The heat of an argument always feels ugly. Hurtful words come out, voices raise, defenses flair and loving kindness takes a backseat. When we turn away, the waiting game begins. The clock ticks, and we wonder when the other will reach out. We really want to move past it, but in the meantime, pride grips our heart.
We know we shouldn’t argue. Sometimes we catch it midstream; sometimes we lose control and end up sitting in a room alone. It’s hard to stop anything when chaos takes over. It can feel like an enormous challenge to seek resolve first. Before reading the Bible I didn’t know how to move past an argument while feeling hurt. Praying these words and rereading these verses has helped bolden my spirit…
“He Must Increase, but I Must Decrease.”
John the Baptist said this to his followers (about Jesus) so they would know one much greater was in their midst. I cling to these words and repeat them over and over in my mind when I feel negativity rising. In fact, I pray every day that Jesus increases in my life, leaving less room for “my way” of doing things.
When we feel embroiled in emotion, especially negative emotions such as anger, hurt, jealousy or resentment, we can pray for God to take up more room. The New Living Translations puts John 3:30 this way: He must get greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
As God moves in, less room remains for the negative forces trying to work within us. This takes faith because when we’re locked in a stronghold, we lose control. We must trust God with the reigns; it is the first step to moving past an argument.
“Forgive as the Lord Forgave You.”
It’s easier for someone else to break the ice when tension fills the air. Going out on a limb could mean rejection. It could feel like “losing” the battle. But this “battle” is not against each other. It takes courage to make the first move toward peace, and we are commanded to do it. Do you have what it takes?
Paul says that God has forgiven us, and so we must forgive others. When I think about what God has forgiven in me, how can I not forgive another? When I think about how God has healed me, how can I not work toward healing with another?
In Colossians 3:13, Paul says clearly: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
We can move past an argument when we forgive. If it’s true forgiveness, we won’t feel like holding on to right and wrong. We won’t recount the details. We get the courage from God to move forward and make the first move.
Jesus modeled this for us. He forgave while dying on a cross. God has forgiven us the most agregious of sins–we even ask him to forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And still it takes courage.