Sometimes Talking With Someone Is Better

John, writing some advice to his church in his second letter, concludes by saying, “There is much I have to write to you, but I would rather not use pen and ink.”

Sometimes talking is better. Today we use electrons flowing through a wire and projected upon a screen rather than the much simpler pen and ink. And that is often worse than any other means. How often have we written hurriedly about some random emotion, pressed “send”, and then lived to regret it? For me–way too often.

I was just on the receiving end of one of those emotional tirades. No thinking through the implications or the reality of the situation. Just a reaction based upon half-truths and then a reputation shot by hitting send.

The appropriate response is to use John as a guide–speak truth in love in person not with pen and ink (or electrons on a screen).

This is not my forte. I can present a speech. I can get by a little with idle chit-chat. But that is difficult. When I was young, I must have been somewhere on the autistic spectrum or something. I wanted to relate, but I couldn’t. Outside of a brief period in adolescence when I was argumentative, I was usually silent. The upside is that people thought I was smart. I remember in my second year of college that I could go entire days without ever speaking a word.

Confrontation is not within my comfort zone.

Recently I was in a situation with a guy who evidently loves argument. He’d get all mad and red-faced. Somehow mentally I’d step back and look at a bigger picture and see it didn’t matter in the long run.

But now there is a situation that the only way to handle is to speak the truth in love. That means confronting my own fears and realizing that I probably won’t be loved in return. But Henry Cloud, author and psychologist, would call that growing up.

Do we know when and how to confront others and when mere argument is just worthless exercise?

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