Turning Fights Into Huddles

A key to good healthy relationships is being fair in disagreements.

Linn Winters
Sep 9, 2018    46m
This sermon by Linn Winters talks about how part of good healthy relationships is learning how to handle disagreements in a constructive way. He suggests that couples should strive to turn fights into huddles. He uses the example of a football team huddling as a guide to explain how this can work. He says that working as teammates, toward a solution, can be so much healthier than lashing out in anger to win. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Linn Winters: 00:28 Hey Cornerstone, how are you guys doing?

Linn Winters: 00:34 Man, I'm just excited about the conversation that we're having around relationships, mostly, marriages, together. And we're in week five right now, and I'm just going to toss out to you that the conversation we're having today, very, very likely is the most important conversation we've had up until this point. And I'm just going to ask you today to lean in, lean in, think about process, how would this change my marriage if I applied this to my life? Now, if you've been here, you know, that we kind of made a promise to each other. We said, hey, for 60 days, we're going to do marriage different. We're just going to assume that the God who made men and women, and then came up with this idea of putting the two together, might just understand something about men and women and this thing called marriage that maybe my parents didn't understand, maybe my friends haven't mastered yet, maybe media hasn't diagnosed this correctly yet, And so for 60 days we said, look, I'm just going to live a biblical marriage. I'm just going to assume that what God says has insight, and that he would move me forward. And for 60 days, I'm just going to go that direction. Because here's the deal, at the end of 60 days, if it's not helpful, if it's not working, I can always go back to what I had before. But for 60 days I'm all in.

Linn Winters: 02:01 And so today we're going to talk about something, I just believe this may be the talk that will hugely and significantly change your relationship, Because here's the deal, we're going to talk about what do you do when you're in conflict. What do you do when you when you really don't like the person you're with very much? What do you do in that moment when you go, that idea, that thing you're talking about is the worst idea in the history of the world. You must have taken all of like three seconds to come up with that idea cause that'll never... What do you do in the moment when you just absolutely disagree? You can't find any common ground. What do you do in a moment like that? And here's why, because what you do in that moment, has the greatest capacity to decide whether or not your marriage is going to survive, than almost anything else we can talk about. You've seen couples who were struggling in their marriage, and then you watch them fight. And when you watch the amount of wounding, the level at which they brought vitriol to that relationship, and you just went it'll never survive. There is no hope, the cliff is clearly marked.

Linn Winters: 03:20 But think about this, you've seen couples who went through adversity, who went through really tough moments, and somehow in the midst of that navigated that, and suddenly we're actually closer. Their marriage was stronger on the other side of it, and you and I've been tempted in the moment to go well, they just got lucky, they got the right person. That has nothing to do with it. This isn't about, hey, I found a person who agrees with me on everything. The difference is how did I treat you, how did I respond to you when I absolutely disagreed with you?

Linn Winters: 04:04 Remember we said a while back, hey, this conversation that we're having may be more important for singles, than it is even for married people? And I'm just going to tell you that if I were dating right now, this one topic would become the litmus test as to whether or not I continued to date someone or not. How do they treat me when they don't like me? How do they treat me when they absolutely disagree with me, and just cannot even possibly imagine what I'm talking about? Because how they treat you in that, is the greatest predictor of whether or not you're going to be able to maintain a long-term healthy relationship with that person. So we're just going to talk about conflict, and how do you... And really there is just two styles, there's two ways to go after a conflict, and we've got an example of those two styles.

Linn Winters: 04:52 On this side, we've got a guy who says, hey, when I'm in conflict, I beat down my opponent. See, when I'm in conflict, my goal is to make sure that the other person experiences more pain than me, until I can get them to the point of surrender. Now, here's the interesting thing, this guy won the fight, And you just need to know that if your response to, hey, I don't agree, I don't like that, I think you're wrong, is to now engage in conflict, to begin to fight with the person that you're with. That stand, that posture, means this, you may win, you might win, but it means your spouse has to lose. Think about the unhealth of that, that the very person who you have pledged to care for, to nurture, and in the moment that you disagree, your stance becomes I'm going to beat you down into submission, and when I'm done with you, you will be wounded, but I will win. And unfortunately there's so many of them, that's just all we've ever seen modeled from our family of origin, it's what our friends do. And so we just fall into this trap that says, okay, let's duke it out, strongest one prevails.

Linn Winters: 06:21 Here's something that's interesting. You realize these people faced conflict and diversity. You don't think that there were 13 opinions on what the next play should have been. The wide receiver thought they knew what was best, the running back thought they knew what was best, the coach had an idea, the quarterback. They faced adversity, disagreement, and conflict. And yet in that moment they decided instead of turning in on each other, and fighting against each other, we're going to.... you ready? We're going to call a huddle, we're going to come up with a plan. Because the last play we ran didn't work, the last thing we did lost yards. So we're going to come up with a solution that says, how do we move the team forward? How do we get to the goal line? How do we all win together? And to get there, they called a huddle. And so I'm just going to say, out loud so you know exactly where we're going today, I'm going to challenge all of us to decide today to never, never, never, never, never engage in a fight with my spouse again. Just say, we're just done, I will never attempt to win, I will never attempt to cause them...I will never engage in a fight again with my spouse. I will always, you ready, call a huddle. I will always come in to say, how do we move this thing forward? How do we win as a team? And we will win together or lose together, but we will not harm one another.

Linn Winters: 08:08 So here we go. Grab your bibles, because scripture has an absolutely vivid explanation of how to turn a fight into a huddle, it's Ephesians chapter four. If you're not familiar, if you go to the back of your Bible, work to the left, you're going to find Ephesians chapter four. And while you're going there, a couple things. I almost never do this, today I'm going to ask you, I'm going to encourage you to take notes. I'm going to give you multiple, multiple behaviors, multiple, multiple decisions that you're going to have to do to transform fights into huddles, and I'm going to ask you to write them down. So if you look in the seat back right in front of you, there's some blank paper there, you can pull that out. You can again just get the big ideas, the big steps. Because here's your homework. On the way home I want you to turn to your spouse and say to them, hey, in the conversation that we just had with Linn, what are the things in there, what's the one thing on the list, that you would say to me? Would you please lean into that? Would you please begin to focus on that? Because if you would, if you would, if that one thing began to move in a positive way in our relationship, I'm just telling you, my heart would be excited. I would find a whole new energy for our relationship. So what's the one thing that I could do that would invigorate you, and give you hope for us? But here's the really cool part, then you get to turn to your spouse and say, hey, here's my one thing I'd like for you to lean into, and do for me, for the next 32 days.

Linn Winters: 09:47 Okay, it's going to be a powerful conversation. Okay, Ephesians chapter four, starting in verse twenty five. Here's kind of the next thing. The conversation that the apostle Paul is having with the Church of Ephesus is simply this. He saying, hey, before you were a Christian, you treated people really crummy. You had no idea how to have good relationships, and the truth is, that most of your behavior caused more damage than it did good. But now that you're a Christ follower, I'm going to call you to start treating the people around you in a completely different way. I'm going to ask you to start treating them the way that Jesus would have treated them. So I'm going to ask you to treat your coworker differently, I'm going to ask you to treat the neighbor down the street differently, I'm going to ask you to treat the clerk at Circle K in a brand new way. So think about this. If this passage is calling you and me to treat acquaintances with a new level of honor and respect, wouldn't this passage be five times more true for our spouses? Because shouldn't our spouses receive from us a greater honor, a greater kindness, than we would treat any other human in our lives? So I'm just going to tell you, that these words on this page should shout to us this morning, about how we ought to behave with our spouses.

Linn Winters: 11:23 All right, here we go. It's Ephesians, chapter four starting in Verse Twenty Five, and here's the first step. The first requirement of taking a fight and turning it into a huddle, and it's simply this, you have to begin with honesty. The first ingredient, the primary ingredient, is we've just got to speak truth to one another. We can't manipulate the moment. We got to say it for what it is. Here we go, verse 25, here's what it says. "Therefore, each of you must put off false hood and speak truthfully to your neighbor. For we are members of one body." Now, let's be honest, when you and I are engaged in a fight, when we're in a disagreement, it becomes tactical to make sure that we can gain the high ground, that we can win the argument. Which means there's moments in there where you and I, oh, okay. There may be this much truth in what I'm about to say, but now I'm going to leverage this thing to my advantage. I'm going to make sure I don't leave any opportunity to get caught in this, and if that means being false, and if that means lying so that I can win the argument I'll be it all, I'll be it. You know another way that we're dishonest in our arguments, is we blame shift. See, we say something like this, well, the only reason I did what I did, was because you did that thing first. You realize that's dishonest, right? Because at the end of the day, you ready for this? You are 100 percent responsible for how you behaved, no matter what they did first. I get it, it may have irritated me, and bothered you, it doesn't change that you are 100 percent responsible for the way you acted in return. And so when I blame shift, it's just another form of dishonesty in the moment. But we do this because, tactically, it helps us win an argument. But here's what you got to get, it's possible to win an argument and lose a relationship.

Linn Winters: 13:44 I've got a friend, and I'm going to change the name because some of the stories are not necessarily flattering. I've got several stories, and I'll change the name in all of them, because the stories are true. So we'll just call him Jeff. So I had a friend named Jeff, and I will tell you that in all the years that I knew Jeff, Jeff never lost a fight. He never lost an argument. I mean, I'm telling you, literally never. Because Jim was a wordsmith, Jim had the ability to take and turn, and twist it every single time he was advantage. Jim was incredibly sharp on his feet, and he was quick with an answer, and he could outflank you. And the crazy part was, in the midst of it, you went, I know he's shoveling me a pile. I know, I know he's diverting and [inaudible] I know, I know, but I can't pin him down, I can't get around him. And I'm telling you, Jeff never lost an argument. Can I tell you what he did lose? He lost every friend he ever had, including two marriages. Why? Because when you and I are dishonest, when you and I manipulate the facts so that we can win an argument, that means somebody has to lose an argument. And the person on the other end is left with this, what we were just having conflict, what we were just discussing, it's never going to change. Because since Jim won the argument, since we couldn't pin him down, since he's not taking any ownership. here's what I know. The next time the same set of circumstances come up, he is going to do the same thing, because he won't even acknowledge it. And so the behavior is just repeated over and over and over again. And finally you just say to Jeff, Jeff, we are beating our heads against the same thing for the last 20 years. I'm worn out. He lost every friend, and blew up two marriages. How much more powerful to have simply brought honesty to the huddle. To in that moment. Just say, I did it. I got jealous and I acted like a jerk. And I'm just saying out loud, I see it, and I'm telling you the next time I see those same things, I'm telling you I'm going to hold my heart in check and I'm going to do my best not to repeat that.

Linn Winters: 16:53 And doesn't honesty suddenly bring hope? Because you've said I see it, and I'm trying to work on it. How about this? Hey, I lost my anger, no, no, I did, I lost my anger. Let me tell you, you'd already pushed my button two other times. And so this was the third time, and when the third time happened, because I had already had the two, I brought the frustration of all three times and my reaction was just over the top. But the truth is, that's not fair, because the other two times I didn't talk to you about it. I didn't deal with it, and so you got three barrels full, so next time, next time when it bothers me for the first time we'll talk. How much more powerful is honesty then lying? So let me ask you a question. Got any Jeff in you? You've got the ability to kind of navigate and turn the conversation, and win the advantage, and it's not about resolution or solution. It's about winning the argument and you are a master argumenteer, which means you get to win and your spouse gets to lose. Is there any Jeff in you?

Linn Winters: 18:31 Back to the passage. Number two, turning fights into huddles means that timing, timing, is a big deal, especially when it comes to anger. That what I do with my anger, because there's going to be, let's just be honest, there's going to be moments and things are going to hit me and my heart's going to flare up. And in that moment of experiencing anger, timing is huge in turning what could have been a fight into a huddle. Let's read the passage starts in verse 26, here's what it says, "In your anger, do not sin." Here's what's interesting. Paul doesn't say that being angry is sin, anger is an emotion. He says when you feel that anger, and when you do that anger, be really, really careful. Because if you begin to lash out, and act on that anger, you most likely are going to take this into sin. "In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you're still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." Now here's what I think he's saying, think about this, he says, hey, when you feel that anger beginning to well up, be careful that you don't go into reactionary mode. That you just don't go okay, I'm going to go, I'm going to get this done, I'm going to settle this right now. And what we do in that moment, if you're a reactor, you get there and you emotionally vomit. You just (vomiting sounds), when you get done, you feel great because you got it all off your chest, because you're a reactor. And here Paul is saying, hey guys, in your anger the things you're going to say, the intensity with which you're going to say them, has the capacity to cause deep, wounding, damage because you acted in anger.

Linn Winters: 20:40 But here's the contrast, think about this. He then says, "Do not let the sun go down on your anger." I think he's
actually drawing a contrast in timeline, he says, don't jump in the first moment that it happened, but don't let this thing linger. Don't wait too long to deal with it, because waiting too long can actually become a problem too. I know couples that take that verse literally, and they go okay, so if we have a fight at 11:55 at night, we just don't go to bed until we talk it through. If that's working for you, that's good. At 11:55, I'm probably not in a good place. But what I do think the principle is simply this. You need to deal with this in a timely manner. You need to not let this thing go on and on, because here's the deal, some of us are reactors, but some of us are retreaters. And so when something comes up and it causes us to be really frustrated, really angry, but here's what we decide, I'm just going to ignore it. I'm going to pretend that it didn't happen, I'm going to push it under a rug, and we'll just move on. Here's the problem. When you do that, your heart walks up to the board and puts down a mark. Was an idiot, was unkind, and a mark is established in your heart, pushed under the rug or not. And then Paul says, when you do either, when you jump in and react and go after somebody in that moment of it, or when you just simply ignore it and hide and don't ever deal with it, you let the sun go down on it. Both of those give the devil a foothold. The reactor, the reactor, because you say too much and you say it too harshly.

Linn Winters: 22:34 I can't tell you, because I'm intuitively a reactor. And in boy, you know what, if you finally push my buttons, here I come. And I can't tell you how many times Lisa's had to say to me, Hey, Linn, Linn, Linn, Linn, you were a 100 percent right, I mean what they did was wrong, what you said was spot on. Here's the problem, you don't get angry that often, so when you do get angry, it just feels like to everybody around like.... Then Linn, you're a wordsmith, and so you're able to take words that are incredibly powerful and attach those to your frustration. And Linn, it just feels like your body slamming people emotionally in your anger, and when you move in anger Linn, it's sin.

Linn Winters: 23:42 I know couples where one of the people in the relationship is a retreater, they never deal with anything, they just put it all under the rug, but they put marks on the wall. Can I tell you that the marriage that has the least amount of hope of being restored is the marriage of a retreater. Because here's what happens, over the years, they put mark, upon mark, upon mark, upon mark, they've never dealt with any of it, remember they didn't bring it up. They just let the sun go down on it, and now they put another mark on the board. And now they come in for marriage counseling, and their marriage is in desperate trouble. And I'll say to the retreater, "Hey, what are all those marks on your board?"

Linn Winters: 24:23 And here's what they'll say to me, "I don't know. I mean this has happened over 10, 11, 12 years. I can't remember all the marks, but here's what I know, every mark is valid and my chalkboard is full."

Linn Winters: 24:43 And so then I'll say to them, "Okay, what could I say to you as a counselor, that would cause you to maybe just erase a small corner of this board? To give us some margin to start working on your marriage?"

Linn Winters: 24:59 And you know what the answer is every time from a retreater? "Nothing, because my spouse has earned those marks."

Linn Winters: 25:09 And then I'll ask, "Okay, okay, so if there's nothing I can say, what is it that your spouse could do? What would be the thing that would be so honorable on their part? What would be the thing that would be such a significant gesture on their part? If they began to do this, you would consider erasing a few of those marks you got, so that there would be some room to try to take your marriage forward?"

Linn Winters: 25:33 And every time a retreater says, "There's nothing they can do, they filled my board, and I'm done."

Linn Winters: 25:42 No wonder Paul says, your timing is huge. You can't jump in, say all sorts of wounding hurtful things. But you've got to deal with it, you can't let the sun go down, you can't wait so long that all it becomes is a forgotten mark on a board, and the board fills up, and instead find the right time.

Linn Winters: 26:15 Awhile back, I'm in a meeting, and you just need to know that kind of my leadership style is style that says, Hey, I like people challenging ideas. And I like us being able to be really honest, push back on each other, say hard things. I'm good with all that, to me, that's a great meeting. But I also think we need to treat each other with some respect, in the midst of that, and I was in a meeting awhile back and in the midst of the meeting there was one individual who just went over the line. I mean there was just a level of saying things they shouldn't say, in ways they shouldn't say them. The conversation wasn't going the direction they wanted, and in their frustration... I got done with the meeting, I walked into my office and can I tell you that in my angst in that moment, I thought I'm walking down to his office right now, and I'm going to (slapping sounds). We're just going to straighten it out, because that was just bad, that was wrong. And then I remembered this verse, in your anger, do not sin, but don't let the sun go down, so I decided to wait. Here's what's interesting about me, in the next probably day and a half, I actually got angrier. I actually thought of four more reasons why they were a jerk, I had a great case, and then my heart calmed. And as my heart calmed, suddenly my words became clear. And so not waiting too long, I called this individual in and I said, hey, can we just talk? Because a couple of days ago were in a meeting, and you just need to hear me say that there were some moments, there were some things you said. And I repeated them. I just felt that crossed the line. I mean I like input and everything. But when we start saying things like that, and can I just encourage us, that we wouldn't do that together anymore. And it was interesting because the individual that I was talking to said, you know what Linn? I hadn't even thought about it since then, but now that you bring it up, and now that we say it, I think I get it. And you have my word, because you know what, I want to be a team, and so I won't go there again. And are you ready for this? We left the huddle better friends than we were before the conversation, Because timing in your anger is everything, you don't engage, you don't react and go after it in the moment, and you don't let the sun go down and it become a mark.

Linn Winters: 29:02 Back to the passage. Number three, if you're going to turn a fight into a huddle, then you need to bring solutions and not accusations. I'm going to bring an answer, not just pointing out that we're broken and that this isn't working. Solutions, not blame. Okay? Grab your bibles, it's verse 28, here's what it says, "Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need." Now think about this, dude's a thief, dude's a thief. How easy would it be in the church, because this is the context, right? How easy would it be in the church to say, look, we need to warn everybody about this guy. We need to tell all the women not to leave their purses out, we probably should make the guy wear a red shirt, thief. So that everybody knows, hey, when you're around this dude, you know you need to be careful. If he tries to sell you land in Florida, right? How easy would it be? Hey, we just need to establish his guilt, and make sure he understands what we're blaming him for. But in contrast, think about this, in contrast here's what Paul does, he goes, no, no, no, you're right, that's what he was doing, that's what he was. So here's the plan, here's the solution, Moving forward, we're going to put this guy to work. We're going to give him something else, besides stealing, to do with his hands. And whatever he produces, whatever he does with his work, we're now going to use for the needy. You realize he's putting this guy in ministry. He's saying, how do we get this guy a win? How do we move what was negative, into something that's positive? And Paul is talking solution.

Linn Winters: 30:59 Years ago, I'm taking a group of students, we're going up to the Indian reservation. We're going to do a missions trip. We've never been to this particular spot before. So we began the journey, we pulled out something that you may not have ever heard of, it was called a map. Now in the old days we didn't have google maps, we had a piece of paper. I know that's brain blowing, right? A piece of paper. And on that piece of paper it had every single little city that was there, and you had to do like this kind of where's Waldo moment to try to find where you were going, and then you had to add all the numbers on the map to find out how far it was. I mean it was an adventure to travel. And nobody said, turn right here. So here we are, we're traveling along, we're heading up the right way, we know we're on this highway. And we know that up ahead there's a fork in the road, and we've got to get onto highway 89. So we get to the fork, we turn off onto highway 89, and we keep going. As we're going, things stop adding up. We knew that we were supposed to be gaining altitude, which meant we were going to run into some pine trees. Instead it felt like we were losing altitude, getting further into the desert. When you looked at the map, it looked like the road stayed the same the whole way, but the road we were on was getting smaller, smaller, rougher. If we went much further, we're going to need four wheel drive, and so we started to ask the question, are we on highway 89, because this just doesn't feel right. Up ahead was a sign, and as we got closer to the sign, guess what the sign said, this is not highway 89. It was as if some road worker had said, there are a bunch of idiots turning here thinking it's highway 89, and we are simply going to establish how stupid they are by putting a sign up that says you blew it, ha, ha, ha. How helpful was that sign? It did nothing but establish failure. It did nothing to move us in the right direction. Matter of fact, now we're sitting there and we're looking on the map and we're saying, well, if we made the mistake, and this is the road we're on, it looks like we could go forward and maybe there's a road that goes up to highway 89. But what if we're not on that road? How far back did we miss highway 89? I mean, how far back would we have to backtrack, to get back on track? Do you realize it all could have been solved with one line on the sign that said, turn around, 3.2 miles, turn right? If it would have offered solution, instead of blame, if it would have given a plan, instead of a criticism. How often are we a highway 89 sign?

Linn Winters: 34:27 How often do we say stuff like this, you always neglect our family. What's helpful about that? Tell me one thing that I know to do now, other than the fact that you were establishing my blame and guilt, and if your plan is the lightest stick of dynamite, throw it into the relationship, and that's a great phrase. How about this one? You are always disrespectful. Where do I go from there? See, all I've done is offer criticism and blame, I have not offered any solution. I haven't told you what to do with your hands, and we're going to work for them. All right? Imagine if I called a huddle, and what if in the huddle, instead of worrying about blame, I simply offered a solution. What if I said something like this? Hey, I know we both love our family, and we've both said we want spend time with our family, but our schedule's been crazy, right? I mean, you've been going, I've been going, we've been going and we just haven't gotten that done even though it's important to us. Could we come up with a plan that every Tuesday night just becomes family dinner night? Could we just do that, so that we would know that we've made a priority time for our family. And guys look, look, look, my guess is that if we offered solution instead of criticism, that at least 90 percent of the time your spouse would go, oh, you're telling me a family dinner night would move us? I would do that, I would do that. How about a conversation that says, hey, you know when we're out, and kind of double dating with our friends and stuff, it seems like on a fairly consistent basis, a discussion about kind of my shortcomings, and the places that I've fumbled it as a spouse, become the topic of conversation. And I know, I know, I know, I know, it's kind of done in fun, and there's lots of giggling and laughing about it. Can I just tell you that when that's happening, I feel greatly disrespected. I mean it just moves me, and makes me feel defeated. Could we make an agreement that when we're out with friends, that I, and my failings, not become the topic of conversation? And I just promise you that I'll do the same for you. I'll not throw you under the bus, I won't... And my guess is that if you came with solution, your spouse would be all in. So let me ask you a question. Are you traveling highway 89? Are you putting up road signs for your spouse that are all about, hey, you didn't, and you failed, and you never, or are you coming with solutions? Hey, could we begin, could we from this day forward start?

Linn Winters: 37:48 Here we go, back to the passage. If you're going to turn fights into huddles then it is absolutely, absolutely, absolutely critical that you keep it kind. That you just say, hey, look, as we do this, I'm not going to cause any unnecessary injury, I'm not going to bring wounds, that aren't just absolutely essential, I'm going to keep it kind. It's verse 29, here's what it says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths." And I did a Greek study on the word "any", and guess what "any" means in the original Greek? Any! Pretty remarkable, right? "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up others according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Isn't it true that our weapon of last resort is words? That we get into a fight, and somewhere we go, okay, I've lost the advantage, they're winning the argument. Or maybe it's just gone to a stalemate, and we go man, if I don't do something, this was going to go on for hours. And so we reach out, and we push the big red button, we launch the nukes. And we began to say words for the physical intent of wounding that person. Because we're just going, look, here's the deal, I'm going to settle it now, I'm going to get it done now. So I'm not going to talk about the issue at hand, I'm going to start personal attack. I'm just going to wound you so deeply that you will acquiesce, you will give up. And so now we use words that are harmful and hurtful. You are a....fill in the blank. Because whatever you put in that blank has nothing to do with your argument, it has nothing to do with the item at hand, it has everything to do with, I am going to wound you. You're a... How about this one? You're just like your mom. That may be the dirtiest one of them all, right. Why did I say that? I didn't say that because that was helpful to the discussion, I said that because I'm going to beat you down, I'm going to pull words out like a weapon, and I'm going to hack until you can't take it anymore.

Linn Winters: 40:32 I'm in sixth grade, I get to the class, and the teacher must have been running late that day because the door to the classroom is locked. So now I'm standing outside the classroom waiting for teacher to get there. A couple other boys show up, and while we were standing there, one of the boys named Donnie, not his real name, Donnie begins to call me names. I have no idea, it's just what sixth grade boys do. And so he begins to call me names, and the names he chose were the most hurtful names you could say to a sixth grade boy. And I just, I had no idea how to react, I didn't know how to navigate the moment. And the other boys, seeing the blood in the water, now jumped in and begin to cascade all sorts of things. I eventually ran away, I ran home, I ditched school that day. My mom came home from work and she said, hey, the principal called me, said you ditched out of school today. What happened? I told her the story, and then my mom did the most horrible, horrible, horrible, humiliating thing, she called the principal. The boys came in with their parents. It was horrible. Six years later, I'm in high school, and I had made a choice in high school to just be outspoken about my faith, to let everybody know where I stood with Jesus. One of my personal decisions was I would carry my bible every single day so everybody would just know that I was a follower of Christ. And so I'm sitting in the lunch, and there's a guy across the table from me and he says, hey, do you know Donnie? I said, yeah, I know Donnie. He said, well, you and Donnie would get along great, because Donnie is an on fire, sold out, follower of Jesus. Anybody want to guess what my heart said in that moment? There is no way that Donny, the one who could inflict that much pain, be that vile to my heart, could ever love my Jesus. And you get I was wrong, right? And I've long since forgiven, and I'm okay on the deal. But what does it mean to you, think about this, what does it mean to you that six years later I could not even imagine him being a Christ follower? I wonder what we do to our spouses with our words, and the damage we do to their hearts. What does it mean to you that I stand here 40 years later, and I can still tell you the words he said?

Linn Winters: 43:11 And I'm just telling you, that when you push the big red button, when you bring your words out as weapons, it doesn't work to go, oh, I didn't mean it. The radioactive fallout from what you've just done, in order to win a battle, will linger. No wonder scripture says, you keep it kind. Don't ever, ever, ever use horrible hurting words. Instead, ready? The only words you use are the words that build up and edify. How much more powerful, think about this, how much more powerful in that moment to simply say, Hey, I am 100 percent committed to our relationship, I am a 100 percent in. But what you need to know is, is that when you do that, when you behave that way, I feel my heart shrinking back. And I don't want that to ever be true, so could I encourage you that we not do that anymore? You spoke the truth, you said it in kindness, you built up. Anybody here a Donny? You've used your words to win an argument, that you've left radioactive fallout all over your relationship.

Linn Winters: 44:48 So here's the challenge. We're going to drive home today. We're going to turn to our spouse, we're going to say, hey, which of the things that Linn talked about, what are the things that if I leaned into, what could I do to take what's has been fights, and turn them into huddles in our relationship? And for the next 32 days we're going to lean in, we're going to change this thing. And how cool would it be if we left this room and said, I refuse to ever fight with my spouse again, I have decided today that I will only huddle with them. It would change your marriage, because the greatest determiner of how long you're going to make it, is how you treat somebody when you disagree with them.

Linn Winters: 45:28 Let's pray. Hey, dear Lord Jesus, thank you for words that ring true into our lives. Thank you for challenging us to live differently than the people around us live. And God today, in this moment, we simply determine in our hearts not to be the wounders, the defeaters, of our spouse. But instead, to invite them onto a team that bonds together in a huddle and says, how do we move the ball forward, how do we win this game together? God turn our fights into huddles. In Jesus' precious name, Amen.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286