I had five siblings growing up and you can just imagine the fighting, teasing and picking on each other that went on all the time. When someone reached their ultimate frustration they would cry out for a reprieve from our parents. “Johnny’s teasing me,” “Carleen won’t give my toy back,” “Danny’s being mean to me.” We wanted the people with the most clout – mom and dad – to be on our side.
We didn’t always get the reprieve we were looking for. Sometimes we got the dreaded words I despised the most: “It takes two to fight.” Oh brother. I did NOT want to hear that. I fumed and fussed and would stalk off to pout. As a little kid I didn’t even understand what that meant except that it meant I wasn’t going to get any sympathy.
Now that I think about it I understand that I wasn’t totally the innocent party I pretended to be at the time. I contributed to the various quarrel sessions, teasing marathons and meanness bouts that often erupted. There is no way to perpetuate a fight when no one is taking the bait; it just dies.
The Bible says; “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). We may not be children anymore but as adults we still have plenty of chances to “turn away wrath.” Family members usually have a pretty good idea what each other’s buttons are and just how to push them for maximum effect. What if we take a new tact and don’t respond, or respond with a gentle answer? Remember “It takes two to fight.” Don’t be one of them. Shhh!
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