Nugget of Wisdom
In my mediation practice, it is very common for one person to make a negative comment about the other, and the second person responds by hurling something negative back about the first person’s character. Defend yourself by attacking back – a very common technique in rhetoric…but not very helpful. The typical result is escalating anger and diminished reasonableness.
Years ago, I was reading various books on Christian history and came across an incident involving John Wesley and George Whitfield. John (who lived in Old England) and George (who was on a preaching tour in New England) has been fast friends and had worked together in the spreading of the Gospel and establishment of the Methodist Church, but were now at odds with each other over methodology and theology. This became well known and the subject of popular news. One day, a newspaper reporter came to George and told him that John had leveled some new charge against his character in the press, likely trying to stir the pot and build press readership. When asked for a response that could be given to John, George replied that he, in fact, had those character flaws… and indeed had many others beyond those. He then told the reporter to ask John to pray for him that God would give him the grace to grow in Chirst-likeness, because he was so flawed and thanked him for giving him the opportunity to exercise humility.
We are all flawed and works in progress. It does us good to recognize our weaknesses and admit the need for help in overcoming them… and makes for better discussions!
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