When leading the passive resistive through listening, first, we need to be peaceful. Stirring up anger and anxiety increases the amount of conflict perceived by the passive resistive and shuts down the joy of any forward movement. Proverbs records: “There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace” (Proverbs 12:20). We need to be gentle in our communication, modeling harmony, or the passive resistive will not even hear us. Solomon said: “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, even his enemies live at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
Peaceful communication features a passion for reconciliation. This allows us to connect with the heart of the passive resistive who desires contentment. That desire for contentment is actually satisfied in peace. The Apostle Paul taught: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). He reiterated Scripture’s consistent theme that Jesus Christ is the peace of God (Ephesians 2:14). Only He can satisfy the desire for contentment through reconciliation of our relationship with God as well as our relationship with others.
When you encounter a passive resistive, first, connect with his heart’s desire for contentment and be peaceful. Communicate gently by softening your tone of voice and choice of words. Speak in a tone of reconciliation. Resist the temptation to make loud, combative statements like, “Why won’t you support this project?” Instead, with a soft peaceful tone, offer, “Do you have any questions or insights about our small steps toward improvement?” Christ the peace of God will equip you to lead the passive resistive through listening.