Proverbs 15:18 (CEB)

Hotheads stir up conflict,
    but patient people calm down strife.


Anyone else read this Proverb and instantly go, “Well what about…” And with that, the Proverb has proven itself to be accurate. Hot-tempered-ness, anger, defensiveness, all things that typically hold little purpose or value (of course, there’s probably some outlier example you can think of) and aren’t usually beneficial to a situation. Any sort of argument, debate, or tense conversation I can think of that I don’t view as ultimately being productive has nothing to do with the the discussion topic and has everything to do with whether one or both sides got hot-headed and defensive. It comes from a need to let something out instantly and a desire to be actually heard that precise minute. But it totally backfires, because once those emotions rise to the surface, no-one is listening and what is coming from a place of impatience makes the argument ultimately useless and unproductive.

Patience in these kinds of dialogues is hard but is the only real way for anyone, perhaps even both sides to, walk away feeling heard, feeling like they learned something, and feeling any real sense of “winning”. When we actually take the time to hear another person out, we may come to a new understanding or feeling of empathy we didn’t previously have, or even if we stay with our original opinion, at least feel like the discussion had value.

By Rachel Callender

For Pondering & Prayer

Is there a topic that you can be a bit of a hothead about? Why that specific topic or are you generally a little hotheaded? Can you think of a time when you were able to have a very productive debate or maybe even argument with someone? What were the elements that made it valuable?

Prayer: God of Patience, you are so slow to anger with us yet we don’t always offer the same. Be with us, Lord, as we practice a bit more patience in our day. Amen.