“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. “ – James 1:18/19
Have you ever observed how silly, stupid little arguments can quickly escalate into catastrophic relationship breakdowns? We see it all the time…friends who will have a slight disagreement, spouses who are not quite seeing eye-to-eye, colleagues whose perspective is a degree off center. A little disagreement so easily can spark an argument, which in turn can spark an untold amount of anger, which can spark bitterness and resentment, which can ultimately spark a loss of a relationship. It seems such a simple process to look at objectively and so sad that small disagreements can create such large conflicts.
Fortunately, at each stage in conflict escalation, there are things that we can do to stop this destructive behavior. It’s all about speed.
Note in the scripture above how James talks about speed – be quick to listen, be slow to speak and be slow to become angry. I think it is fair to summarize that conflict gets out of control when we attached the wrong kind of speed to the wrong response. For instance, nothing exaggerates and escalates a conflict like when we are slow to listen, or when we are quick to speak or quick to get angry. I wonder how many conflicts could be avoided if we learned to properly use our built-in speedometer.
When in conflict it is important that we know to slow down our speech and speed up our listening skills.
Watch your Speed.