Curious Conversations

 

Read: Colossians 4:2-6

In a recent  Golf Digest magazine interview golf coach Peter Cowen said, “Anger is the most unnecessary cause of bad shots, and the easiest to address.”  He went on to explain that instead of being angry about a bad golf shot the golfer should be curious about why it happened in the first place.  This way something good and constructive can come out of the situation instead of anger, which most likely will lead to another bad shot.

This is good advice for all of life.  How many times do people make a bad mistake or have a disagreement with someone, and one bad step leads to another, and then another?  In these verses the apostle Paul is encouraging us to do three things.  Be prayerful.  Be Watchful.  Be Thankful.  But he then goes on to talk about how we should converse with each other over matters which might bring disagreement.

He says, “Make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”  In other words, instead of being mad or angry about something, take time to be curious and learn from the other person or the other point of view.  I have been blessed many times when I have sat down with people who see things differently than I do.  We don’t always come out at the same place or agree on everything, but we both leave with a better understanding of each other’s point of view.

Another thing these verses encourage is that we speak and converse with Godly character.  In his book “Everyone’s a Coach”, former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula tells of losing his temper during a televised game with the Los Angeles Rams.  Millions of viewers were shocked when an open mic picked up Shula using explicit profanity in his moment of anger.  He could have given excuses, but he didn’t.  As letters arrived from all over the country expressing their disappointment in Shula, he responded with a hand-written letter of apology to each of those fans.  He said, “I am very sorry about this.  I value your respect and will do my best to earn it again.” 

Whether it is in our conversations with other people or our language in general we need to be wise in how we interact with each other.  Anger will lead us down dangerous paths of regret.  Curiosity and grace will allow us to learn, grow, and appreciate each other.  I am a golfer and I know from experience what Pete Cowen is saying.  One bad shot can lead to another, and another, if anger is not dealt with in a constructive way.  So is life!

Make it personal:    How do you handle moments of anger?  How do your conversations with others reflect the kind of character and example that you want to present?  You may not always agree with everyone, but it feels much better to have a conversation filled with grace and seasoned with salt than to end up in a shouting match. As it says in James 3:10, “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters this should not be.”

Have a wonderful week, Pastor Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church