I remember listening each year to fire-safety teachers explain the importance of a maneuver descriptively called the “stop, drop and roll.” If you find yourself on fire, the best thing you can do is stop running, drop to the ground and roll around to extinguish the flames.
This sage advice can be applied to other situations as well.
Sometimes, when you see that an argument or confrontation is only going to escalate, you must choose to “stop, drop and roll.” This may be the best plan to extinguish the flames of a fiery situation before serious, permanent damage is done in that relationship.
Couples experiencing trouble in this department should hammer out a plan where they stop their arguing, drop to their knees in prayer, and, if necessary, roll to a safe place until cooler heads and hearts can prevail. Then, when both parties are able, return and attempt to resolve the issue. Walking away and disengaging until a more appropriate time is not cowardice or avoidance at all – it is self-control and wisdom.
“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)
We certainly do not want to let the sun go down on our anger, but a temporary break can often help us be angry and not sin.
Neurologists tell us that extreme stress often results in the over-activation of the amygdale, a small almond-shaped region of the brain. This physiological state produces a surge of adrenaline called the “fight or flight” response and starts shutting down the rational regions of our brain, which is not conducive to conflict resolution at all.
So, if your discussion is taking a wrong turn and your stress level is rising so much that an outburst is likely, STOP immediately. If the situation is only going to escalate into sinful anger and hurtful words, then this is the best course of action.
If the situation allows it, DROP to your knees – literally or metaphorically – and seek the comfort and peace that comes from the Lord in prayer. Confess your wrongdoing and bad attitudes and ask for divine help in righteously resolving the issue before you. Hopefully, you will sense a return of calm and self-control.
If, however, you are still bound up on the inside and feeling a high level of stress, then you should probably ROLL.
Leave the situation.
You stopped arguing and attempted to spiritually equalize in prayer, but one or both of you are still in the “fight or flight” response. You need to walk away from the confrontation until both parties are able to resume rationally and righteously.
Don’t trap yourself or others in a no-win situation. Stop, drop and roll.