I was thinking today about all the political debates already in full swing, how they often produce a lot of emotional interactions among people. Some people really enjoy the discourse, while others are offended or become negatively reactive. The same thing can happen in other areas of relationship as well.
I would ask a question of you. How easily offended are you, or how argumentative are you? Perhaps you are both.
I have seen argumentative people damage relationships defending their positions on issues they really don’t care one way or another about. I have also seen people playing the victim, willing to end relationships for petty or imagined hurts.
Often I have seen these two types paired, with painful results.
In the instance of offense, have old hurts been triggered and unfairly attributed to the current situation? (See earlier post “Adding Points” 5/08/2010) Have I failed to develop a thick enough skin to weather the ups and downs of life? People can be insensitive at times without being hostile or intentionally hurtful. Can I make room for them? Am I able to forgive?
If I have an argumentative nature is it because I felt my opinions were discounted or ignored growing up? Or is my contrary posture a character defect that I need to work on so that I get along with people better. Being in a relationship with an argumentative person can be a real challenge.
I know I have been unnecessarily quarrelsome and self-righteous and it has stressed out our relationship at times. Fortunately time and God has softened this part of me. I still feel passionately about certain things, but I have learned to filter my responses and even hold my opinion at times.
Rarely do people come around to our way of thinking as a result of a cantankerous attitude. Neither do they have much compassion for, or want to get too close to someone who is always having their feelings hurt.
So in which area might you improve? Challenge yourself with a spirit of humility.
Isaiah 57:15 The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.