Daily Devotion

February 27, 2016

How to argue constructively

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

Pr 27:17 NLT

Arguments can be either constructive or destructive; it all depends on how you handle them. Many times our relationships fall apart or develop into unending chapters of misery because we either fail to recognize or are unwilling to face our problems before they escalate into emergencies. Rather than discuss what’s not working between us, we get into a conflict and argue about whose fault it is. In contrast to discussion that constructively airs the issues, arguments bring charges and appoint blame, which is destructive. They provoke hurt, anger, defensiveness, aggressive feelings, bitterness, and other strong emotions. That’s why the Bible says, “It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel” (Pr 20:3 NIV). Now let’s get real for a second! This side of heaven none of us will live without differences of opinion and disagreements. Even in the best of relationships you’ll have them. And you must realize that not all conflict stems from willful behavior; it often arises through innocent mistakes and simple neglect. Entering into an honest discussion that details the reasons for the conflict helps bring clarity, understanding, and appreciation for the other person’s position. Above all, never go deaf! Pay attention to what the other person is saying. There’s nothing worse than having somebody think you’re not listening to them. It’s through open, loving discussion that our opinions about our relationships are honed and clarified. Indeed, the things you refuse to deal with can hurt your relationship more than anything else you do. That’s why the Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”