A Gentle Answer


Remember when the first President Bush called for a "kinder, gentler nation?"

What did he mean?

God knew what he meant. That's why He included gentleness as one of the Fruits of His Spirit. He knew we needed it and could not manufacture it very well on our own.
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Scripture says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath." We can avoid conflict and calm the fiercest rage with something as simple as a gentle word. But how often do we use it? Why speak softly when a shriek will get the job done?
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In a world filled with people Hell-bent on serving their own needs, who has time or energy for a gentle answer?
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Someone bugs me, I bug them back. 
Somebody irritates me, they need to hear about it. 
Some jerk cuts me off in traffic, I'm gonna lay on my horn until they wish they'd never merged. 
Somebody disagrees with my politics, I'll show 'em how loud I can be.
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We're a nation of shouters, as if the win goes to the loudest and most obnoxious. But what have the winners won?
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Okay, so you're first in line. Is it at the expense of your well-being? Isn't your heart still thundering, your mind replaying how you had the last word? Isn't your blood pressure skyrocketing and you're now looking around for anyone else who might step on your rights?
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Is that any way to live? Honestly.
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Gentleness doesn't come naturally to many of us. Left to ourselves, we'd be obnoxious bullies alienating everyone around us and eventually ourselves.
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God ushers His gentleness into our lives with the softest whisper, the barest hint of fragrance, like honeysuckle in the spring. Gentleness is not merely for the benefit of others. Gentleness softens the heart of the one who lives it, making the heart more attuned to spiritual truth. A heart that has been gentled can hear the voice of God. It can understand things not readily seen. It takes time to answer--and in doing so, protects itself from hasty judgements that cause heartache later.
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Gentleness is God's plan of defense against our own rash human nature.
Gentleness protects us from ourselves.
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If you've viewed gentleness as a quality that you either have or you don't, something you offer to others if you like them, think again. A gentle answer turns away wrath, not only the wrath of others, but the white-hot rage that fires inside your soul and keeps the peace of God at arm's length. It turns away YOUR wrath.
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Isn't it time for a kinder, gentler spirit? You can't do it on your own. Invite God's Spirit to do His work in you and you will be amazed at how much better you feel.

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