strong point, please let me in on the secret, will ya?! 😉