Day 3I told you so! A GENTLE PERSON IS FULL OF UNDERSTANDING AND IS NOT DEMANDING. Proverbs 17:9 says, “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” When someone disappoints you, when someone makes a mistake, how do you treat them? Well, my natural reaction is to say, “I told you so!” Isn’t it yours? You say, “You know, if you would have listened to me, you wouldn’t be in the mess you are in now. I told you not to do it. Way to go. I told you so. Don’t you love to hear those words? Too many of us have an I-told-you-so attitude and if that isn’t bad enough, too many of us keep bringing up the past mistakes of others just to throw it in their face. It’s like we just want them to think about it all the time and why is that? It is because it gives us power, doesn’t it? We can hold their mistake over their heads whenever it benefits us because I guarantee it never benefits them. That is not a gentle person. A gentle person forgives even when it is difficult to do so. Jesus did this all the time. He would come across people who were in trouble and they knew what they deserved. They expected condemnation. They expected to be slammed for what they had done. They knew they deserved it. They expected the wrath of God. They anticipated it coming any minute now, and then Jesus would surprise people with gentleness. He would say, “Let’s get up. We can work this out together. We can walk into a new future. There’s nothing in me that wants to slam-dunk you. There’s nothing in me that wants to wreck you.” Everyday we have an opportunity to be gentle to others. When we begin to understand that we’re in a relationship with a God who’s gentle to the core, a God who is considerate, slow to anger, it starts to shift our outlook on life. When you open yourself up to that gentle side of God, something happens in you. Something starts melting in you and something that was hard gets a little easier. Something that was mean-spirited gets a little kinder. You just go, “You know what? As gently as I’ve been treated, I want to be that way to the people God has placed in my life. A gentle person is careful about what they say and how they say it. I can’t even begin to share with you the damage that I have inflicted on the people I am closest to. When someone in my life disappoints me or upsets me, there’s something in me that wants to start the conversation with a question like this: “What were you thinking?!” “Did you have a stupid meal for breakfast?” I’ve learned over the years that that isn’t constructive so I’m trying a new phrase. I try to ask a question first. I try to ask, “would you help me understand”. That’s the magic phrase: Would you help me understand what your thinking is behind that decision? Would you help me understand your thinking behind those words. Would you help me understand that? I try to say it in a gentle voice because I really want to know. Most of the time that simple question leads to a conversation that is calm and helpful. Try that question out today when you feel the blood rushing to your head. Would you please help me to understand? You might be surprised how you can attack a problem rather than attacking another person and I think Jesus would be pretty proud of you for giving it a shot. Time Out:
Look again at the verse at the top of our time together today. You know the one. Proverbs 17:9. What do you think it means to cover an offense? (Hint: There are some things that just aren’t worth getting mad over.)
How does covering an offense promote love?
What does it mean when the verse says repeating an offense separates close friends?
Have you ever had a friendship go bad because you let anger get the best of you?
Have you ever thought about asking your friend to forgive you for how you treated them?
Today is your day. Repeat after me. Would you please help me to understand? Say it again. Would you please help me to understand? One more time. Would you please help me to understand? Give that question a shot today.
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1
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