Whenever I share the “4 Peace-making Responses for Difficult Situations” people write them down (end of blog post). They are life-savers for those awkward moments and difficult people!
Alma and Amulek’s persecution in Ammonihah is horrific. Nonetheless, their silence and refusal to engage with their tormentors is inspirational. Whereas, sometimes I have so much to say for much less of a violation. For example, just yesterday, I had a few words for my husband who turned down the irrigation water on the wilting tomatoes…
The grace Alma and Amulek demonstrated is a masterful lesson in human relations. This story has me paying a visit to my own soul. How much more powerful all of us would be if we took our cues from them?
All the men who believed on Alma and Amulek’s words were cast out and chased with stones clear to Sidon. Immediately after, their women and children are gathered and burned by fire along with their sacred writings. Alma and Amulek are made to watch the cruel death of the innocents.
“And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene”? (Alma 14:10)
This is followed by imprisonment, nakedness, starvation, hitting and crowd taunting of the worst kind.
“And many such things did they say unto them, gnashing their teeth upon them, and spitting upon them, and saying: How shall we look when we are damned”?
“And many such things, yea, all manner of such things did they say unto them; and thus they did mock them for many days. And they did withhold food from them that they might hunger, and water that they might thirst; and they also did take from them their clothes that they were naked; and thus they were bound with strong cords, and confined in prison.” (Alma 14:21-22)
This is amazing…
18…they came in unto the prison to see them, and they questioned them about many words; but they answered them nothing.
This happens several times, mostly accompanied with physical and emotional abuse. Alma and Amulek say nothing when they had every right to say quite a bit. Interestingly, Christ did the same thing.
12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. (Matthew 27:12-14)
The human race habitually throws out verbal darts, shaming, guilting, public humiliation and accusations. There will always be a few lost, mean-spirited souls in every crowd. On top of that, mortals (even the best of them) have weak, selfish moments which impact us. It’s a guaranteed experience. Our unwanted encounters may not be on the same life-and-death threat level as our heroes. Nonetheless, it makes for misery.
For all the lesser infractions with regular people and daily situations, how do we get to the point that we can respond with Alma and Amulek’s kind of peace? How does this compare to the cultural norm of screaming injustice?
Some Emotions Are Really Addictions
Indignation, anger, fault-finding, ranting and raving, resentment, ill-will, blaming…those are all emotional appetites and passions. They are also addictions. In addition, they are often not completely honest, and sometimes gives one a false sense of self-importance. Recognizing them as bad habits to be broken really helps. The apostle James hits this principle spot on. Key phrases are highlighted.
“And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body…it is set on fire of hell.“
“But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. [Righteous indignation is a fairy tale.]
“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”
“And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” (James 3:6, 14-18)
4 Peace-making Responses for Difficult Situations
First, it’s essential we work on growing our heart, taming our responses and empowering our spirituality. For sure, this process takes time and effort but don’t skip this critical life-step or you will sadly miss out.Shawnie Cannon ~ Divine Code
Meanwhile, here are four extraordinary phrases which calm and neutralize awkward, angry moments inflicted by others. You’ll want to write them down and practice substituting them for your usual response (which includes defending, arguing, proving, and setting the record straight). I call it the “art of not picking it up.” In other words, don’t engage.
Saying these phrases with no emotion whatsoever takes practice, but works the very best.
1 I’ll keep that in mind (works 75% of the time). It’s a neutral statement. You do not confirm anything said. Instead, you are civil and validate the other person by listening. On top of that, you get to decide how long it stays in your head. It could be 1-second or it could be something you decide needs introspection on your own time.
2 Let me think about that and get back to you. You then decide if you want to revisit the point. If you deal with a habitual drama-maker, remember, they probably want commotion in the moment and this response is super boring for them. Plus, they’re likely to forget about it before you do and become occupied with some other more entertaining drama. If it is a loved one having a bad moment or someone you want to remain on really good terms with, this buys you some space and time and allows you to clear the emotions. Frequently, especially with family, we do need to work things through.
3 I have no response to that. I actually love this one. Did it ever occur to you that just because someone (even people you care about) lay a charge or awkward moment at your feet, or asks you a demanding question…you are not obligated to engage or provide an answer? You are completely in choice here. You can choose to say this with kind tones, neutral tones or firmer ones (but never indignant or angry tones – no emotion is best.) Some conversations are just not worth having, period.
4 That’s a story. Use this one sparingly. It’s more for your worst offenders. For example, the scapegoaters, the ones who are gagging to find something wrong, the ranters and ravers, the ones who frequently accuse and put you on the spot. It’s great for the ones who may need to have their nonsense put back in their lap. This is not a phrase that generally leads to future endearment. So be wise.
My daughter Shannon says this in her own way and I love it! “Oh, so that’s how the story goes for you…huh.” And nods her head with a neutral, thoughtful facial expression. She’s on her mission in Florida…I just adore her.
It takes practice to replace our knee-jerk reactions with better responses. Don’t give up when your 20/20 hindsight realizes you should have used one of these four phrases instead of stooping to someone’s compromised emotions and engaging. If you write the four phrases down and study them occasionally, they will become part of your automated responses. You know…those moments you don’t have time to think it through.
May you “not pick it up.” and may the blessings of peace and confidence be yours.