Friday, September 4, 2020

Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak by Melinda V. Inman

Writer Life Meme

Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak 

‘Tis the season. The political arguments have begun, or rather, have merely continued. The election season conflicts of four years ago never ended. How can Christian writers help to keep peace in a fiercely divided nation mid-pandemic and racial conflict? Therein lies the rub.

If you’re active on social media or you have an extended family, you know that even Christians are starkly divided on many issues inherent in this year’s election. And yet, we are not allowed to remain entrenched in combative stances, for we are followers of Christ. God’s Word says . . .

Meme with Bible Verse: Hebrews 12: 14-15

How do we live like these verses prescribe? And when? Emotions are high. Opinions and positions are nailed down. When do we politely walk away? When do we state our position and hold our ground? When do we avoid the discussion altogether? How do we notice the signs of a conflict that will explode?

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God…If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” (James 1:19b-20, 26) 

A deep breath. A silent prayer. A determination to listen in silence, to hold back the tongue.

These three powerful tools allow us time to consider what is behind the words of the other, to quiet our own emotions, and to settle upon a calm reply.

Still, things can get out of hand quickly! Suddenly emotions engage, and we find ourselves speaking before we intended or pushing into an explosive situation.

What are the warning signs?

A rant by the other, displaying no desire to understand opposing opinions, expressing hatred toward all who believe differently. They have long-held prejudices. They’re angry with all who hold opposing viewpoints.

These indicate that a conversation might be entirely futile. Might be. As we sit in silence, listening to the tirade, we pray, attempting to determine if there is space for other viewpoints or words. If we speak, we may be wasting our time and adding fuel to the fire. Walking away might be our best option, unless the Lord leads otherwise.

Sometimes, for the good of the other, we must speak even in these situations, even if the other doesn’t like what we have to say. Positions of hatred harm the hater as much as those who are hated. Hating anyone is outside the bounds of Christian life. And yet, we all have hated and can feel hatred, even toward people we love, so we can relate.

It may be our obligation to speak in an attempt to help one who is filled with hatred to consider the other side and the reasons behind the actions of the other. Maybe they simply need encouragement. When the Holy Spirit opens this door, we walk through it, even when there may be will be backlash. The Lord intends us to speak when called.

“..Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV)

When craftiness and human deceit have built a lie, we speak the truth in love as the Lord leads, even if speaking causes a reaction. Sometimes the truth must be stated in the defense of those Jesus listed in the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46): the needy, the stranger/foreigner, the naked/homeless/trafficked/enslaved, the sick, and the imprisoned.

Even in this topsy-turvy political climate, with strife and disagreement swirling, we must write the truth when the time is right and when the Lord leads, no matter the pushback.

Do not be afraid. Write.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4 ESV) 


How can Christian writers help to keep peace in a fiercely divided nation mid-pandemic and racial conflict? Therein lies the rub. #seriouslywrite #writingcommunity via @MelindaVInman

Three powerful tools allow us time to consider what is behind the words of another, to quiet our own emotions, and to settle upon a calm reply. #encouragementforwriters #seriouslywrite via @MelindaVInman

Even in this topsy-turvy political climate, with strife and disagreement swirling, we must write the truth when the time is right and when the Lord leads, no matter the pushback. #seriouslywrite #writingcommunity via @MelindaVInman



The Shadows Come

Sequel to No Longer Alone 
 (WW1 Based on a True Story)

Germany threatens all of Europe. Millions have died. President Woodrow Wilson makes the declaration that the United States must enter the Great War to rescue our allies. Congress approves. Our story begins. In America’s heartland, everyone hunkers down to provide food for the world and resources for the war effort. A draft is necessary, and all young men must register. One by one, these are called to war. With this threat looming, Prentis and Avery raise the necessary horsepower, cultivate the needed crops, and contribute their labors to the Red Cross.

But crises at home, an insidious busybody, and one after another called up to fight in Europe bring the greatest dangers they’ve ever faced together. Then there’s the influenza pandemic. Will they survive the war abroad and the war being waged at home, threatening their love and their lives? Will their loved ones make it home again?



Melinda Inman - Author

Raised on the Oklahoma plains in a storytelling family, Melinda now spins tales from her writer’s cave in the South. Her fiction illustrates our human story, wrestling with our brokenness and the storms that wreak havoc in our lives.

Connections:

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MelindaVInman/

Website: https://melindainman.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelindaVInman

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/melindavinman/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00GFYI0RU 




17 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting, Kay. These are times for pausing to listen to the Lord before we speak, and for speaking the truth with kindness when called to do so.

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  2. I pray before writing. Putting my heart and mind in peace and knowing God is with me while I write is truly comforting.

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    1. Yes, so do I, Melissa! Even when writing on social media, not just for my weekly blog and my monthly post here. Today on Twitter I was called a "fool" for making a statement about wearing masks in this time of COVID. I gave that one to Jesus, who understands being called names for stating the truth, and let it go with no comment. "A deep breath. A silent prayer. A determination to listen in silence, to hold back the tongue" or the typing fingers in this case.

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    2. Melinda, you powerfully describe the tug we all have right now! Praying for discernment in these situations is key. Sometimes we are to stay silent and it her times speak the truth no matter the backlash. We follow example of Christ who wisely knew when to not speak and He knew when to speak up against the political antics of His day. Bottom line, I want to live out these Scriptures you highlight.

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    3. Those Scriptures are so important, aren’t they, Karen! Without guidance from God’s Word we can so easily respond in anger or in haste causing damage or conflict. Prayer and seeking the Lord’s wisdom will require patience and sitting patiently and in silence before the Lord, so we can walk in his steps, and then we need to speak and to write, seeking unity and promoting truth.

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  3. Praying for wisdom, praying for discernment for all, praying for leaders with integrity, praying for truth. Great post, Melinda! God bless!

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    1. Prayer is our way to cope and to acquire wisdom as we go through this. Thank you, Nancy, for adding your thoughts to this discussion of grace-filled strategies for moving through our divided country’s time of decision during a pandemic.

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  4. Wow. I read this blog after reacting in anger to something I read on Twitter. Amen, sister. Getting offline so Daddy and I can have a chat. Thank you for being used by him today.

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    1. I’ve had to step back and pray for grace and self control and kindness. Twitter can be brutal. There has been a lot of name-calling as the election cycle heats up and the kids go back to school. Many opinions. Prayer is needed. We have to discern when to walk away. Your strategy is wise, Candice!

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  5. Very wise words! It is important that we assess what we are saying and how we are speaking words of truth, especially in an discussion with opposing views. I heard a great podcast on this very subject. The podcast is "Made for This" by Jennie Allen. The title is "Let's Talk Politics with Eve. Eugene Cho." :)

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    1. Marcie, that’s a great recommendation! Following up this post by bouncing right on over to the podcast. I’ve heard many good things about Eugene Cho. Thank you for adding another resource here in this discussion of a Christian response to this difficult election cycle during a pandemic and racial conflict.

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  6. Replies
    1. Linda, thank you and thanks for taking the time to respond!

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  7. Lots of wisdom in your words as we strive to spread the light.

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  8. So helpful AND timely. Loved all of it, specially this quote:
    "A deep breath. A silent prayer. A determination to listen in silence, to hold back the tongue. These three powerful tools allow us time to consider what is behind the words of the other, to quiet our own emotions, and to settle upon a calm reply."

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  9. A very timely post. Thank you for this additional "tool" Christians can use to talk about these controversial subjects.

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