Friday, June 17, 2011

Conflict and the tongue

One of the most difficult things in life I find is dealing with conflict.

I wonder if anyone else finds that they have an argument with someone, and then spends the next few days re-running it in their head, rekindling the anger and emotions?

Sometimes I really do wish I had a better control on my temper and my tongue. It was with some recognition that I read this morning 'How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire. And the tongue is a fire' (James 3.5). Yes quite! How easily the 'tinder' of life can catch and blaze.

My mind wandered to another passage in the Bible about 'tongues' and 'fire' imagery: Pentecost (indeed last Sunday was Pentecost).

When the 'gift of tongues' is spoken of it is usually in a charismatic sense (or with very naughty risqué humour...). But I was rather taken with the idea of the work of the Spirit being about giving us better ways of communicating, less destructive ways...

Well, I wish I knew how that happened, but I can't see any other way than the daily offering of oneself to God in prayerful humility asking to be changed. And then, doing one's best: biting the tongue, taking a few breaths before replying to the challenging statement, letting go of the argument.

Ah, yes, and humour too: a sense that may be it doesn't really matter as much as we think it does, and we're not all that important after all.

'All of us make many mistakes' writes James (3.2). What a relief to be reminded, and how fortunate that God is so forgiving.


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