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Sunday, November 3, 2013

You a bomb-maker or a bomb-diffuser?

Ever think of your words as a lighted fuse?  Or perhaps the detonator within a time-bomb?  Well, if we were honest, we all could say a resounding "yes" to this one.  Sometimes we possess the right words to stop the fuse from igniting the "explosive" it is dangerously close to releasing.  At others, we just watch foolishly as the fuse grows smaller and smaller until it culminates in a huge "boom".  What is left in the wake of the explosion is sometimes quite difficult to put back together.  Sure, all the pieces may be there, but some of them are almost unrecognizable because of the significance of the "blast" which caused them to break apart in the first place.  We find ourselves as the "bomb squad", tasked with the responsibility of going about defusing the bombs set to explode at any moment.  This is a huge skill to learn and one wrong move can result in devastating consequences.  So, if we are to learn the skill well, we need to practice it over and over again - not so much with the "live fuses", but with the "practice" fuses! 

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.  Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim. Perceptive words spread knowledge; fools are hollow—there’s nothing to them. God can’t stand pious poses, but he delights in genuine prayers. (Proverbs 15:1, 4, 7-8 MSG)

God gives us the small opportunities to "defuse" in order for us to learn how to "defuse" the bigger "bombshells" we are going to encounter down the road. Gentle words - the tools we have in our toolbox which will help us become proficient at defusing the "temper bombs".  Thinking of the skills the bomb squad member might have to learn, we might think of the ability to be very, very still, sizing up the situation, and then determining to act only when the facts are known.  Most of the time, this is where we go wrong in "defusing" those circumstances which might just end up in a full-on explosion of temper. We just don't "size up" the situation well - charging ahead before all the facts are known.  The other thing we might want to practice is the ability to apply a soft touch to the device in hand.  Some of us go at stuff with the biggest tools, handling the circumstance like it was a hot potato, jostling it all around until it gets so unstable it explodes.  The skill of the bomb expert is to apply the softest touch possible to explore enough of the thing they have at hand until they become acquainted with the workings of the device.  We might just find ourselves setting off a few less "bombs" in relationship if we'd learn the skill of handling gently the things which we know have the potential to explode if handled too quickly, or with a cavalier attitude.

Our words are probably our most powerful tool for defusing situations which are threatening to explode.  Properly chosen words can actually stop the "time-bomb" in the relationship - if not forever, at least long enough to size up the situation and to come up with a game plan about how to move forward. There are words which will only make the circumstances more unstable - causing just enough friction to bring added worry into the picture. Gentle words bring life and health - deceitful words bring crushing to the spirit. Deceitful words do nothing more than mislead the ones hearing them.  It is like believing every bomb is diffused by cutting only the red wire!  Sometimes the bomb needs to have the black wire cut first!  Deceitful words work on the spirit of a man or woman - they don't just get spoken, they get absorbed.  In the absorption process, they act as corrosives in the relationship and will eventually lead to the instability which might just result in the explosive effects you so desperately wanted to avoid in the first place.  Truth may hurt, but it never does as much damage as deceit.

Since words are a powerful tool, we have to learn how to use them well.  The bomb squad didn't just go out, find a bomb and then learn by doing!  They studied the principles of bomb-making so they became familiar with the many different ways bombs actually come together.  In relationships, we need to study the things which actually act as the fuel, accelerant, and ignition within them.  When we understand these things, we are less likely to actually "mix" the three!  Even if you don't know what might be the fuel or the accelerant, you can become wise to what ignites the other person.  In time, you will begin to see the other two clearly, but learning where the "triggers" are in relationship is half the battle in learning to not go there!

One other thing we might just recognize about the experts - they have learned from past mistakes.  If you have ever been around an exploding bomb, you know it leaves a lasting impression.  Even the shock-waves of the bomb's explosive sound may be felt for a long way off.  The bomb-squad doesn't want to "learn" from the actual experience of living through the bomb's explosion, though!  They want to learn from their "practice runs".  As they study the various devices, they work under pressure to get the "practice" bombs diffused.  One wrong move with a practice bomb may bring you to the brink of experiencing that huge adrenaline rush which alerts you to the danger associated with even one wrong move.  

Maybe this is why God reminds us of the importance of coming to him for the advice we need in learning how to diffuse the bombs in our relationships!  We can learn from the best, even using him as a sounding board (a practice run, so to speak).  If we get a little "shock" at his feet, it is not going to be as bad as if we allowed the entire "bombshell" to explode in the relationship we are concerned enough to bring to him in prayer!  Just sayin!