Our 5th installment of Ten ways to love is to: Answer without arguing.
Proverbs 17:1 Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife. (KJV)
The Message puts it this way: 1 A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.
Anyone who has ever lived with an argumentative person knows exactly how true that statement is. Have you ever known someone who couldn’t just give a simple answer? They always have a “yeah, but…” or some other reply explaining why they are ‘special’ and your premise is wrong. I think all of us answer with an argument at times, but the person who consistently does this is not saying, “I love you.” They might be saying, “I’m better than you” or “I know better than you”, but not “I love you.” I find that many of those who make this a consistent habit have no clue what they do to others. In their mind, they really are special, know better, or simply want to make sense of the question.
How do you help someone who has no clue? I don’t know. That’s a rhetorical question If you have the answer, let me know!
Since we already know we can’t help others, we can only look at ourselves. Do we answer with an argument or do we listen and answer without arguing? Human beings have this unique ability. It’s called justification. AND–it works best when pointed at our own behavior. I of course, never have an issue with this. . . . . ;] but just in case someone out there does. . . .
Anyway, back to the topic.
way too many people a person in my life who cannot simply answer a question without argument, and it drives me to distraction at times. I call her on it, but she comes back with more argument. This leads to more drama, which leads to anything but a feeling of ‘love’. Responses often contain “Yeah, but”, “Well, I”, “You don’t”, and “I didn’t mean to” to name a few. I have to admit I don’t always respond well to this. Frustration probably tops the list of emotions that pop up. How do you communicate with someone who doesn’t really hear you? Instead of hearing what’s said, the arguer hears something they must take exception to. I guess it’s a form of defensiveness. I don’t know. I just know neither party winds up feeling very good afterwards. Neither person feels very loved or listened to either.
Adult: “Go to bed.” Child: “But, I’m not tired!”
Adult: “Go to bed.” Child: “I can’t sleep if I’m not tired.”
Adult: “Go to bed.” Child: “Well, sissy doesn’t have to go to bed now.”
Adult: “Go to bed.” Child: “Can I have a drink.”
and so on. Can anyone say distraction technique?
The major theme in this scenario is: “I don’t have to do what you tell me because…..”
Pride. Is pride at the base of the argument. I think I could argue that it is (tongue in cheek). Pride and love, real love, do not go together. In fact, they are diametrically opposed, and offering argument instead of answers says, “I don’t have to” or “I know better” or, well, you get the point.
Now for the Vertical
Maybe you never argue instead of answering others. But how about God? Do you question Him when He asks you to do something? Do you have some reason why the commands (already given in the Bible) are for someone else and not you? After all, you’re not very good at that, or you don’t have time for that, or …. I don’t think we mean to argue with God, but too often, we do. We can show Him love by obeying Him without arguing.
Sometimes, whether vertical or horizontal, it takes
a lot of hard knocks time and maturity to learn how to answer without arguing.
What do you think? Do you know someone like this, and if so, how do you deal with it? Have you changed this about yourself? Any tips for doing so? My posts are often quests, because I don’t know it all. I’m always interested in how others deal with various aspects of communication, so I hope you’ll share if you have something to say.