I hope you are doing great and that your spirit is at peace. Today, I want to talk about gentleness and how it's presence and it's lack thereof affects our lives.
I think we can all agree that life tends to harden us in one way or another whether it be how or where we are raised, the interactions we have growing up, the traumas, the relationships that we involve ourselves in, the pride and arrogance that is built over time due to our fears and insecurities and so much more. When I say where and how we are raised, this is what I mean, some us have grown up in polygamous homes where our relatives ill treat us and do all sorts of despicable things, may be some of us were brought up in group homes where everything you need including food you had to fight for, some of us were sexually abused whether by our own parents, uncles, house helpers name it and some of us were brought up by single mothers who had to take on a masculine nature to raise us (be both the mom and the dad)and not to blame them the only way to convey their frustration is by having loud heated arguments with nerves popping out of their necks and foreheads, and then here comes the kicker, some us have grown up in reasonably “normal” homes (nuclear families) with so much love to spare and then went ahead and got ourselves in relationships without the counsel of God and ended up getting toxic from climaxes. That being said everyone of us has had a brush with toxicity from friends, family, partners, strangers, pastors, brethren (yep, it happens in Church too), you name it.
This in one way or another hardens us and if not Spirit led tilts us to become these humans that feel we can’t live without clapping back whether on social media or in real life, we can’t have normal conversations without raising our voices or even being condescending, can’t filter our words and always want to be right or have the last word(definitely been there) or just bottle up all that junk and don’t deal with it and then one day you explode and release double arrowed words that have irreversible damage. Remember, words spoken cannot be taken back.
I am writing about this because I have been there, I know better now and I'm on the journey of restoration, some of these might pop up on some days and I will feel convicted to go back to the drawing board. I have talked back to my parents even when there was no need to, “assured” a friend or two and strangers and just been plain verbally abusive. People who have met me recently will most likely not believe this and I’m glad because then It leads to the solution to all of this. Who I am becoming and who I’m calling people to be, ladies especially is to allow to be truly transformed by the Holy Spirit.
Let’s get into the bible and see what the Word says about we should communicate with others;
1. Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. (Proverbs 16:24) Would someone describe your words as sweet and healthy?
2. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Ephesians 4:5) why are you cussing all the time or at all (this goes for me as well, please note that my writing convicts me as well). Contrary to popular opinion, those words do not make us cool or polished or in style or anything, they don’t add to us and can lead us into trouble (we’ve all seen that viral video of the little girl in pink who turns around after the mum asks her to stop doing something and she goes “bleep you bleep”) That ladies, us who want to be mothers one day and are born nurturers , is the kind of generation we are looking to raise if we don’t stop being utterly conditioned by pop culture.
3. Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. Proverbs 21:23. This is just self-explanatory really. Most of us have seen that meme “Not everything deserves a response” Isn’t it funny how the world will take the same exact words that the bible says, make a meme out of them and not give God Credit? Shame!!! The Bible has an opinion on every aspect of our lives, it’s just that we have found ourselves softer words to make us sound more knowledgeable and cooler. So, no, before this “mind blowing” meme came out, God was already urging us to be quieter and gentler in our speech. Being silent in the moment of a heated argument does not make you stupid. It just makes you the person who does not want to pay wrong with wrong. It also makes you someone who can recollect your thoughts and convey your message in a kinder, respectable way later. Clap backs are overrated.
4. Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Psalm 141:3 Is there anything that the Lord can’t do? When we draw our attention to the Holy Spirit and His traits, his gifts and his fruits. we see that once we allow Him to do heart work on us, there will be change. Change can be instant or gradual, whichever process you are going through, give it time and stick to it.
5. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak Matt 12:26 Ohhhh this is salty and spicy and that is all I have to say.
6. Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; James 1:19. Sometimes it’s not even us that are the problem but rather the person yelling on the other end has had a terrible day, has been scammed, is having family issues, has had argument with their spouse that didn’t quite get finished yet in their head and so all that frustration is being poured out on you, don’t be the person that adds fuel to this burning person.
Just don’t do it. Dare to be quiet until they are done and watch the squirm once they realize that how they spoke you you wasn’t right. Comment below if you have experienced this. It makes you see the Grace of God in a whole other way.
Honestly, there is a lot of Scripture about speech, gentleness and meekness and maybe one day in the future we can talk about it some more but let’s go with these today. Be vigilant and search about what God says about our speech and learn more.
I want to tackle some of the things we can explore to be softer and gentler in our speech.
1. Who are you? Self-awareness is key here and with this I don’t mean your name, your parents and where you come from. I mean who does God say you are, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, you are a chosen race, you are a royal priesthood, you are a head and not a tail (so He expects excellence in your speech too!)you are the salt and light of the world, a town built on a hill that cannot be hidden(these are all from different scripture). Why find identity here? Because once you know who you are, your source and whose you are, you are going to want to change how you act and speak to mimic your heritage.
2. Ask the Holy Spirit to bear fruit in your life. These fruits are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now I really don’t know about you but when I truly have these things in my life…. most battles are unnecessary to me.
3. Pace yourself. This is something that I relearn every day. Some days I slip up but most days thank God, I think about my responses before they come out of my mouth or before I type them. Sometimes, responses are not even necessary.
4. Watch your tone. Coming from someone knows and has indulged in sarcasm before, this will spare you a lot of battles. Be polite, do not be dismissive or condescending. If you are angry in the moment and you know for sure that whatever you are going t say may not come out in a kind respectful way, just don’t say it. It will save you a pile of regret.
5. Smile often, I am not saying that you walk around with fake smiles but endeavor to have happy thoughts. Be intentional about it. Don’t just say good morning to get it over with. Stop, look at the person make eye contact and say good morning. Be the light in someone’s day.
6. Pray for your offenders and apologize to those you have offended. I’m not justifying what others do that offends you and sometimes it can be offensive because of your perception but if they have truly offended you for example a colleague is rude and shouts at you for no good reason, please know that they are not alone(for lack of a better word to use) they are definitely struggling with something. Pray for them and not for God to punish them but to help them with whatever they are struggling with and help them recognize the best way to go about communication. Apologize sincerely when you offend others.
This post for me is really a look in the mirror because I have seen myself snap at people in the last few weeks. Definitely been rude at some point so these are things I'm going to progressively work on. I know there are some people who might be having the same struggles... the encouragement is you are not alone and May the peace of God that surpasses all human understanding guard your heart and keep you calm and joyful and ready to take on any storm with gentleness. Sending all my love, stay well, keep calm😊 until next time!