Tag Archives: Communication

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 

Continue reading

Proverbs 31…It’s Not Just For Women

Men should possess the Proverbs 31 characteristics too. These same character traits this passage praises the Proverbs 31 woman for having are also desirable for men. They are not gender-specific. ALL people, men and women alike, should strive to have this type of character.

Proverbs 31…It’s Not Just For Women

Proverbs 31 is one of those chapters that I think a lot of women sometimes read and then feel deficient. It’s almost like we can never measure up to her. I mean, really, who can do and be proficient at ALL of the things that she does? Talk about a Renaissance Woman!

However, recently I had some different insights while reading Proverbs 31 in The Message translation. As I read through the verses about the Proverbs 31 woman, I jotted down her characteristics in my journal. It dawned on me that it’s not necessarily the activities that she does that matter, but the character and traits she possesses are what are truly important. That should be our primary takeaway from the reading. Thank goodness because I don’t think I’ll EVER be proficient at sewing!

In Proverbs 31, verses 10-31 form an alphabetic acrostic, used here as a type of Hebrew poem about a woman who exemplifies godly character and wisdom from A to Z. J.A. Motyer says, “In the common form of acrostic found in Old Testament Poetry, each line or stanza begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order. This literary form may have been intended as an aid to memory, but more likely it was a poetic way of saying that a total coverage of the subject was being offered — as we would say, ‘from A to Z.‘”[1] So in this case, the Proverbs 31 woman exemplifies godly traits and wisdom throughout and completely. She’s the full package.

Proverbs 31 is not just for women

In part of my recent study of the Proverbs 31 passages, I came across a really good article by Rachel Held Evans. In her post, she mentions that the “target audience” of Proverbs 31 is actually men. I did not know this! Rachel mentioned that she learned from a Jewish friend of hers that in the Jewish culture, it’s the men who memorize the passage, not the women.

In fact, the men actually sing or recite it to the women as a way of praising and blessing them! This special “Eshet Chayil” song is typically done each Friday night before the Sabbath or Shabbat meal.

Here is a video of a traditional Eschet Chayil song with the Hebrew lyrics and English translation shown:

I LOVE this English rendition by Ari Lesser as he sings to his wife:

I also realized these are NOT just characteristics that a woman should possess. Men should possess the Proverbs 31 characteristics too. These same character traits this passage praises the Proverbs 31 woman for having are also desirable for men. They are not gender-specific. ALL people, men and women alike, should strive to have this type of character. 

Proverbs 31:10-31 in The Message Translation

Below is a look at my takeaways about character from the passages. I use the feminine pronouns “she” and “her” when describing her characteristics, but read through them keeping in mind that we should all endeavor to display this type of character in our lives. Continue reading

Funny Friday: I’m starting to think my husband isn’t going to apologize…

I'm starting to think my husband isn't going to apologize for the way he acted in my dream last night.

Funny Friday: I’m starting to think my husband isn’t going to apologize…

“I’m starting to think my husband isn’t going to apologize for the way he acted in my dream last night.”  Does this happen to anyone else?  He just doesn’t seem to understand why I’m so mad at him!

“I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means.” Daniel 2:3 (NLT)

 

KMS…Keep Mouth Shut

KMS...Keep Mouth Shut

KMS…Keep Mouth Shut

I think the best piece of marriage advice that I’ve ever received is KMS. Honestly, it’s been some pretty good advice in a variety of settings. However, it’s probably been some of the hardest advice to actually follow. Especially for me. Those who know me well will understand.

You see, several years ago I was serving on a volunteer team at my church. My team leader, Shelli, was amazing. She was such a great leader. I really looked up to her. One day as Shelli and I were serving together she mentioned that she and her husband were celebrating 17 years of marriage (or maybe 18 or more, I can’t remember offhand). I think I was only about 10 years into my marriage at that point, and we were going through some marriage problems.

So, I asked her, “What’s the best advice you could give me on marriage?”

Shelli quickly responded, “KMS.”

“KMS?” I questioned, “What’s KMS?”

She smiled at me and said “KMS…Keep Mouth Shut.”

I laughed and said, “Oh, I can’t do that! That’s your best advice? How do you do that? What about when you know you’re right?”

She laughed and jokingly replied, “Oh, I’m ALWAYS right, but I still keep my mouth shut!”

That was such a hard concept for me to fathom. How can I possibly believe that I’m right about something and still keep my mouth shut? 

God had already told me as much

Honestly, God had already been working on me to “KMS” for some time on this one. Even still, it took a while for me to get it through my thick head. Wait a minute! What am I talking about? I STILL struggle with this one a lot. 🙂 However, it is getting a lot easier.

After my conversation with Shelli, I started noticing bible verses about this exact topic of KMS during my quiet time readings…

“The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.” Exodus 14:14 (AMP)

“In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 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 3:1-4 (NLT)

“…So let your words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:2b (NLT)

“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” Proverbs 10:19 (NKJV)

“A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.” Proverbs 17:27-18 (NLT)

Did you see that? God was so nice. He started correcting me softly with phrases like “hold your peace”, “without any words”, “gentle and quiet spirit”, “few words”, “restrained lips” and “keep silent”.

I didn’t take the hint

Unfortunately, I still wasn’t taking the hint. Therefore, God got a little firmer and starting being a little more blunt about this KMS thing. Sometimes I need a good kick in the pants anyway!

Often, I like to read and study my bible in several different translations. One of my favorite things to do, as I’ve mentioned before, is read a chapter of Proverbs each day corresponding with the day of the month (since there are 31). Then, I start over again the next month reading in a different translation or version.

Several of these verses I kept reading about KMS came right out of the book of Proverbs. Can you believe that as I started reading in different translations, many of these same verses that I had already read (and had already been corrected on softly mind you) ACTUALLY had the KMS command in them! In fact, they flat-out said “keep your mouth shut” right in the verse! Who knew God could be so blunt and direct? Ouch!

KMS Verses:

KMS Bible Verses

KMS Bible Verses

“God will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouths shut!” Exodus 14:14 (MSG)

“…Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking.” Psalm 4:4 (MSG)

“Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” Proverbs 10:19 (NLT)

“I wish you would keep your mouths shut! Then people would think you were wise.” Job 13:5 (NIRV)

“So those who are smart keep their mouths shut, for it is an evil time.” Amos 5:13 (NLT)

“Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.” Proverbs 21:23 (NLT)

“Even dunces who keep quiet are thought to be wise; as long as they keep their mouths shut, they’re smart.” Proverbs 17:28 (MSG)

“I promised I would watch my steps so as not to sin with my tongue; promised to keep my mouth shut as long as the wicked were in my presence.” Psalms 39:1 CEB

“As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.” Ecclesiastes 5:1 (NLT)

“Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.” Proverbs 13:3 (NLT)

I finally started to get the idea

When I started reading these verses that were pretty much just in my face about the whole KMS issue, I finally started to take the correction. Boy was it humbling! I started to learn that sometimes fewer words (or no words) can speak volumes. The old cliché “silence is golden” can actually be pretty accurate.

One time God even threw in an extra analogy for me during my studies to drive His KMS point in really well. Wasn’t that nice of Him? 😉 One morning as I was sitting there studying these KMS verses about remaining silent, I had a thought cross my brain. Miranda Rights. All of a sudden these words ran through my mind, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you…” Consequently, this reminded me that I will also be held accountable for everything I say. What I say can and will be used against me. Yet another reason to KMS!

“But I tell you, on the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak. For by your words you will be justified and acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned and sentenced.” Matthew 12:36-37 (AMP) 

Now, it’s YOUR turn to KMS!

Take Some Practical Steps to KMS…Keep Mouth Shut:

  • First, read over the bible verses about KMS. There are LOTS of them! God probably deems this as a pretty important concept if the bible repeats it that much. There are some really good insights in these verses, and you can see some benefits of keeping your mouth shut. For example, when you KMS, God will fight for you, you appear more intelligent and wise, you stay out of trouble, you win people over, and you can keep yourself from sinning.
  • Next, pick a verse or two that stands out to you, write them on index cards and post them where you can see them daily as a reminder to KMS. Consider memorizing them.
  • Additionally, you might even turn some verses into a positive affirmation. For example, you could say, “God will fight for me. I will hold my peace and remain at rest.” Another affirmation might be, “I watch my tongue, keep my mouth shut, and stay out of trouble.”
  • Pray, and ask for God’s help to KMS. I try to make this a daily routine. A helpful verse to pray is Psalm 141:3. This is another verse I have written on an index card and posted on my bathroom sink so that I see it every morning.

“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3 (NIV)

Has God encouraged you to KMS in your relationships? How has KMS (keeping your mouth shut) been effective for you? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below.

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If you know anyone that could benefit from this, please pay it forward!  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) 

Apologizing Doesn’t Remove All Consequences

Apologizing Doesn’t Remove All Consequences

Apologizing Doesn’t Remove All Consequences

This past weekend my son and daughter were arguing. Surprise. Surprise. Why do kids argue over the stupidest things? My daughter had actually won a prize at church, a giant Pixy Stix. They started arguing over if she would share or not. When she went to put her coat on before we walked out to the car she needed someone to hold her Pixy Stix. She wouldn’t hand it to her brother but to me instead. Apparently he got mad because he was “trying to help her”. I’m sure he had other ulterior motives too. So he spouted off in a hateful tone, “I was just trying to help you! You’re a piece of crap!”

After I picked my jaw up off the floor at the nastiness that just spewed out of his mouth, I quickly informed him that we DO NOT talk like that to people. I also advised him that he would definitely not be getting any of that Pixy Stix now.

When we got to the car I made him do the 4-step apology (or as we call it now, “apologize the right way”). We had some further, lengthy “discussion” about his attitude and the ease with which he flung his verbal assault. After some conversation, the tension ceased. Something else lighthearted created peace between the two siblings again; for the life of me I can’t remember what it was now.

Then, I had that motherly 6th sense as I was driving. My daughter, the forgiving soul that she is, gave her brother some of her Pixy Stix candy.

So hollering behind me…

Me: “Are you eating some of that Pixy Stix?!”

My son: “Yes, she gave me some.”

Me: “I told you NO Pixy Stix.”

My son: “But I apologized and she forgave me.”

Me: “Apologies don’t delete consequences. Just because you said you were sorry doesn’t mean that your punishment disappears. Just because she forgave you doesn’t make the hurt you caused her disappear.”

Then I remembered an exercise that I do with my classes to demonstrate a point. Continue reading

Funny Friday: I want to learn British

My young daughter says, "I want to learn British. They just speak with an accent." :)

Funny Friday: I want to learn British

We were recently talking at dinner about learning different foreign languages.  My young daughter chimed in and said, “I want to learn British.  They just speak with an accent.” 🙂  We’re never short of laughs with my kids around.

“At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words.” Genesis 11:1 (NLT)

Adults Can Be Bullies Too

Adults Can Be Bullies Too

Adults Can Be Bullies Too

I’m going to tell on myself this week. 🙂 I had a lesson in dealing with adult bullies and therefore had the opportunity to show my kids a real-life example of how to deal with bullies.  We’ve talked recently about responding to people who offend you and scriptures to help when you feel attacked or persecuted.  Sometimes the best way to respond is not to respond.  However, there are times when a response is helpful and/or necessary.  I felt like I encountered one of those times this past week.

I had an altercation in the parking lot at my son’s school this past week, but it didn’t start there.  To give you some background, there has been a lady that has caused a variety of problems all school year.  In my opinion, she is an adult bully.  I had never talked to her (and honestly didn’t even know her) up until this point.  We see her almost every morning at school drop-off, and we always notice her.

There are a few reasons she stands out.  One reason is that every morning she has a dog that sits in the front seat of the car and barks incessantly with an ear-piercing sound with its head sticking out of the open window.  We can actually hear it while we are driving down the road, even though our windows are up!  She’s also very noticeable because she has driven pretty erratically on occasion—or as my kids would say, “She’s a crazy driver!”  Frequently, she does not follow the school’s drop-off procedure to only drop your kids off at a certain, designated location (so as not to block traffic).  Each morning she instead ignores this sometimes inconvenient procedure, and she drops her kids off at the front door which holds up and blocks traffic behind her prohibiting anyone else from being able to pull in to drop their kids off until she moves out of the way.

Last, but not least, she stands out because she has been known on SEVERAL occasions to honk at drivers in front of her, myself included.  There is a particular route to school that has an intersection where it is extremely difficult to make a left-hand turn during the busy morning traffic.  If she has to wait too long at that intersection she starts honking.  Last week was no different.  I was at the intersection attempting to turn left.  She was in the car directly behind me (I knew because I heard the barking dog!).  Due to the high volume of traffic, I was having a difficult time turning left.

One thing you should also know about me is that I’m a “better safe than sorry” kind of person when driving, especially if I have my kids in the car.  I know this probably irritates some people because I don’t get in a hurry—to me it’s not worth the risk.  I guess to this lady it is worth the risk, because she started honking in a series of small honks at first.  She also kept moving forward acting as if she would hit me with her car if I didn’t hurry up and go.  Then, she proceeded to lay on the horn with a nonstop blast when I refused to rush in front of an oncoming school bus that had briefly stopped at a railroad crossing.  I was getting a bit flustered at this point.  I rolled my window down and waived my hand backward as if to say “stop it!”, and I pulled out after the school bus had passed.  I shook my index finger out the window as I drove on.  You know…kind of a “shame on you” type of move.

I decided right then that I was not going to put up with her bullying any more.  Continue reading

Funny Friday: Communication Breakdown

Communication Breakdown?

Funny Friday: Communication Breakdown

Hmmm.  I think there might have been a communication breakdown with the construction of this house.  I guess this is what happens when two teams don’t talk?

“But they did not listen or pay attention; instead… They went backward and not forward.” Jeremiah 7:24 (NIV)