Darren Moll | The Voice of Zion August 2023 - Home and Family Article --
Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. – James 3:10
It is interesting how out of the same mouth can come kind words or unkind words. In this temporal life we use words to explain ourselves. For example:
We ask someone to help us
We explain to someone if we are happy or sad
We say positive things to family, friends, and coworkers
We might say unkind words if we have a goal of self-gain
We might say things that are not so nice to or about others, though perhaps subconsciously it feels like it’s building us up, such as “I’m glad I’m not like that person”
In our spiritual life we use words to express what is on our heart. When in the correct spirit the words will come out as kind words. When our temporal selves get in the way, unkind words can flow. For example, if a spirit of self-righteousness is in the way, words most likely will come out as condescending. In a spirit of leniency, the words we speak can be devious and lead one astray. The correct spirit will bring us to realize our own corruption and to use words of comfort and care to those that have gone astray.
What is temporal and what is spiritual? If we remember to say words such as “I love you” or “I’m so glad you’re a part of my life”, these are words that help us in this temporal life, and perhaps our spiritual life. At services, we might hear one say, “It’s good to see you!” or “How are things going?” At times I have remembered to tell my children that “God made you beautifully the way you are! God made you perfectly and remember to take care of yourself.” This is a good temporal reminder for our mental health, and is a good reminder for us spiritually that we are created by God.
We remember in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount He taught us to do unto others what we would like others to do unto us. This is a great thing to remember to practice in our daily life. I’ve thought that when taking care of something for my spouse or children: I remember the nice things that they have done, or the kind words that they have spoken to me and I wish to do the same for them! When I look back over my life, I can remember those moments from many years ago when family or friends have said kind words or done special things for me. I desire to do the same for those I interact with today. We may not even always realize that those caring remarks and thoughtful actions can have a lasting impact!
Others know us by our conduct. In the business world, or in school life, others see how the Spirit is working gentleness in us. I am an insurance agent, and I remember meetings with other agents in which there would sometimes be swearing. Others would apologize to me even though I never told them that I don’t swear or that they shouldn’t swear. Also, as a student in school, some classmates would often note that I didn’t participate in certain worldly activities. Others know us by our conduct, the Spirit is working in us and shining a light into this darkening world.
As a believer, it is comforting to know that we can turn to the gospel of the forgiveness of sins when we have spoken harshly to or about our family or friends. The living waters refresh our souls and bring peace, joy and thoughts of gentleness. May we remember to be loving and caring to our travel companions as we are reminded in Galatians 6:10, “Let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Φ
Parenting with Gentleness
Dean and Keilah Johnson
Keilah: Hewitt comes running inside, telling me excitedly about the lizard he saw sunning itself in the yard. I have a hard time concentrating on his words as he dances around, because I am struck by a memory of his older brother Connor, from 15 years ago, since both boys wore this blue flannel shirt from Target, size 2T. The blue hue perfectly accentuates Hewitt’s expressive eyes and the downy flannel matched the softness of his blond hair. I remember how Connor’s eyes seemed just as blue, his hair just as blond when he wore this, and how he too was a sweet and sensitive boy whose delight was infectious.
Dean: In the early days of raising our family, I found it could be difficult to handle my children’s emotions when they came to me. It felt overwhelming to deal with their strong feelings. As their dad, I felt like I had to solve their problems. But I didn’t know how to solve emotions.
Dean and Keilah: Just when we thought we were starting to figure out parenting, we were thrown for a loop with the arrival and preschool years of our third child. He was so very different from our first two that we were left bewildered and confused when our parenting tactics did not work. We sought out professional guidance because the entire household was impacted both morning and night. The events of pouring milk into the cereal bowl, and the transition to bedtime caused loud, drawn-out crying.
From the specialist, we relearned the basics of effective, timely, and relevant discipline. We also learned that change was hard for our child and found some ways to help him transition. Lastly, we discovered that hunger was a very difficult sensation for him to deal with, and we began implementing protein into his bedtime snack to tide him over until morning. We didn’t become perfect parents overnight by any means, but we got back on track to a peaceful home.
Keilah: Because Dean was studying for his bachelor’s degree while working full-time, I found myself parenting solo at bedtime quite often. This third child of mine was a challenge. I hate to admit that I raised my voice as well as my hand on more than one occasion. Why couldn’t he just do what he was asked? Why did he resist and fight the very things that his siblings had no problem doing?
I remember one night we were attempting to get ready for bed. It wasn’t going very well and I was exhausted and frustrated. I sat on the bed and prayed, “Please God, help me to raise this child.” When I opened my eyes, instead of seeing a stubborn and defiant child, I saw my small boy with tear-rimmed eyes desperately in need of love. I did the only thing there was to do; I gathered him in my arms.
Dean: Eventually, I realized that emotions are not a problem to be solved and that acknowledging a child’s emotions does not mean one has to internalize the emotions. Acknowledging their emotion and gently comforting them with a hug is sometimes all that’s needed. This gentler approach may help a child handle their own emotions better, and in turn be more gentle toward others.
Dean and Keilah: A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger (Prov. 15:1). Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath (James 1:19). Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit.
Gentleness is a fruit of the spirit. Why is gentleness important for a believer?
What examples from Jesus’ life show gentleness?
How can a parent show gentleness when dealing with a child experiencing difficulties, whether a toddler, a teenager or an adult child?
How do we embody gentleness in interactions with our elders?
Gentleness is often portrayed wordlessly. How is gentleness evident in others’ actions and attitudes?
Share ideas of how gentleness can be shown to unbelieving family members or neighbors.