A gentle answer turns away wrath. (Proverbs 15:1)
Our fourth son made his debut just weeks ago. We now have boys who are 16, 5, 3, and freshly born. I was sitting on the sofa nursing our infant when my teenager came in upset about something. I automatically replied in a quiet peaceful tone as a result of holding a newborn baby at the same time. Surprisingly, this situation did not escalate like it normally would have in the history of our intense mother/son relationship.
When did I turn the point from gentleness to explosiveness? At what moment did I decide that our child was old enough to endure a good loud argument verses the gentle response I had just given him? This verse, “A gentle answer turns away wrath…,” is one of the few I have memorized, yet why do I not follow its wisdom?
What God spoke to my heart while intentionally praying and considering what gentleness really means, is best understood by reading the Greek definition of the word: Gentleness = Power with reserve. As parents, we have the capability to overpower our children by yelling, screaming and using physical force as a response to misbehavior. True power comes when you are able to reserve your fleshly response and give them what they really need–gentleness.
Quite honestly, gentleness is not my first reaction to intense moments with my sons. Whether it is my teen that is in an argumentative mood or my younger sons who I have just told to stop wrestling for the fifth time in a row. Screaming at the top of my lungs to overpower the situation is what comes naturally. I hate to admit this, but being gentle in those situations takes a lot of work! I would not be able to do it without the help of the Holy Spirit. When you withhold wrath and display gentleness you have truly exercised power with reserve.
Think back to when your child was in infant and he would cluster feed every forty-five minutes for hours on end. You’re so exhausted that you don’t think you could endure even one more feeding and yet, we wouldn’t scream at that innocent infant to get him to submit to our needs. No, we gently pace the floor, we console, we rock, we pat them on the back, and we take as much time as is necessary to get through it. In 1 Thessalonians 2:7 it says, “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.”
Jesus displayed the ultimate act of reserving power when He died on the cross for us. We deserved death, but he chose to die on the cross for us instead. The ultimate act of gentleness. Once we are able to display gentleness towards our children, they will begin display gentleness in their own situations.
Think of three or four places or situations where your boy needs to practice more gentleness. Talk to him about how he can be more gentle in each situation.
JanelleJanelle is a wife and stay at home mom of 4 who blogs at Queen of the House of Boys. James & Janelle own a business called Integrity Cleaning and Restoration. She is a pastor’s wife and praise and worship leader. Janelle recently retired as a retail store owner to fully embrace her calling as a mother. Bringing people together is one of Janelle’s gifts. Whether it is managing an online support group, or organizing mentors for new families in her children’s school.  Janelle loves decorating, diy projects, cooking, and hosting gatherings. She loves learning and practicing the true Biblical meaning of hospitality. Cleaning is her nemesis.