Fix the Problem, Not the Blame
By Rick Warren
“Now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Colossians 3:8 (NIV)
You only have a certain amount of emotional energy. When you’re trying to resolve conflict, you can use that energy either to fix the blame or to fix the problem. You don’t have enough energy to do both. So you need to ask yourself what’s more important—to blame the other person or to resolve the conflict.
Choose to fix the problem, not the blame.
When it comes to solving problems, you should decide ahead of time that you’re going to fight fair. Within your marriage or family, set ground rules for words you’ll never use—words that serve as weapons of mass destruction.
During the Cold War, when Russia and the United States were at each other’s throats, the United States had thousands of intercontinental missiles—weapons of mass destruction—aimed at Russia. We could destroy the entire nation. Russia had thousands of intercontinental missiles aimed at us too.
But even at the worst, most tension-filled point in the Cold War, both sides still had enough sanity not to use those weapons. It’s been called the MAD strategy; if either side decided to use the weapons, the result would be “mutually assured destruction.” In effect, the countries were saying, “If you use yours, we’re going to use ours. We’ll destroy each other, and there won’t be any countries left.” So even when we were on opposite sides of an issue, we could at least agree not to use those weapons.
Relationships often have weapons of mass destruction too. When you use those weapons, you fix blame—but you never fix problems. In marriages, for example, those weapons include things like threatening divorce or bringing up each other’s parents. You have to agree, no matter how upset you are, those words are off limits. Those are words of mutually assured destruction—they destroy a relationship by tearing down trust.
The Bible is very specific about what’s out of bounds in a relationship. Colossians 3:8 says, “Now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips” (NIV).
Those are weapons of mass destruction. They’re used to fix blame. And when you fix blame, you’re judging—and only God has the right to judge.
Instead, set aside destructive weapons and use your energy for what matters. Fix the problem.
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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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