Friday, March 24, 2017

One-Liners to Avoid in an Argument

They slice and dice, cutting wounds not easily healed by pacifying words.

They inflame like a lit match near gasoline.

They suck the life out of all that they touch. 

They’re the zingers we fling at each other during arguments, the cruel and aggressive wisecracks or retorts that escalate a fight like nothing else. And when the zingers begin to outnumber the kind words spoken to each other, it may be too late to fix the relationship because the love has dried up and blown away.

Learning how to communicate well in a conflict—how to argue without hurting and insulting each other—is possibly the most important relationship survival skill ever. Doing so reduces divorce and domestic violence rates—and increases personal happiness, relationship satisfaction and peace of mind.

Here, then, are a few one-liners you’d do well to avoid: 

“That’s not what’s happening here!” This is just one of many versions of the line: “I’m right and you’re wrong!” And whether you say it or just think it, the only thing “You’re wrong!” creates is a lose-lose situation. 

“You always…” or “You never…” Starting a sentence with either two-word phrase is guaranteed to raise temperatures. How about stating instead that the other person does XYZ “more times than feels good.” Rather than, “You never listen to me,” try something like this: “When you respond that way, I get the sense that you’re not understanding me in the way I’d like you to.” 

“You really know how to hurt me.” This line assumes that the other person is intentionally trying to hurt you. It also implies that someone other than yourself has power over what you feel. It places you in the role of emotional “victim.” But you can choose whether or not to be hurt by someone’s actions.

“How can you be that way?” This isn’t really a question. It’s an aggressive statement something to the effect of, “You’re a terrible person, and you should be ashamed of yourself."

Of course, these are mild, compared to the even more hurtful words we can come up with in the heat of an argument. But for love to flourish and deepen, for healthy and long-lasting relationships, we need to learn how to incorporate acceptance, self-understanding, compassion and tolerance into our conflicts. And maybe one-liners like, “I love you!”

We keep arguing because we think we are right or we have to defend ourselves even if we were wrong; but there is a deeper meaning: we argue because we care about this particular subject matter. I used to argue with James a lot about parenting issues. To change, I need to have more awareness, knowledge, and skills, and I need to be intentional. How about you? What kind of improvements do you need?

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." (James 1:19-20)

Author's content used with permission, © Claire Communications

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Workshops at BASS Convention 2017

Some of you are wondering why I am not presenting any workshop at BASS this year. One reason is I wanted to take a break after teaching every year since 2006; but the most important reason is that my husband James will be presenting four workshops this year. So I wanted to be there to listen to him and support him the way he has been supporting me all these years, although I think he still will be his own tech guy!

As you know, I became a Christian in January, 1989 and my changed life caught James by surprise. In order to make sure I was not involved in a cult, James started his own investigation by studying the Bible. And as the saying goes, "The rest is history."

If you wonder how two strong-willed high tech professionals could change and become ONE team as husband and wife (and as parents, grandparents and co-workers in ministries), come and find out how reading and applying the Bible could really change lives by the truth and grace of God.

Here are the line up for four workshops to be presented by Rev. James Chiang. Beware that two will be in English on Friday (Christian Ed track), and two in Mandarin (Asian track) on Saturday. See you there!

Reading Between the Lines: Sharpen Your Bible Interpretation Skills (English)
Friday, March 3, 2017 - 9:00-10:15 AM Room: N11

Reading between the lines will help track the author's train of thought. Why should we capture the train of thought of a Biblical author? An author will develop the points of his writing by leaving clues. Capturing the author's thought process from the clues left for us goes a long way for us to go after God's own heart. This workshop, “Reading between the lines”, introduces a simple method to uncover the biblical author’s train of thought by asking the right questions from the context of the Scripture.

Discovering the Value Gap: Applying Scripture (English)
Friday, March 3, 2017 - 1:30-2:45 PM Room: N11

We all have preconceived notions, and our value system supports and reinforces these notions. Just by understanding the Bible alone will not change our default thinking, unless we could discern the gap between our value system and God's. This workshop helps the Bible reader to discern the gap, thus guiding the reader in personal transformation, in order to acquire the mind of Christ by the renewing of the mind.

Reading Between the Lines: Sharpen Your Bible Interpretation Skills (Mandarin)
Saturday, March 4, 2017 - 8:00-9:15 AM Room: N10

Discovering the Value Gap: Applying Scripture (Mandarin)
Saturday, March 4, 2017 - 12:45-2:00 PM Room: N10
我們都有先入為主的觀念。這些觀念來自於我們的價值觀,以至根深蒂固。單靠理解聖經很難改變我們先入為主的觀念,除非我們能夠看出我們的價值觀和神心意之間的差距。 《破舊立新》研討會能幫助聖經讀者認清差距,從而導致心意更新而變化,以得著基督的心。 本研討會將以普通話進行。

The Word of God is powerful. Reading His Word and praying establish two-way communication between our God and us. James and I both have come a long way. I am amazed how much I have enjoyed studying the Bible with James and talking about real-life issues that matter to each of us. I pray that these workshops would be helpful to you and other brothers and sisters in your faith community. Looking forward to seeing you at BASS 2017.

You could find out more about BASS 2017 at