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Colossians 4:5-6 (NKJV) Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
As you contemplate the possibility of complete recovery from depression and dependency, an important factor that will help you stay clean is how you talk to those who may be related to the problems you’ve had. There are decisions to make regarding how you will keep from allowing conversation to take you back to where you were.
Conversation is such a critical issue in recovery. What you say—or don’t say, has so much to do with whether you go forward or backward. Of course you want to keep moving forward, so let’s consider some creative ways you might use wisdom in confrontations that could change your progress. Colossians 4:5 is a great place to start. When we see the words ‘walk’ or ‘as you walk’ in scripture, it usually is referring to ‘conduct’. In this verse we could substitute the words ‘Conduct yourself in wisdom’ for ‘walk in wisdom’ and it might still mean the same thing, yet cause the verse to apply a little more specifically to your recovery.
Looking at the word ‘wisdom’, in the context of this verse and your recovery, a good application might be one of the meanings found in Strong’s Concordance, “the varied knowledge of things human and divine, acquired by acuteness and experience…”
I hope you know that you’ve gained a considerable amount of knowledge from the ‘acute’ or ‘extreme’ things you have suffered. You might see your experience as worthless, wasted time—but if you use it toward self-improvement, it can be considered beneficial.
Verse five of Colossians four can be seen as a warning to use wisdom in how much time you spend with people who are involved in the things that took you into depression and dependency. If you’re married or in a close relationship with someone, and your marriage/relationship has been part of your struggle, you may not have much choice over how much time you spend together. Possibly some of the issues you’ve had involve how much time you do or don’t spend together. If that’s the case, think about how your own conversation contributes to your relationship, and what you might do to create some improvement.
There are many ways to improve a relationship through the words you say. It would be wise to pray and seek counsel on what you could do to help in regard to your particular circumstances, but to start with, keep a calm tone of voice and try to speak with respect—no matter what kind of pressure you may be under. If you see a conversation going in a bad direction, try to keep it short. Find a reason to say something kind that will change the tone of the moment—and suggest something positive that the other person might enjoy doing with you, or talking about instead of continuing the discussion.
The way you conduct yourself in conversation—as you are confronted by people you used to hang out with, has a lot to do with your progress, as well. If some of those people are neighbors or people you work with—try to limit your conversation and time together. A good way to draw boundaries with them is to be open about the change that has taken place in your life. Your interests are different now—and you’re pursuing things that are more meaningful to you, than the things you used to do.
To sum it up, the important thing to learn from verse five is that you should keep conversations short with people who may not support the good and wise decisions you’ve made based on your negative past experience.
In a sense, verse six encourages you to spend some time contemplating how certain types of conversations have not helped you make progress in the past. Giving careful consideration as to how you can talk differently in the present and future will help you in times of confrontation. If you think about what your answer will be to certain questions that normally spark a dispute—it could keep things from totally blowing up. It may not come natural for you to speak politely or respectfully to people who have been harsh or abusive to you, but if you plan to do so in advance, you might be less apt to get caught off guard the next time you are faced by them.
The important thing to remember is that God is on your side. He is the One who can help you do better in the future than you’ve done in the past. Some people can be very difficult to get along with and can even use their words to try to insult you into regression. Don’t let that happen. Ask the Lord to help you have more positive conversations with people; conversations that won’t take you in the wrong direction—and He will.
Declaration: I will find new strength by focusing attention on how I can improve my conversations with people who challenge me.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.