Friday, May 2, 2014
we all know those people who are so nice. they speak and have a softness to their voice and a patient tone. even when they are “mad” you have trouble noticing because their state of “mad” is like your proudest moment of being nice to someone. i’m not mad at these people (however, if i am being honest i would love to hear them just really get angry). in fact, i find my heart inclined to be a little envious that they are so nice. i don’t understand how they are so patient and so sweet. i find myself racking my brain, tempted, wanting to know the 5 steps of sounding nicer to people, having the perfect tone when talking to people.
the last few weeks i have been wrestling with my lack of gentleness or my increasing expertise in gentleness(less) towards people. my husband, my mom, my friends. i was discouraged. maybe in more ways as i reflect even now, i am discouraged. as a counselor, i find myself always talking with people. sometimes i probably don’t know how i sound. maybe i come off as harsh. especially when i talk to dustin and i hear him say, “okay. alright. okay.” in a tone that would sound as if i have just scolded or harshly instructed him. my heart aches in those moments because the last thing i want is to be heard in that way. my heart’s inclination is to get mad at him for responding to me in such a way, but these last few weeks i’ve been given grace to see things from a different perspective: maybe it’s me. maybe i sound harsh. how did that really sound?
as i was reading 2 timothy 2:22-26 this week, solely by coincidence (well, God’s sovereignty of course) i was encouraged by my need to ask God for help here…
[“And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth...” ]
even approaching others with gentleness is something i can’t muscle up on my own. i need the Lord’s help. fairly often i find myself in situations that i need to confront someone, comfort someone, or speak truth to someone -- which is really just living life in community with other people and having conversation. and oh, how often i am not gentle. i’m harsh. i’m impatient. i’m quick to assume something about the other person. oh, how the Lord is being gentle with me as he is making this aware to my soul. how transformative it has been to watch the spirit work even in the last several days.
instead of looking to those people who are nice and friendly and who i become easily envious of, i am free to ask God to help me be gentle. i don’t have to look to 5 steps for becoming a nicer person because at the core of who i am, i’m terrible. i am in need of redemption in the way i even talk to people. though, even in harsh words and hateful tones, my identity doesn’t change. i am still a daughter of the most high. i am still accepted and deeply loved by the Father. it’s because of Jesus’ perfect life, death and resurrection that i am even able to share in God’s grace while his spirit enables me to be gentle.
i’m thankful for moments that i see my sin, i see my inability to be gentle with others when left to myself. it’s there i see my deep need for dependence on a gracious, merciful, forgiving, patient, steadfast God.