Rebeka Fry of the 'Redefining Femininity' blog has given us a great post titled "The Power of a Gentle Answer". I love how she weaves the power and affect of the Gospel through her examination of this very practical issue. In particular, I think she makes an important point when she points out that in the process of learning to give gentle answers we rid ourselves of the tyranny of our emotions. This is not to say all emotions are wrong, just that when they control us they are tyrannical. It brings Matthew 11:28-30 to mind.
So as to not steal all her thunder, allow me to just post selected portions of Rebeka's post. If you are blessed by what you read, and I'm sure you will be, please read the rest at 'Redefining Femininity'.
"A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger."
~ Proverbs 15:1 ~
When someone speaks rudely or responds in an insensitive tone towards us, our human inclination is to respond in an equally critical manner. After all, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, right? We have every reason to respond harshly! But, once again, Jesus raises the bar in how our response should be."You have heard that it was said,
'You shall love your neighbor
and hate your enemy.'
But I say to you, love your enemies,
bless those who curse you,
do good to those who hate you,
and pray for those who spitefully use you
and persecute you."
~ Matthew 5:43-44 ~
This is probably one of the hardest commandments to live out in day-to-day life. There probably isn't anything less challenging to our flesh than to live out this principle of selfless and unconditional love to others. To bite our tongue, take a deep breath, and pray for the other person who seemingly wronged us."To exude the nature of Christ in the face of
rudeness, insensitivity, or cruelty is a
supernatural ability that His Spirit gives,
not something that we can muster up
in our own strength."
~ Leslie Ludy ~
I love reading through stories about persecuted Christians throughout the centuries. The primary thing that never ceases to amaze me is the longsuffering and patience of those who were tortured for Christ. Betsy ten Boom was able to see her brutal prison guards with the eyes of love, not hatred. Sabina Wurmbrand was able to sincerely love the pastor who betrayed her husband, which cost him several years of torture and imprisonment. Elisabeth Elliot did not become bitter towards her husband's killers; instead, she went back to them and ministered to the Auca tribe. If these women could receive the grace needed to forgive and bless even the most cruelest of men, we certainly can ask the Lord to help us overlook the much smaller offenses that occur every day.
The woman who is hidden in Christ rests in His security and is not easily angered. She does not fly off the handle. She is not a slave to her emotions. She is not concerned about her right to be treated a certain way. She sets her sights on the eternal value of the souls around her, not her own emotional tide.
Many thanks to Rebeka for her excellent reminder!