“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
With the current state of the world, husbands and wives, moms and dads, are all finding themselves spending a lot more time in the same household than they’re used to. Without the normal reprieves of work, school, or sports, etc., family members may be finding the good will toward one another running dry. The usual triggers and buttons that set off bickering and fighting are certainly being pushed now more than ever.
When is the last time you and your spouse threw verbal blows at each other? Or the last time you reacted in anger, showing little to no patience with your children? In those moments, was your first thought, “a soft answer turns away wrath?” If so, I commend you. It takes a lot of strength to do so, especially when you feel justified or wronged in anyway.
I, on the other hand, have had many unglued moments I’m not proud of.
One of the greatest crowns I’ll ever wear is the crown of a being a wife, and one day (God-willing), the crown of a mother. Because I hold this title so high, I was determined to gain wisdom over my emotions and feelings as I knew they were not helping my household in a positive way. As I unpacked this, I learned that I can still feel emotional and even sometimes out of control, but that doesn’t mean I have to act out of control.
I began seeking God on this subject because, although I am a woman and emotions are normal and at times valid, I didn’t want that to be my excuse to act in any way I pleased—in ways that weren’t pleasing to the Lord. The more I sought out Scripture, the more I began see a change in my heart, my reactions, and my entire household.
And it all started with gentleness.
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What Is Gentleness?
Gentleness by definition is described as being kind, mild-mannered, soft and tender. Galatians 5:22-23 describes gentleness as being one of the fruits of the Spirit, comprised of “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.” The fruits of the Spirit are attributes of a person walking with the Lord. The only way to produce these fruits in your life is to have the Holy Spirit in you. As believers, we receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation when we make the decision to follow Christ.
Although we have access through the Holy Spirit to grow life-giving fruits, it tends to be difficult for some of us throughout the process.
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Why Growing in the Fruit of the Spirit Can Be Difficult
With any fruit, it doesn’t grow overnight.
Fruit starts from a seed and that seed, when planted, grows overtime into a tree. Of course, the tree must first be planted in good soil, nurtured, have good light, and constantly watered before it grows and produces fruit. Just like a tree takes time to grow, our spiritual growth does too. We often want to see change in our lives right away, making it difficult for ourselves if we don’t.
It’s a process and it starts with planting our lives in the soil of God’s word. We water and nurture it with the freshness and truth of Scripture and prayer. We begin to cut off old dying branches that no longer serve us and replace it with seeds of the Spirit. As Paul encourages us to “put off your old self which grows corrupt… and put on your new self… created to be more like God.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
Maybe as a child, you grew up in a home watching your parents become angry with a lot of yelling and screaming. Or perhaps you are like me, and just didn’t know how to control your emotions, and had tried countless times yet always seemed to fail. The truth is, in your own strength, you will fail. This is why we need to abide in God for His strength. For He says “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Start abiding in God. Start planting, start sowing, start being obedient and then wait while you watch the seeds grow into plentiful fruit. Allow the Gardner to work His mighty hands over the soil of your heart and start seeing the fruits of it in your household.
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A Woman’s Gentleness Is Precious in God’s Sight
As women, we have an important role to play in our homes. God created us to “be a helper suitable for our men” (Genesis 2:18). The Hebrew world translated here as “helper” in reference to the woman is ezer. This term is derived from a Hebrew word used of God and the Holy Spirit: azar. Both mean “helper,” someone who comes alongside to aid, assist, or rescue. As women, we have the same description as God and the Holy Spirit. Clearly, the word ezer suggests a role of great honor. It’s a portrait of great strength.
Friends, don’t miss this. The wife and mother are the heart of a home who is there to help with great strength. The woman sets the tone of the family’s mood. What a role we play! What an honor! What a privilege God chose me! A woman’s sweetness, her femininity, her holy gentleness can make a huge difference in the demeanor of the family’s household.
A big misconception in today’s world is that women lose their voice if she lowers it, if she speaks softly, if she is gentle. Quite the opposite. In her gentleness there is actually strength and power, the power of love and the power of influence.
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Our Words Have Powerful Influence
In 1 Peter 3:1-4, Peter teaches about the power women’s gentleness can have with their unbelieving spouse. He teaches that women can win their husband “without a word” saying it’s not in how they look by appearance that will win their husbands, but “rather the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is very precious in the sight of God.” We as women, can win over our husbands and our children by our gentle and quiet spirits. Not to mention, God finds it precious.
Oh, how I want to be found precious in our Savior’s eyes!
Our homes are fertile field in God’s eyes, where seeds of gentle words and deeds can be sewn to produce a harvest love, which is stronger and more powerful than any harsh word. Our gentleness has the potential to color the atmosphere of our homes, making them pleasant places to be.
What if you were the only one in your husband’s and children’s lives to ever show them Christ? What do you want to teach them about Christ? When you spew anger, even if you are provoked and justified, do you radiate Christ? It’s reassuring to know that even our Savior got angry at times. It’s what you do with that anger that determines your obedience. As Ephesians 4:26 says “be angry, yet do not sin. Do not let the sun set upon your anger.”
Speaking gently in those moments gives us an opportunity to show our husbands and children Christ himself. Get in the habit of taking a moment to breathe before responding. That moment could be the difference in an angry response and a soft answer that radically influences your entire household.
Speak to God before Your Household
"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:6)
Some actions I’ve been taking that have been life-changing to my household are, when I feel anger, and words that are far from gentle rise to the surface, I first walk away. Second, I wrestle out the dispute with God rather than with my husband (and/or your children if you have them). I walk away to my bedroom, shut my door, go into my prayer closet, and start wrestling my frustration out with God through prayer. During those moments of prayer, I vent, I yell, and I tell the Lord what’s on my heart.
I wrestle with God first versus wrestling with my household.
The beauty of this is, God meets me right there in my closet every single time. Just as He promises that “if we draw near to Him, He’ll draw near to us” (James 4:8). And do you want to know another beautiful reward of this? 99% of the time during these moments, God does a work in me right then and there diffusing my anger, forgiving the offense (with or without an apology from the offender), and it’s settled right then and there when I lay it down in my quiet place at the foot of the cross.
I’m able to walk out of my closet, out of my room, and bring gentleness to the atmosphere of my home since I spoke the anger to God first and not to my household.
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How Gentle Have Your Answers and Responses Been Lately?
Take some time to meditate on Proverbs 15:1. Speak it over your life this week. Write it down, post it up in your home, on your fridge, bathroom mirror or save it as your screen saver. Begin abiding in God, attaching yourself to the vine and planting good seeds of gentleness, producing more fruit day by day. Strive to be the woman God views as precious. Nurture your mind with Scripture, allowing biblical responses full of gentleness to flow out of your hearts and mouths.
What an amazing power the woman has to influence the lives of her husband and children. We can harness gentleness and use its power to change an angry household into a gentle one. We have an honorable role as women to play in our homes and who knows, we might be the only source our families ever see Christ in—so let’s wear our crowns proudly starting with our gentle and quiet spirit.
Alisha Headley is a writer + speaker who has a desire to meet the everyday woman in her everyday life with biblical truth. Stepping into her true calling, she left the corporate world behind as a former-financial VP to love on her family as a stay-at-home wifey + dog mama, while also being able to pursue her passion as a writer. Healing from a chapter of life consumed with lies she once believed about herself, she is inspired to point women to Christ to experience the freedom + power to overcome those lies with the truth written in God’s word. In her free time, Alisha enjoys road trips around the country, working out so she can eat her favorite foods, and creatively styling her outfits with a craft for fashion.
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Originally published Thursday, 26 March 2020.