Fix the Problem, Not the Blame
“You must also rid yourself of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” (Colossians 3:8 NIV)
You only have a certain amount of emotional energy. In a conversation where you’re trying to resolve conflict, you can either use that energy to fix the blame or you can use that energy to fix the problem. You don’t have enough energy to do both. So you’ve got to ask yourself what’s more important, to blame the other person or to resolve the conflict. Fix the problem, not the blame.
Every married couple needs some ground rules for fighting fair and words you’re just not going to use. There are some things you should never, ever say in a marriage — they’re weapons of mass destruction.
During the Cold War, when Russia and America were at each other’s throats, America had thousands of intercontinental missiles aimed at Russia. We could destroy the entire nation. Russia had thousands of intercontinental missiles aimed at us, too. Even when we were at the worst point in the Cold War and there was enormous tension, both sides still had enough sanity to say, some weapons we just aren’t going to use because they’re “MAD” — mutually assured destruction. If you use yours, we’re going to use ours, and we’re going to destroy each other, and there won’t be any countries left. So even when we were on opposite sides of an issue, we could at least agree not to use those weapons.
There are some weapons of mass destruction that should never be used in your marriage, like threatening divorce or threatening to walk out or bringing up somebody’s parents. You have to agree that no matter how upset you are with each other, those words are off limits, because they destroy the relationship by tearing down trust.
The Bible is very specific about what’s out of bounds. Colossians 3:8 says, “You must also rid yourself of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips” (NIV). Those are weapons of mass destruction.
The reason why we fix the problem and not the blame is because blaming is a form of judging, and only God has the right to judge. You’re not the judge. You can’t figure out anybody else’s motivation. You don’t know your own motivation most of the time! Only God knows. Let him be the judge.
You focus on fixing the problem.
Talk About It
• What are the “weapons of mass destruction” in your relationship?
• Why is it important to set boundaries for “fighting fair” in a relationship?
by Rick Warren
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