9 For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. 10 Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. 11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
1 Thes 5:9-11 (NLT)
Continuing from the last three weeks’ eprayers. We are looking at four bad habits that need to STOP to allow a relationship to flourish. Each habit is represented by a letter of the word ‘STOP’. The first bad habit, represented by the ‘S’ is Striking Back (or scoring points). The ‘T’ – Thinking the worst. The ‘O’ – Opting out. Now we are on the ‘P’ – Putting down.
‘Put downs’ are insults that are essentially saying that you have value while the other person does not. In the worst case they become an act of contempt. In other words we are saying that our partner is “vile or of no account” (if we go with the dictionary definition of contempt).
What we say to one another has huge influence; our words can build up or tear down. The Bible encourages us to build one another up. I’ve regularly heard witty ‘put downs’ in public… everybody laughs but then when I look closely into the eyes of the recipient I see pain and resent, not laughter.
We are much better off offering forgiveness and encouraging one another.
How do ‘put downs’ effect your relationship?
Of all the STOP signs which one do you need most help with?
Father God, you are a God of love, grace and mercy. Help us to be more like you. In particular help me to stop ‘putting down’ my partner and when I receive a ‘put down’, help me to forgive. For I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayer (for others)
Father God, we lift up …. and …. to you. Help them to become encouragers of one another. Amen.
An interesting predictor?
In 2004, John Gottman, a clinical psychologist at the University of Washington, caused a stir when he unveiled a mathematical formula said to predict with 94 per cent accuracy whether a couple would be together four years later. According to Gottman, one important factor – more important than being madly in love, or your genetic profile – is how you have arguments (rather than how often). If strongly negative comments, sarcasm and contempt emerge more than sparingly, the relationship is almost certainly doomed.
The STOP signs were developed by Harry Benson of the Marriage Foundation. There’s a useful article on them here.