Ten Tips for Fighting Fair

FTDF2Wherever you find people, you’ll find disagreements, too. Here are ten suggestions for how to “fight fair” adapted from Danny Akin’s book on Exalting Jesus in Song of Songs. I think you’ll find them useful whether you’re arguing with your spouse or your friends about politics.

  1. Confront problems as soon as possible after they arise. Don’t let them fester into bitterness.
  2. Master the art of listening. Make sure you understand what they actually are saying, not what you think they are saying. Don’t rush them.
  3. Limit the discussion to the present issue. Don’t bring yesterday’s mess into it. What’s done is done.
  4. Use “I” messages to make your point and express your feelings. “You” messages are attacks. “I” messages are admissions.
  5. Avoid exaggerations. “Always” and “never” aren’t helpful. They move us from attacking the issue to attacking the person.
  6. Avoid character assassination. Don’t insult, don’t demean, don’t patronize. Jesus didn’t use these when he talked to the devil, so you probably shouldn’t use them with other children of God, either.
  7. Use appropriate words and actions for the discussion. Is this really worth yelling about? Does the way I load the dishwasher really need to get my blood pressure up?
  8. Don’t focus on winning or losing. If you win an argument with a friend, you’ve won a loser. How well does that work? Focus on understanding. What do you really want? Reconciliation and peace.
  9. Determine limits. Know what “hot-button” topics do nothing except derail the conversation. Vow not to cross them.
  10. Choose to forgive. Forgiveness is a choice. When you hesitate to offer it, remember how often you need it. And if you can’t figure out why you would need forgiveness, think harder. Be willing to say, “I was wrong” and mean it.

Do you think any of these suggestions, if implemented, might change how we talk about politics? Might they change how we relate to that hard-to-get-along-with person in our lives?

Group Questions: Week 3

Until I get all the resources from our snowy and small (but wonderful) Wednesday night class up here, here are some of the discussion questions we looked at. Hope it’s good food for thought! :)

Group 1:
Read Matthew 26:38-46. What does the servant’s prayer have in common with Jesus’?
The servant got several physical signs. Other OT characters (Gideon, Abraham, Moses, Elijah) got them, too. Without signs like those, how does God help us make decisions? (see Luke 11:27-36)
Read Proverbs 3:5-6. How can we ensure spiritual success on our missions for him?
What else can we learn from this story?
Group 2:
Read Genesis 50:15-21. How does this story compare with Esau’s plan? (If you’ve read ahead…how does Esau’s plan turn out?)
Read Romans 9:12-14. Was this blessing situation fair?
Read Hebrews 12:15-17. What does unholiness or sexual immorality have to do with Esau?
What can we learn from these passages?
Group 3:
Read Exodus 20:17 and Proverbs 12:12. If everyone you just read about followed these passages, what would have been different?
Read 1Timothy 6:10 and Hebrews 13:4-6. What do we lose if we give in to materialism?
Read 1 Peter 2:23. What can we learn about solving problems from these examples?