Posted by: ritagone | August 1, 2018

On the Tip of the Tongue

Here’s another great piece out of my daily devotional book by Timothy and Kathy Keller, “God’s Wisdom For Navigating Life.”  This excerpt is from August 6; I’m reading ahead because I won’t be here from August 5-14 and don’t have room in my carry-on suitcase for the book.  So this also will be my last Rita’s Ramblings post until August 15; you’ll have to do without me (!) for two weeks while I’m in London for a few days of fun with Michael and then Communitas’ 50th anniversary celebration gathering north of London in Hoddeston for a few more days. 



GENTLE PERSISTENCE.  A “gentle answer” can quickly de-escalate an angry feud.  We might infer that gentle speech means being mealy-mouthed, compliant, or pacifying, like saying to a bully, “I give up.” Here we see that is not true at all.  The metaphor of breaking a bone means that a gentle tongue is better at breaking down hardened resistance to an idea than aggressive words.  You may still argue pointedly, but in a gentle, patient, respectful manner.

This insight fits in well with the New Testament exhortation that no matter how much someone may oppose us or may even have wronged us, we must forgive him or her from our heart, first and unconditionally.  This drains out so much of the contempt and disdain that can easily creep into our voice when we are contending with someone.  Most of us are either temperamentally direct, bold, and persistent or gentle, calm, and deferential – but never both.  Yet the wise learn to be both.  They follow the one who always showed boldness without harshness, humility without uncertainty, who spoke truth but always bathed in love.

Do you tend to be direct and persistent or gentle and deferential? How can you combine them?


Prayer:  Lord Jesus, you combined qualities of humility and majesty as no one else has ever done.  And through the gospel, which both humbles us into the dust and makes us kings to reign.  Make us, in your image, gentle but absolutely insistent on truth.  Amen.

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