A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)
One time Karen and I were having a fight. I remember how frustrated I was. I kept trying to tell her how I felt and convince her that she was wrong. I wasn’t making any progress, which only made me more frustrated. At one point in the conversation, I remember Karen saying to me, “Jimmy, I wish I had an audio recording of how you talk to me. You wouldn’t believe how harsh you are.” I immediately reacted to what she said. “I’m not harsh with you!” I insisted (with my voice raised).
Several days later I was praying about what Karen had said. I was reading in Ephesians where it says that Jesus washes His Bride “with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26). Immediately, in my mind, I saw myself standing before Jesus, filthy in my sins. The next thing I saw was Jesus filling His hands with water and very gently pouring it over my head. He wasn’t at all harsh with the application of His Word. Just the opposite, He was so gentle and loving.
The next thing the Lord showed me troubled me greatly. I saw Karen standing in front of me in a beautiful wedding gown. The gown had some stains on it and I was washing her down with a fire hose. The force of the fire hose was causing Karen pain and tearing her beautiful gown apart.
At once I knew that the Lord was showing me the difference between His nature and mine when it came to communication and trying to change others. I repented to God in that moment and changed my ways immediately.
The next time I confronted Karen, I decided to speak in a loving manner and leave the results to God. It wasn’t long before she noticed the difference in me. As soon as I changed, Karen began to blossom like a rose. Our relationship became so much better.
Now, I can say how I feel and leave the outcome to God. I have found that He is much better at changing people and producing results than I am. Sometimes I am the one who needs to change, and God is always faithful to reveal that to me in His loving and kind way.
Tell each other the truth, but do it in love and don’t try to be the enforcer. Remember, the truth is powerful. It doesn’t need our help. Just lovingly apply it, and it will do wonders!
Talk It Out | How do you communicate with each other when you are frustrated about something? Talk about ways to improve your approach—tone of voice, body language, choice of words, etc.
Walk It Out | Choose gentle words to speak to your spouse, and see how he or she blossoms with your praise.