* The speaker has a lack of respect for the hearer.
* The speaker shows disrespect with his words.
* The hearer is grieved by the obvious lack of love on the part of the speaker.
* The hearer begins allowing the hurt to accumulate.
* Finally, in anger, the hearer confronts the speaker.
* The speaker retaliates, adding to the wounds of the hearer.
* The hearer breaks all contact with the speaker.
This kind of thing happens millions of times every day! If it is simply two neighbors, they can cease to speak with each other. However, if it is two family members, the consequences have a much greater effect; the conflict tends to cause family members to choose sides, and the battle lines are drawn! If the conflict is between a husband and a wife, the resulting divorce even splits the "family tree." Especially if there are children involved!
This happened in the Bible. In Genesis 16:1-16, a barren Sarah suggests Abraham "short cut" God's plan to give him a son, by him "taking" Hagar, Sarah's maid servant. Abraham, lacking faith that God would produce a child from his wife, probably had little resistance to "lying with" the younger Hagar. As soon as Hagar conceived, she began displaying a disrespectful attitude toward Sarah. Later in Genesis 21:9-14, Sarah could stand it no longer, she demanded Abraham send Hagar and her son, Ishmael, away. As a result, nearly four thousand years later, the children of Sarah and the children of Hagar, are still fighting!
The writer of the Book of Hebrews warned about allowing "wounds to fester." He wrote: "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled" (Heb. 12:14-15).
As Barney Fife used to say, "Nip it in the bud!"