Kevin DeYoung is among the many young pastor/theologians whose writings give me great hope for the survival of passionate, orthodox Christianity in America. Below is an excerpt of observations he gleaned from studying what the book of Proverbs has to say on the topic of relational conflict. It’s good stuff. (Though painful to notice in yourself.)
So what does a quarrelsome person look like? What are his (or her) distinguishing marks?
1. You defend every conviction with the same degree of intensity. You don’t talk about secondary issues, because there are no secondary issues.
2. You are quick to speak and slow to listen. You rarely ask questions and when you do it is to accuse or to continue prosecuting your case. You are not looking to learn, you are looking to defend, dominate, and destroy.
3. Your only model for ministry and faithfulness is the showdown on Mount Carmel. There is a place for sarcasm, but when Elijah with the prophets of Baal is your spiritual hero you may end up mocking people instead of making arguments.
4. You are incapable of seeing nuances and you do not believe in qualifying statements.
5. You never give the benefit of the doubt. You do not try to read arguments in context. You put the worst possible construct on other’s motives and the meaning of their words.
6. You have no unarticulated opinions.
7. You are unable to sympathize with your opponents.
8. Your first instinct is to criticize. Your last is to encourage.
There are more. You can read the rest here.