When we get into conflict, the mud often flies. Are you muddy? How much mud have you been slinging?
Luke 6:27-36 makes it clear that we ought not to return mud for mud. Instead, return gold for mud. Mercy responds to mud with the precious metal of the golden rule.
But I say to you who hear,
Love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you,
pray for those who abuse you.
To one who strikes you on the cheek,
offer the other also, and
from one who takes away your cloak
do not withhold your tunic either.
Give to everyone who begs from you, and
from one who takes away your goods
do not demand them back.
And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (Lk. 6:27-31, emphasis mine)
Or how about this wisdom for marriage:
Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires” (James 1:19-20)
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
Don’t throw gas on the fire of the conflict with harsh words and anger. Throw water (or a wet blanket for those marital grease fires) on the fire with quickness to hear, slowness to speak, and, once you do speak, soft answers that turn away wrath.
One thing Harvey has learned:
…if I can avert a two-hour argument with two minutes of mercy, that’s a win for everybody involved. (87)