Tag Archives: arguments

unity matters

Melissa Yeager, Co-Author of awriteheart.comMy parents always loved music, so when I was young we went to plays and musicals and orchestra events and music festivals. There was always music playing in the car and in our house. They exposed me to all sorts of genres, and I naturally settled into those that I liked best – some that they weren’t so fond of, and some that they loved themselves. As a kid I had a leaning toward concerts that were loud and crazy…I liked the lights and the feel of the bass vibrating through the ground. But now I love certain concerts for a different reason – and I just recently figured out why.

unity mattersLast week I went to see Rend Collective, which is a Christian band from Ireland whose music really inspires me to worship. My husband and I sat down in our seats at Roberts Wesleyan College’s performing arts center, and I people-watched a little bit as we waited for the show to start. There were people from my church, people we knew from other churches, people from the Christian school I graduated from, and many people we didn’t know at all. All of these people, all together, waiting for the same band, waiting to worship together. All of us were excited to be there, and we all had something in common so even those who didn’t know each other felt free to talk and ask about each other.

The lights went down and the crowd went silent, and finally the music started – and everyone sang along. And what I realized at that moment was that none of us knew or cared about the details of each others’ Christianity, other than that we were in agreement about the most important thing – that Jesus saved us from our sin, and that He is the One we should worship. We had no idea what version of the Bible the person in front of us read, or whether the person behind us was Baptist or Pentecostal. We didn’t know whether the woman across the aisle had a Calvinist or Armenian leaning, or which denomination the band was. The details seemed less important at that moment because we were gathered for a common reason – to worship the one true God together.

unity matters

I looked around at the rows upon rows of people and wondered whether that would be what heaven will be like in some respects – all different Christians, from all different backgrounds, worshipping God together. Different in the details, but unified at their core – in their belief of who saved their souls from the sin they could never pay for themselves.

In our minds I think we know that there will be many different kinds of Christians in heaven. We say amongst ourselves that we will be surprised who will be there and who will be absent (Matthew 7:21-23). We think we have a good grip on the fact that God alone sees the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). But so many times in practice we look at other Christians and the biggest thing we see are the differences – and we dwell on them. We allow our feathers to be ruffled because other Christians listen to and worship using different music, read different versions of the Bible, and attend churches with different labels. We are called to unity as a body of believers but we look skeptically at each other, and even question each others’ salvation at times, because of details that we don’t agree with. We so often don’t consider that perhaps others truly ARE seeking God, and that He has for them a different freedom or a different restriction than He has for us.

This is dangerous ground, I know, because our convictions and preferences are part of who we are, and they determine how we live out our faith. There is theology that we strongly believe, and we can back it up. There are practices and traditions that we strongly adhere to for reasons that we may never loosen our grip on. We have a defense for what we do and why we do it…we have seen results, and fruit, and blessing. We have a defense for why we disagree so adamantly with certain others. Our views and interpretations and ways of life are important to us – and they should be. Practices and traditions and theologies ARE important, and some of them are worth fighting for, and fighting over. But not all of them. Not all of them are worth sacrificing the unity of the Church – and by the Church I mean the whole body of Christ.

When Colette and I started this blog, we came upon an issue that we didn’t agree on…It really doesn’t matter which issue so I won’t go into that, but we had to face a conflict. So we came together, talked about what we believed about that issue, came to an understanding about its importance, and came up with a solution that we believed that God would be pleased with. What we did not do was allow an important but non-essential issue (meaning an issue that isn’t truly central to salvation and Christianity) to divide us completely, and we were able to work together in unity regardless. You’d never know we disagreed at all! Extend this situation to the Church – the body of Christ…If we can grab hold of unity, if we make it a priority, we can accomplish things together that would never have been possible otherwise.

[blockquote cite=”Richard Baxter” type=”center”]In necessary things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity.
[/blockquote]

Christ said in John 13:34-35, ““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” And in 1 Corinthians 1:10 Paul said to the church at Corinth, “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” We are commanded to love other Christians as Christ loved us (laying down our lives for each other), and the we be perfectly unified as followers of Jesus. We are, of course, bound to disagree on some things – but that doesn’t mean that our love and our unity in Christ should be compromised.

I know, beyond a doubt, that when we get to heaven our eyes will be on Christ alone, and not on each other. If we can practice that here, before heaven, we can accomplish so much more together. The world IS watching to see how we love each other, so when we are tempted to dwell on the details instead of on Christ Jesus who unifies us, let’s remember the amazing place heaven will be when we will worship together in spirit and in truth – one Church, one body, one focus.

The song I’ve included below (or if the music isn’t your preference, I included the lyrics there below as well) has become my favorite for so many reasons – it reminds me of those who have gone to heaven before me, of how unworthy I am of the salvation I have been given, of the power of the blood of Jesus, and now of the unity we have in Him, despite our differences. I looked around me at that concert as tears rolled down my face, and saw others doing just the same…Overcome with emotion because they know what I know – that we will approach Him one day, and that we have everything to celebrate. Fix your eyes today on Jesus – and not so much on the details.

[blockquote cite=”Rend Collective, Boldly I Approach (The Art of Celebration)” type=”center”]
By grace alone somehow I stand
Where even angels fear to tread
Invited by redeeming love
Before the throne of God above
He pulls me close with nail-scarred hands
Into His everlasting arms

When condemnation grips my heart
And Satan tempts me to despair
I hear the voice that scatters fear
The Great I Am the Lord is here
Oh praise the One who fights for me
And shields my soul eternally

Boldly I approach Your throne
Blameless now I’m running home
By Your blood I come
Welcomed as Your own
Into the arms of majesty

Behold the bright and risen Son
More beauty than this world has known
I’m face to face with Love Himself
His perfect spotless righteousness
A thousand years, a thousand tongues
Are not enough to sing His praise

Boldly I approach Your throne
Blameless now I’m running home
By Your blood I come
Welcomed as Your own
Into the arms of majesty

This is the art of celebration
Knowing we’re free from condemnation
Oh praise the One, praise the One
Who made an end to all my sin[/blockquote]

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]Celebrating who God made us , Melissa[/custom_headline]

six things we must remember in an argument

Melissa @ awriteheart.comSince last week’s Supreme Court decision about gay marriage, I’ve read and heard a LOT of debate…Unfortunately the vast majority of those discussions ended poorly or without resolution. As I’ve continued to read and listen to these dialogues, a few thoughts have come to mind that I believe we must remember when arguing or debating with someone. Whether it’s an online discussion or an argument with our spouse, remembering these principles can help us keep the peace even when we can’t agree.

Your “opponent” actually believes what they’re saying.

The person who is so adamantly opposed to your viewpoint, whether that’s your husband or some online stranger who thinks your opinion is too extreme, really truly believes what they are expressing to you. They believe it with the same passion and vigor that you have for your own opinion. We tend to think that those with opposing views haven’t thought out their opinions, and are just argumentative people looking for a fight – and sometimes that IS the case. But most people hold their opinions for a reason, and can substantiate why they think and feel the way they do. They aren’t unintelligent, they aren’t necessarily uninformed, they aren’t crazy, and most of the time they aren’t intentionally trying to oppress anyone…They just happen to disagree.

There may be angles that you haven’t explored – and that’s ok.

In any argument, we all are hesitant to admit when we’re unprepared or can’t defend ourselves…but in truth, everyone is unprepared for what could be said. It isn’t always the worst thing to tell a person that you don’t know the answer to a question, or that they brought up a good point that you never considered. Conversations can be continued after you’ve done more research, or after you’ve thoughtfully considered new points of view. Being defensive about someone’s thoughtful conclusions won’t win anyone over – so in humility, be willing to concede that you haven’t thought of everything.

People can believe whatever they want – and that’s a good thing.

This is America, right? Unless you’re reading from a place that doesn’t allow citizens the freedom to speak and believe what they want, no one is obligated to believe as you do – and that is something to be thankful for. God gave us freedom to choose, right from the time that He created us, and we can’t take that freedom from others. As well-intentioned as we might be trying to “convert” people to what we believe is the right way of thinking, it isn’t our job to change anyone’s mind or heart.

Listening well goes a long way.

5 things to remember in an argumentThink about the last time you had a heated discussion with someone. While the other person was talking or writing, were you thinking about the next thing you were going to say? So many times, our lack of willingness to stop and listen prevents us from  hearing where another person is coming from, and all we do is reiterate our own opinions over and over instead of having a real dialogue. Understanding someone’s point of view is valuable even if you don’t agree with it, and the person on the other end of the debate will be more likely to feel as though you respect them if you conscientiously listen to and acknowledge their side.

Social media and texting are not ideal for having an actual conversation.

How many times can I say this…Social media and texting are not ideal for having an actual conversation! Humor, sarcasm, compassion, kindness, sadness – all of those are difficult to convey by written word, and it’s easy to misread someone’s tone or miscommunicate your own thoughts and feelings. Too short a response can be read as aggressive…No response can be read as passive-aggressive…Too long a response can be read as controlling…Too long between responses can be read as uncaring…Too many responses can be read as overbearing. We make some pretty sweeping assumptions based on how and when others respond. So be careful debating or arguing online or over text massages…And if possible, just take the person out for coffee and talk it out.

Love for God and for others is your obligation, even if the conflict remains unresolved.

My pastor mentioned something this past week that really stuck with me – we aren’t supposed to be a balance of grace and truth…We as Christians are supposed to be FULL of grace and FULL of truth. That’s how the Bible describes Jesus in John 1:14 – He was 100% grace, and 100% truth. So no matter what the argument is about, be like Christ when you write and talk to others about things you disagree on. Rarely did Jesus exhibit anger toward others – and when He did, it was because of hypocrisy or oppression of those in need. He also never chased anyone down to make sure they did what they were supposed to. He told them the truth in love, and then allowed them to make their own life choices. Following His lead takes the pressure off of us, and leaves it to the Holy Spirit to change someone’s heart…And that’s how it should be.

Arguments and debates are often unavoidable, but we can take steps to work toward a peaceful ending. It’s possible to disagree while maintaining a positive tone. Romans 12:9-12 calls us to do our best to live at peace, and with God’s help we can!

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]In His perfect peace, Melissa[/custom_headline]

[content_band style=”color: #fff;” bg_image=”http://www.awriteheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/48352229_caf6c84ceb_z.jpg” parallax=”true” border=”all” inner_container=”true”] [custom_headline style=”margin-top: 0; color: #fff;” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h3″]Colette’s July Giveaway Will Just Keep Getting Better![/custom_headline]

With each post we publish in July, Colette will add ONE MORE ITEM to this month’s giveaway! The first thing in Colette’s basket is…GODIVA CHOCOLATES! Read our next post to see what she’ll add next!
colettesbasketday1

There are THREE WAYS TO ENTER!!!
1. Subscribe to our email newsletter during the month of July – click HERE!
2. Follow us Instagram – click HERE!
3. Tag a friend on our Facebook wall and encourage them to follow, like, or subscribe – click HERE!

You CAN be entered more than once! SUBSCRIBE, FOLLOW, and TAG NOW!!!

[/content_band]

Featured image attribution: flickr photo by pj_vanf http://flickr.com/photos/vanf/6124579928 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

how to win, EVERY TIME, when arguing with your spouse!

Colette @ awriteheart.comThe arguing was intense.  Back and forth, tit for tat, louder and louder.  I, the counselor, abruptly stood up and excused myself from the room. Thankful to be out of their boxing ring,  I stood at the bathroom sink, splashed water on my face and decided that I would go back into the room and say these words: ” This session is over.  It is evident that neither of you want what is best for each other or your marriage.  There is no hope for you as long as you keep fighting and demanding the other to change in order for you to be happy.   When you can clearly look at yourself and die to the ugliness that rises up in you…when you  allow that to die…then your marriage stands a chance.”  I took a deep breath, returned to my chair and spoke those exact words.  There was an awkward silence when I finished.  (See their response towards the end of this post)

As long as we are in relationship with anyone, disagreements will occur.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to win an argument; to have their points heard and validated…to be right.  And who doesn’t love to do the victory dance after the actual win, even if only in our heads. Yep, we just love it!

I want to share with you how to WIN when disagreeing with your spouse.  Every single time.  At every conflict.  Always.

Listen to your partner.

Listening doesn’t mean that you have to agree with what is being said.  It’s an important skill in productive and positive communication.  You may be surprised at what you hear. And if not surprised, you will at least hear the heart and opinions of your loved one.  And, that matters. Truth is, you will win when you listen.

Be kind always.

You can disagree and still disagree kindly.  Words have the power to bring life or death to people and situations. Words said in anger can poison relationships and do a lot of emotional damage.  If you lose someones heart, you have lost.   Kindness always wins the respect of others.

Say yes when you can.

If you can possibly say yes and concede to your partner, do it.  Weigh the importance of what you’re fighting over.  Saying yes to your spouse will be a win by gaining a deeper, more intimate relationship.

Control your emotions, actions and behavior.

The focus should never be on controlling your partners emotions, actions and behavior. Win control over your own flesh and you will win more than just an argument.

Treat a disagreement as a discussion.

A disagreement is not a debate where points are scored.  It is not a competition and it is not talking someone into your way of thinking.  It is positive, respectful communication where relationship should end strengthened.  Win every single time when you discuss issues.

Respect the person that you are disagreeing with.

Always. Respecting other people wins integrity and shows great leadership skills.

Be hard on the problem and soft on the person.

In fact, separate the person from the problem. Become a good problem solver. The goal is to work towards a peaceful resolution.  Good problem solvers always win

Die to the ugliness of self.

Everyone has it in them…ugliness.  Its the nastiness that rises up inside each one of us when we don’t like what we hear and when we demand our way.  Your way may even be right.  But what rises up in you may not be.  The ugliness of self is the opposite of the fruit of the spirit and the list looks like this: fighting, self centeredness, short tempers, pride,  sharp tongues, meanness, rude sarcasm, silence and rejection. When you see that in yourself, learn to die to it. Do not let it rule you.  When we allow the Holy Spirit to rule us, we win big!

Refuse to argue over opinions.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. When we allow others to have their own opinion, we win.  Only God can change a heart and give true perspective.  Understanding when to stop an argument takes wisdom.   Developing this takes the grace of God,  determination, maturity and practice but once we allow the Holy Spirit to masters this in us, we most definitely win.

Disagree until you agree.

Take time to make decisions together and again, if you can possibly give in, give in. If you can compromise, compromise. Remember, there is an answer to every problem. Maybe not one you’d prefer to choose, but a solution nonetheless.  There are times when I say to clients, ” you have no great options but you still have options”.  Winning happens when we choose patience and wisdom over rash decision making.

Choose peace more than your need to be right, more than your ego and more than your self esteem.

I use this statement a lot.  I wish I could give credit to the brilliant person who wrote this but I have no idea who they are.  Getting pride and self out of the way is difficult.  Most fights don’t start out as fights.  Fighting occurs when there is the crazy need to prove and be right, when ego is wounded or puffed up and when you feel as if self esteem is on the line.  The problem gets lost and craziness takes over.   I understand the importance of making decisions but choosing to handle them maturely and with peace is the biggest win!

In the end of life so many things that people argue about won’t be worth a hill of beans. My very first argument with my new, 21 year old husband, was 35 years ago and over furniture. Stupid, ugly furniture that no longer even exists.  I realize that there are times when disagreements are bigger than furniture. But so often they are not.  They are over things that just don’t matter.

The couple above had this to say when asked to write a paragraph for this post

We will never forget that day two years ago.  We were presented with truth.  The truth of our selfishness.  Our marriage motto became “die to self” until it was second nature.  Our marriage and communication became sweeter and sweeter and we honestly just stopped fighting. We learned to quickly diffuse any fight by this mindset and we stopped playing the blame game.  I cant imagine what our life would be like now if that session hadn’t ended in such honesty. We were faced with a shocking wake up call. It was what we needed to hear and we will be forever thankful. – N & C

I deal with many couples who have been in battle with one another over and over for years.  Spouses may win individual battles by yelling the loudest, making a better point in anger, by verbally slamming their spouse and giving it to them good.  Yes, they may have won the heated battle but in the end they don’t really win.  They end up losing.  They lose intimacy, relationship, trust, productive communication and many even lose marriages.  All because too many battles were unfairly fought when really, they never had to be fought at all.

So, if you really want to win in an argument with your spouse,  you can choose to win.  It will take losing battles to win.  It will definitely take learning to problem solve with maturity and wisdom.   But I can promise,  this type of problem solving is a win-win for everyone!

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honour, preferring one another;

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]They will know we are Christians by our love, Colette[/custom_headline]

[share title=”Share this post, and help us point others to Jesus!” facebook=”true” twitter=”true” google_plus=”true” pinterest=”true” email=”true”]

[content_band style=”color: #fff;” bg_image=”http://www.awriteheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/subscribe.jpg” parallax=”true” border=”all” inner_container=”true”] [custom_headline style=”margin-top: 0; color: #fff;” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h3″]Subscribe today and be entered to win![/custom_headline]Subscribe to our email newsletter during the month of May

and be entered to win a basket full of Melissa’s favorite things!
The giveaway includes:

-A Relevant Magazine subscription
-“Living the Cross Centered Life” by C.J.Mahaney
-Tommy Girl perfume
-a honeysuckle jar candle
-EOS lip balm
-a springy scarf
-a $5 McDonald’s gift card (for a Filet O’ Fish, of course!)
-a decorative metal bowl

On mobile scroll to the end of any post to subscribe…On a desktop, subscribe on the right sidebar.
Sign up today![/content_band]