Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
“What!? My car key fob went through the laundry!?” Afterward, the fob’s “lock” button didn’t work. It seemed useless. The replacement cost would be $300 at the car dealer but about 40 percent less at a local chain of key shops.
I ended up going to three different key shops. The first took the key fob apart and said it needed to be replaced, but they couldn’t do it there. The second made two attempts but could not do it either. They sent me 10 miles away and I was patient.
After 45 minutes, the tech successfully coded the key. But he was staffing the store alone. So when he went outside the store to do more programming in my car, customers went in and out of the store looking for help. He was miffed and bothered, but polite. I felt sorry for him. Finally, he locked the store door and asked two new customers to either wait or come back. They waited without complaint. I wondered if he was going to get fired. He obviously tried to balance customer service both inside and outside the store. That was stressfully impossible.
Finally, the tech called the help hotline. Twenty minutes later, he tells me that he can’t get the fob buttons to work. Then he locks my car door with the ignition key, so there was no need to replace it. The tech said, “You have a choice. Come back Monday, or I’ll refund your deposit today.” I took the refund knowing there was never a real need to get a replacement. But I was left with a nagging question: why did I go through this seemingly worthless waste of time?
My answer is that self-control allowed me to be aware and empathetic with the tech’s plight. Seeing what he was going through fostered a gentle spirit within me. When I left, I said a gentle goodbye with encouraging and supportive words.
Sometimes the ruler of Proverbs 25:15 is your own negative feeling of frustration or the desire to strike back. Yielding to the Spirit gives way to a gentle response.
Think of a time you were inconvenienced. Was this a moment to surrender to the Holy Spirit? If you did, which trait of the fruit of the Spirit was evident in you? Did that trait lead the way for another trait? Consider putting yourself in situations in which the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in your life.