Real Life Example
I presented these materials at a recent conference. Before the talk, I received a note from a woman whose husband had divorced her for another woman. She asked ‘how do I deal with such an evil man now that we are divorced? Should I allow him to be with our children? He is really a bad person and I think his presence will damage the children.’
After hearing my teaching, she wrote me another note. ‘I now know why my husband wanted to be with someone else. I never gave him a chance to tell his side of things and I attacked him about a lot of issues. Thanks for telling me this information. I am going to ask him for forgiveness and tell him that he can see the children.’
Let me hasten to add that this could have been a man. Being critical is not limited to females. Many persons see themselves as the innocent parties in a divorce or serious marital conflict. If they never committed adultery or other gross sins, they perceive themselves to be innocent. However, the sins of the tongue can be damaging to intimate relationships as are the sins of pornography and physical sex.
The data about stress, anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rates are also applicable to every relationship. For example, church and business conflicts produce the same cycle of anger, resentment and revenge as a marriage. It is helpful to see church groups as extended families with spiritual connections. Spiritual connections have physical ramifications, and when one is suffering from enormous stresses at work or church, they also affect us at home, leading more easily to emotional flooding.
As usual, we can learn from Jesus how reactivity and verbal attacks harm people. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talked about the difference between the OT teaching on murder and His wisdom on it.