“A gentle answer turns away wrath. But harsh words make tempers flare.” Proverbs 15:1
A few years ago, I was standing in the hallway of the hotel where we were hosting our mom’s conference, I noticed a sweet mama who looked as though she was at the end of her rope. Holding a several months old baby, who was arching his little back and crying as though his heart would break, she looked beside herself.
Offering to hold her little one so she could get some rest. Sure enough he would begin to quiet and then something, probably a little girgly tummy would cause him to begin to wail once again. I held him up, check to cheek, his to mine, with my mouth aimed toward his little ear.
Softly I began to talk to him and then I would sing the song so often sung to my children, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,” very softly, very gently. He would quiet down. Then another cry would begin, and I would talk to him very softly, “You are not alone, you are so very precious, you are a darling boy,” lyrically, in a singing voice, holding his soft cheek smack against my cheek so he could feel mine. Each time my voice started, each time I sang words to his heart. his little eyes got big and he would quiet.
Suddenly, he fell fast asleep.
Whether my children were young and tiny or old, and if they were in a snit, if I wrapped my demeanor, by my will, in softness and gentleness and answered their anger in a gentle voice, non-accusing eyes, they were more likely than not to listen to me and to respond.
“I understand you are feeling frustrated or angry, but I want to listen to you and understand what you are saying so that I can help you.”
Angry words answered with loud voice and accusation, just adds fuel to the flame of anger. Gentleness and sympathy puts water on the fire of one’s angry heart, and soothes the frustrated feelings.. Once I had this scripture in my head and learned to use it in many relationship situations, I saw how effective this piece of wisdom was—all of us desire, in our frustration, to be honored.
There is no absolute solution or formula to calming an angry quarrel. Yet, wisdom from proverbs has often saved the moment for my family.
A hormonal teen, an exhausted toddler, a school-aged child, or a husband who is angry—all of these, long to be treated with focused attention, an understanding heart and a loving response.
As we all know, it is natural to react in like—anger to anger. However, it is from the Spirit of Him who is love that leads us to react in love. And yet, as the Spirit lives through us, we will see His power and fruit drawing others to Him in us, when we choose to remember bits of truth he has left for us to follow. A gentle answer, turns away anger.
Gentleness grows stronger with practice. It comes with humility. It grows as wisdom and takes root in the heart that values the ones she loves. May God grant us to become gentle in our love, that others may see Him through us.
Today, I am speaking with my friend, Amber Lia. She and her friend, Wendy Speak, have written a wonderful book called Triggers: Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. You will love this podcast and love this book.
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