I’m not an easy person to argue with. I often let pride rule my heart. I use my verbal skills to defend myself and make others look wrong. Worse yet, my training as an attorney has equipped me to use leading questions to back people into a corner.
No one has suffered more from these skills than my wife, Corlette. One morning she and I got into an argument over some trivial thing. After we traded a few jabs, she retreated to the bathroom to collect her thoughts and pray while I stood in the bedroom, planning like a prosecutor. I was just about to walk into the bathroom to lay out my case against her when the Lord brought a penetrating question to my mind: How could I glorify God in this situation?
I pushed the thought aside. I wasn’t the least bit interested in glorifying God at that moment. My only concern was winning my case against my wife! But God pressed in with the same thought, this time in the form of a question I often use when mediating between people: “How could you please and honor God in this situation?”
The Holy Spirit took all the wind out of my sails. “Lord,” I confessed, “please forgive my pride and self-righteousness. I know it won’t honor or please you if I use my verbal skills to force Corlette to say I’m right. Please help me to admit where I’ve been wrong.”
With a much different attitude, I went to her and said, “Corlette, I was so wrong to get defensive and blame you. Will you please forgive me?” Corlette had been expecting a full-bore attack. Now she was stunned by my words. Her face softened. She relaxed and replied, “No, it was really my fault. I shouldn’t have approached you like that.” Needless to say, the conversation only got better from there, as each of us put God’s glory and the other’s good ahead of proving ourselves right.
Ken Sande and Kevin Johnson, Resolving Everyday Conflict (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 45–46.