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Intro: Some people might hear the subtitle to this message and say, “I can’t believe your teaching people how to have arguments because if we have godly marriages we won’t fight.” Well you say that, you have either never been married or have only been married one week. Laura and I got an early start and we started having arguments and disagreements before we were married – during courtship and engagement.

(Laura) Honestly, conflict is a part of life and just because we are imperfect people trying to do life together, we aren’t going to always see things eye-to-eye. Offenses will happen. Misunderstandings will occur, and sometimes arguments will be the result. It is just a fact of life. And ignoring the topic won’t make things any better either.

(Michael) We are in a series entitled “Home Improvement” and its built on the idea that even the best of things will need to be upgraded form time to time and that includes our relationships. Honestly, these principles apply beyond marriage to every relationship you have because the truths we talk about today are about God’s Word and people and how people can apply his Word in practical ways to their relationships whether those relationships need an entire renovation, some minor repair or even just some updating.

(Laura) In our recent renovation, the one we literally just did in our house, the contractors were very careful. We had some major stuff done – we’re talking about pulling up flooring and in some cases sub-flooring, ripping out sinks, tiles and tubs, cutting through walls – major stuff. But these guys took great care to only rip out, cut apart, and pull up the stuff that needed it and in doing so, they protected the rest of the house from damage.

(Michael) So, Let’s get to it. Let’s talk about “Tearing it Out Without Tearing it Up – 10 Keys to a Fair Fight”

1. Choose your weapon (NO Illegal weapons!)

A. harsh words (words that push buttons)

Pro 15:1 (ESV) A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

B. rash (words without care)

Pro 12:18 (ESV) There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

C. hasty (words without thought)

Pro 29:20 (ESV) Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?

There is more hope for a fool than for him.

D. mere talk (words with no follow-through)

Pro 14:23 (ESV) In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.

E. perversion (words that defile)

Pro 15:4 (NASB) A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit.

F. cursing (words that are negative)

Pro 20:20 (ESV) If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.

G. proud speech (words that elevate self)

Pro 25:6,7 (NASB) Do not claim honor in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of great men; for it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,” than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince, whom your eyes have seen.

H. mocking – (words that are designed to intimidate)

Pro 30:17 (ESV) The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures.

2. Counsel might be helpful but gossip destroys

(Gossip = sharing with other who are not a part of the solution) Do not take

personal matters into public places.

Prov 16:28 (b) (NIV) a gossip separates close friends.

3. Do not play “old tapes.”

A. Old tapes = reruns from old and previously resolved conflicts.

B. It is never a good idea to re-open a closed case, especially where there has been repentance and forgiveness.

C. Replaying the past only serves to bring the pain of the past into the present.

D. If there are portions of the past that are as yet unresolved, resolve those conflicts.

4. Avoid pushing “buttons.”

A. Everybody has “buttons” like we talked about in last week’s message.

B. Buttons = topics that cause reaction.

C. Reacters may be losers but provoking someone to react is a fowl!

5. Honesty is the best policy!

A. Lying, aside from being a sin, destroys others confidence in your and your word.

B. Exaggeration, “bending” the truth, telling part of the truth is lying.

C. Jesus said that truth sets free. (John 8:32)

6. Deal with the facts and respond to words – leave the motives alone.

Prov 16:2 (b) (NIV) motives are weighed by the Lord

7. “We can’t go to bed until this is resolved!”

Eph 4:26, 27 (NIV) In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. (Foothold = jurisdiction)

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