It’s taken me decades to understand that being kind and gentle gets better results than lashing out in frustration and anger.
This post is part of the Five-Minute Friday quick write hosted by Kate Moutang. Join us each Thursday night on Twitter (#FMFParty) for fun and fellowship, then grab a pen and start writing when the prompt goes live!
Anything But Kind and Gentle
“What are you doing?” I yelled at the little boy as I ran towards him. “Where are your parents? Hasn’t anyone ever taught you not to throw sand?”
He shrugged in reply and stuck his tongue out at me.
My anger flamed higher. For the last six minutes, I’d watched him shove other kids and throw sand at them at the playground. It bothered me to watch the little bully, but when he tossed sand at MY kids, I had to intervene. Especially when I saw my daughters’ faces crumple in confusion at the unmerited attack.
I couldn’t let this little bully ruin my beautiful spring day at the park. So I squatted down at his level and glowered at him. “Do not. Throw. Sand,” I shouted.
He shrugged and walked to a different part of the playground. My sense of righteous indignation wanted to justify my loud voice and harsh words. But a creeping sense of shame clamored in my soul.
I had forgotten my resolutions to use kind and gentle words with others. In yelling and screaming at a defenseless child, I had also set a horrible example for my girls. I realized I had a problem.
What Does Jesus Want?
Jesus wants us to use kind and gentle words and let him take care of the accusations and judgement.
For so many years I had let my sense of outrage take over my good sense whenever I saw a bully in action. But on that spring day, on the eve of Easter, a picture of Jesus flashed before my eyes.
People bullied him. They spit on him, cursed him, called him vile names, and accused him of crimes he didn’t commit. When he spoke, his kind and gentle words held firmness, but not hate or recrimination.
Even when his best friends betrayed him he didn’t yell or scream or shout.
Kind and gentle words don’t come naturally to me in heated situations, but by God’s grace, I’m learning to pray first and speak second. I still mess up at times, but adding the habit of prayer before blurting out my first thoughts has improved my communication skills. And kept me from screaming at small children.
When your tongue threatens to burst into flames, remember Jesus. #fmfparty Click To Tweet
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.James 3:6 NIV