Be Kind and Gentle to Gain Respect

Be Kind and Gentle to Gain Respect

Be Kind and Gentle to Gain Respect

“A kind and gentle woman gains respect but violent men gain only wealth.” Proverbs 11:16 (ERV)

We must be KIND and GENTLE to gain the respect of others and win people over. When I read this verse a short time ago I thought of the mean ol’ bitty lady at the family reunion I attended recently. Actually, Eric and I had just been discussing how mean she was and how she has a negative impact on people because of it. She could have a lot more influence if she’d only be nicer and less harsh (i.e. more kind and gentle…like the verse says!). She goes on and on about the family reunion dying out and the lack of attendance as the older generations are passing away. Her continuous reprimand each year is that the young people need to take over so the family, its stories, and the reunion will live on.

However, she then proceeds to belittle the younger people and act condescending toward them lashing out constant insults. She’s bossy and harsh with her mannerisms and words. Quite honestly, she’s really just flat-out rude. Because of this, she’s turning and driving the young people away. She’s losing her influence. More than likely, she’s having the exact opposite effect of what she wants. After all, who wants to keep a family tradition of meanness, rudeness, and condescension alive?

On the other hand, if she would do as Proverbs 11:16 says showing kindness and acting more gentle, she would earn the respect of the younger generation to whom she is trying so hard to pass the reigns. They would probably bend over backwards to help out and keep the family traditions alive if only she would be kind and gentle.

A bad first impression of this less than kind and gentle lady 

Sadly, I had a bad first impression of this woman from the time I started attending the family reunions. One of my first encounters with her was many years ago as a young, first-time mom. Eric’s parents had convinced Eric and me to attend the reunion, even though our newborn son was only a few weeks old. Obviously, I was already a little apprehensive (as first-time moms usually are).

Moments after we got out of our car and walked over to a picnic table, this random woman approached me and snatched my baby right out of my arms with a “Give me that baby.” Keep in mind this was a person whom I did not know nor had ever met. She did not introduce herself or ask me who I was. She did not ask nicely if she could see my baby. In fact, she didn’t even smile.

This complete stranger, only related to me very, very distantly by marriage, was anything but kind and gentle to me. I immediately lost respect for her. From that moment on, I instantly knew I wanted to avoid that woman at all costs…to the point that I might have stopped attending the reunions altogether if it weren’t for my husband and mother-in-law. It’s a good thing they were kind and gentle in their promptings to get me to return.

What I learned from this verse and the mean lady

After reading this verse and having this woman and my bad experiences and memories of her come to mind, I knew I didn’t want to be like her. To avoid that, I need to work on being more kind and gentle. I know I, myself, can be a bit harsh at times with my “tell-it-like-it-is” personality. However, if I’m not careful, I’ll drive people away, lose any influence I might have, and have the opposite effect of what my intentions are.

I don’t want to lose my influence with my kids, my family and friends, my students or anyone else for that matter. How can God use me if I only drive people away? 

My prayer

With that insight, I wrote a prayer in my quiet time journal.

Lord, help me to be more kind and gentle. Remind me when I’m not, and help me to correct it quickly and make apologies when/where necessary. Show me right now any areas where I may be a little too harsh. Enable me through your Holy Spirit in me to be and act more like you. You are kind and gentle with me. Thank you.

After praying, I sat quietly and listened (a new practice I’m gradually forcing myself to do each day!) A few areas where I need to be more kind and gentle came to mind. I wrote those down in my journal as well. Some of the areas included when I correct my kids, with Eric on occasion, anytime I get impatient or irritated, when I see “ungodly” people (I’m actually getting better on this one though! ), when taking up offenses of others, or when I get self-righteous (ouch!).

I’m learning that God doesn’t want me to change my “tell-it-like-it-is” personality. He made me that way for a purpose…to reach certain and different kinds of people. I often half-jokingly say, “I know I’m not for everyone!” However, I can “tell it like it is” without being mean or harsh. It IS possible to be kind and gentle when speaking the truth. In fact we’re commanded to do so…

“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)

A few other scriptures on being kind and gentle

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Ephesians 4:2 (NLT)

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

“…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

“They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.” Titus 3:2 (NLT)

“You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” 1 Peter 3:4 (NLT)

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29 (NIV)

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

“…if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” Galatians 6:1 (NLT)

“A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.” 2 Timothy 2:24-25 (NLT)

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…” Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) Be Kind and Gentle verses

Take Some Practical Steps to Be Kind and Gentle to Gain Respect:

 

  • First, think of a person that is mean and harsh—think of the kind of influence/impact they have (or lack thereof). Does this person have the respect of others? Ask yourself if you are anything like this person. Do you want to be like this person? Has your behavior had a negative impact on the people you could influence? Could you be driving people away? In what ways might you need to start adjusting your approach with people?
  • Pray and ask God to help you to be more kind and gentle and show you where you need to improve. Then stop and listen to what He says. Purpose to make more of an effort, with the Holy Spirit’s help, in the areas that He shows you.
Prayer to be more kind and gentle

Prayer to be more kind and gentle

Lord, help me to be more kind and gentle. Remind me when I’m not, and help me to correct it quickly and make apologies when/where necessary. Show me right now any areas where I may be a little too harsh. Enable me through your Holy Spirit in me to be and act more like you. You are kind and gentle with me. Thank you.

  • Pick a scripture that you’d like to focus on about being kind and gentle (feel free to use one of the verses above). Write the verse on a post-it note or index card and place it somewhere where you’ll see it often as a reminder (i.e. on your bathroom mirror, on your night stand, over your bedroom light switch, on your car console, etc.). Consider memorizing the verse and then quoting it as a positive affirmation.

Have you had an experience with someone who was “less than” kind and gentle? Did it affect how you respected that person? Tell us about it by leaving a comment below.

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If you know anyone that could benefit from this, please pay it forward!  Email it to a friend or share this post via the sharing links below.  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) 

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