Gentle Words

Proverbs 15:1  A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

I can’t count how many times I’ve chanted this verse in my head when I really want to give someone a tongue lashing!  I know we’ve all been there.

Just a few days ago, I was in the grocery store.  I was in a hurry (as always) and the cashier was moving very slowly, complaining about how she hates her job.  She even stopped scanning my groceries to call the front desk and demand that she be relieved of her shift, as apparently she had had enough.  I was really frustrated! What kind of customer service is that?  I don’t want to hear about your job dissatisfaction! I want my groceries and a pleasant attitude to boot.  Then I got to thinking about this verse.  When she finally handed me my receipt, I looked her in the eye and said with a smile, ‘I hope your day gets better.  Hang in there’.  She grumbled and muttered something about how it would get better once she got to leave.

At that moment, I got to be somewhat of a light in a place of darkness for that woman.  And my heart goes out to her.  Retail is not easy work! Would we expect anyone in our personal lives to be perfectly happy and cheery at every moment? Would we expect that of ourselves? Of course not! I think it’s important to remember we are all human and really focus on seeing people as just that.  Human.  Cut them some slack.

I wonder how a harsh answer could have changed that experience.  I could have said to her, ‘Can you just keep your misery to yourself? I don’t really want to hear about it.’ What good would that have done? She probably would have felt embarrassed or gotten even more upset.  And it’s not our job to point fingers at everyone telling them where they’re failing.  It’s our job to be a light in the darkness for someone.  Brighten someone’s day.  To offer a ray of hope that someone out there cares about them.  What would Jesus do? Scold someone for being sour or look them in the eyes and let them know they are loved?  I will be honest, I don’t always choose to walk the path Jesus would, but I’m trying to be more conscious of other people every day.  Choose light today when you encounter a frustrating situation.  It may not only brighten the other person’s day, but yours as well!

Think About It:

  1. Have you ever had one of those days where nothing seems to go right and someone went out of their way to say a kind word or lend a helping hand? How did it make you feel when someone cared enough to do that for you, a stranger?
  2. Do you struggle holding your tongue when someone is pushing your buttons? Share an experience of when you reacted in a way you are ashamed of.  What can you do differently next time?
  3. Start today with a goal of being a light to others. Come back after the day is through and reflect on an experience where you chose to be a light.  How did it make you feel?  What affect do you think it had on the other person?

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