"A gentle answer turns away wrath."
Perhaps when I became a wife, or parent, I assumed, I would be able to be mature, healthy, loving, and successful at these relationships. Conflict in my own heart and life, the stress of living with so many needs and so many demands showed me my selfishness. I longed, though, for mercy. I wanted to be understood--that I had a heart to be good at these relationships but sometimes I just couldn't--my own selfishness got in the way. I meant to be patient, giving, loving, but I had my limits.
And so did my children--and all were different and all pushed my buttons in different ways. It was through my different children and the demands of everyday life, that I learned the need for gentleness, that I craved another chance--again.
“Two men went up into the temple to pray,
one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself:
‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’
But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven,
but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’
I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Where does a woman find the ability to be gentle, to show mercy and understanding and compassion?
When she understands that her heart is selfish, prone to making bad choices, limited in patience, and just beginning to understand what love requires. Then she understands that she herself is fragile; then she will extend the grace she wishes to others she loves, because they, too, are fragile and want gentleness and mercy.
If a mama understands that her children, like her, are going to make mistakes, have accidents, show the dark heart of sin, she will not condemn them harshly for being so.
Instead, from a heart that knows she does not deserve the grace and love of Jesus, but receives it nonetheless, she will extend her patience and mercy and gentleness to her children to show them the real heart of Jesus.
She will still teach and train and correct as Jesus did, but gentleness and compassion come from a humbled heart.
You see, showing gentleness and mercy comes from a heart that recognizes the need for gentleness and mercy for herself.