A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. — Proverbs 15:1
Often I can remember the turning point of a conversation when it went from good to bad or from bad to good. At times, I could hear the Holy Spirit warn me: “Stay calm, lower your voice, answer gently. Don’t say what you want to say, but listen to My still, small voice and speak My words instead.” Sometimes I am obedient and listen… Other times I just try to sneak in one more comment before obeying and find out just how costly my foolishness is.
I have found the secret to being heard. It really is quite simple: If you want to be heard, say it the way you would want to hear it.
My children, my husband, my employees, my dog, everyone, in fact, listens more when I say things the way I want to hear them. I know I prefer to be spoken to in a gentle, respectful tone. I hear so much better when I am not being yelled at. It is not the volume level or the repetition of words that grabs the attention, respect, and commitment of others. It is the importance of what we speak and the tone in which it is delivered. No one takes a person seriously if they are throwing a fit. Oh, they may get their way for the moment, but it will cost them later. We throw fits and raise our voices for many reasons. Here are a few:
- We are afraid we are not being heard.
- Yelling has produced results (getting our way) in the past.
- We want to intimidate or control others.
- It is what we lived as a child.
- We are still angry over an unresolved issue.
- It’s a bad habit.
Most of these reasons are rooted in fear. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). We will yell and throw fits when we feel powerless. We will seek to intimidate and control others when we are self-serving. We will revert to our past when perfected love has not yet cast out fear. We will overreact whenever we have carried the weight of yesterday’s issues into today.
As we renew our mind, bad habits are broken and the tyranny of fear is thwarted. I found out a long time ago that no matter how things appear, I am not in control of them. I can control myself, but God is ultimately in control of everything.
Accepting this truth puts us in the right state of mind to communicate in such a way that lets us be heard.
Lord, when I struggle and fight to maintain control, help me remember that at the very least I can control my tongue and my tone. By Your grace make me sensitive to Your still, small voice and allow it to guide me.
I Am Strong
WHEN I SPEAK IN A CALM AND POWERFUL WAY.
Excerpted with permission from Strong by Lisa Bevere, copyright Lisa Bevere.
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With the Holy Spirit within us, we are empowered to control how we respond in conflict. If we want to be heard, we need to listen and speak with calmness. How have you seen interacting with strong calmness work in your own life? Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily