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Proverbs at Work: Be Well-Versed in Avoiding Heated Discussions by Keeping Calm

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1 NIV)

Have you found there are sometimes differences of opinion when working and speaking with others in your work place? You have likely responded with a resounding "Yes!"

There is always potential for differences of opinion. Having different suggestions, ideas, and insights is very positive when making decisions on policies, procedures, and/or quality improvement projects. Best decisions are made when everyone gives input. The expression "One of us is never as smart as all of us" has much truth. Being defensive, forceful, or argumentative when discussing is not positive. Focusing on what needs to be done is difficult when conversations become emotional and/or heated. It is not necessary or constructive. Although we may feel strongly about a situation, we should always be respectful, professional, and in control.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you find yourself involved in heated discussions at work?

  • Do you find yourself easily impatient when someone has a different opinion than you?

  • Do you have conversations where voices are raised, people are interrupted, and there is tension during and after?

  • Do you get your point across but then have to deal with strained relationships after?

If you have answered "yes" to any of the above 4 questions, it is time to make changes. Please review the following two strategies towards keeping calm for you to start using:

First: Pray that God would reveal the problem's core root. There may be many reasons: it could be pride, a lack of confidence, impatience, poor communication skills, or an underlying anger issue.

Secondly: The next time you find yourself involved in a discussion starting to get tense and heated, remember the verse: "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Take this verse with you daily to work! A gentle answer is God's advice to us to avoid wrath.

Although the conversation may be difficult, you do not have to get angry:

  • Lower your tone of voice, especially if others are raising theirs.

  • Respectfully and calmly ask people to explain their points of view or clarify issues.

  • Listen well, and don't interrupt.

  • Calmly provide your opinion.

If conversations become emotional and heated, they can stray from the intended focus of the discussion. By remaining and responding in a calm manner, this can help diffuse the emotion in the conversation.

People focus on more than just what is being said, which is the emotion behind it, and may take a difference of opinion personally. God says that a gentle answer turns away wrath. Remember to use a gentle approach when confronted with this type of situation. In this way, you are again taking your faith to work in a very practical and God-honoring way.

Taking This to God in Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your provision of wisdom for every situation which can occur in my workplace. Lord, help me to be gentle and calm in the midst of any stormy conversations. Help me remember You are with me in every room and have provided a way to deal with difficult conversations. Please help me demonstrate You at work in all my conversations. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

This week, be well-versed in avoiding heated discussions! We would love to hear your stories about using this Godly approach at work.

God Bless!
Bonny, Christian Women at Work


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