Have you ever noticed that asking the wrong question gets you the wrong answer?
This happens to us all the time. It might be something simple like mistakenly asking for fresh fruit at the grocery store when a smoothie recipe calls for frozen fruit. It might be something more serious like asking a doctor for a pill to fix a problem that only discipline can solve.
We do this all the time.
While there truly are very few “stupid questions”, there are questions we ask that take us off course in life.
When we do that, we can derail the plans and purposes of God.
One of the ways we often do this happens in the middle of CONFLICT!
Conflict… a word we dislike. At least most of us dislike it. A few of us enjoy it. But, truly, most of us hate conflict. We avoid it. We hide from it. We run from it.
Where does most of our conflict occur? Inside. In our hearts. In our minds.
The sad truth is that we run from conflict internally as much as we run from it externally. This keeps us from addressing the issues, resolving the problems, and growing from the results.
My parents have been married for over fifty years. They love each other deeply. But… boy do they fight! Some days being at their home is like watching two MMA fighters perpetually exchanging jabs.
About a year ago I was visiting with them. They were in the middle of an on-going fight. If you’re married, you know the kind. It’s the kind of fight that lasts days not hours. They’re horrible.
Sitting there I realized something as I listened to both of them:
They were both right.
How often do you get into a conflict and ask, “How am I right?” The follow up question is pretty obvious, “How are they wrong?”
We all do it.
Why? Because sin, in its nature, is self-righteousness. It’s us, on our own, apart from God, determining what is right and wrong.
We look for the ways we are right, and we justify our anger, mistreatment of others, and prejudices because of how we are right.
But… even in our “right-ness” we can be wrong.
There is a better question to ask, and if we could learn to ask it, it could change so much for us.
That question is this, “How am I wrong?”
When conflict evolves in your marriage, instead of holding your position based on how right you are, ask “Where am I wrong in all this?”
When your kids blow it and act like fools, instead of looking at how wrong they are and how right you think you have been, ask “Where am I to blame as their parent in this situation?”
When you find yourself in financial trouble, instead of mentally excusing all your expenses as necessary and right, ask “Where did I go wrong managing this money?”
By asking the simple question “How am I wrong?”, it will lead you through conflict, not self-perpetuate it, and will provoke humility that leads you towards resolution.
Ask the right question, and you’ll get a better answer!
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How could asking “How am I wrong?” change the way you process conflict?