“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
A couple of days ago, the kids and I were in the car heading home from school. I don’t know what it is about afternoon pick ups, but they bicker the whole way home. You would think that after not seeing each other all day, they’d be a little nicer, but nope! One of them says something to irritate the other and the other one has a comeback to get back at the first one for saying what they said.
I know it’s a season and I try my best to remind them that we are family and that we should choose to be kind. The other day I told them that our tongue is one of the strongest muscles in our bodies. It has the power to completely crush someone’s spirit. I reminded them that we should always choose to think before we speak because words hurt. Words cut deep. Words destroy relationships, reputations. But they can also encourage, empower and bring life to someone. And it’s up to us to choose to think before we speak, to respond instead of react, to stay silent instead of exploding with anger.
This morning my devotional went right along with this conversation. Levi Lusko says, “There are things that matter much more than temporary vindication. As good as it feels to unload on someone in the moment, the pleasure is extremely short-lived and you’re left with a mess. Don’t trade what you want for what feels good right now.”
I must admit, I’ve not always been good at keeping my mouth shut. And when I feel hurt, threatened or embarrassed, I can resort to passive aggressiveness to defend myself. Earlier this year, God really convicted me of this and ever since then, I pray daily for God to guide my words. To give me the strength to pause before I say a word when I feel upset or angry. And I can tell you that I am not perfect, I still fail but I am getting better.
I’ve learned that it’s not worth it. It’s not worth saying something and risk losing my testimony. How can I share a bible verse on my instagram story and then cut someone deep with my passive aggressive comment? I’ve done that before and God has really had to work on this with me.
In, The Fight to Flourish, Jennie Lusko talks about how the enemy hates when women gather together because he knows how powerful we are when we have each other’s backs. He knows we are unstoppable when we are united and serving God. That is why he does everything he can to keep us throwing jabs and punches at each other. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can choose to be kind and lift each other up. “It can be easy to throw out a snarky comment or put someone down in a passive-aggressive way. It’s much harder to fight to be honorable, to believe the best about others and assume they’re not out to hurt us.” (Jennie Lusko)
A lot of time when we throw out those passive aggressive comments it’s a deep reflection of our heart, our insecurities and our struggles. It’s sad, but true and I can tell you that because that’s how it is for me. I jab and throw punches when I’m feeling insecure about myself or I feel angry or threatened. And that’s the enemy! When we allow ourselves to be provoked by things that others say or do, we are handing over control of ourselves to them. They have the power over us when they are able to do or say one thing and it sets us off. I don’t know about you but I was done giving people and circumstances power over my life. Levi lusko says that he has found freedom in realizing that regardless of what someone else does or says, we still have a choice and can respond in a way that is completely different than our initial impulse. I want that freedom and self-control! Don’t you?
“Your intentions don’t matter; your behavior does. No one can hear what you say; we hear only what you said. The impact you have on the world is what you’re accountable for.” ( Levi Lusko)
What impact do you want to make in the world? Do you want to leave every conversation feeling the regret of putting your foot in your mouth once again? I’ve been there! Or do you want to leave the conversation feeling at peace with yourself?
Here are a couple of things I read this morning in my devotional, Take Back Your Life, that I’d like to share:
- Gentleness and friendliness are stronger than fury and force.
- It’s when you humble yourself as a servant that people want to follow you as a leader.
- Being nice is one thousand times more effective than being a jerk.
- No one cares what you know if they don’t know that you care.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.“
I hope this has challenged and encouraged you today! Let’s be better. Let’s choose to lift and encourage with kindness and not allow the enemy to steal our peace. XO