Hi friends, I am busy helping my son move out, set up his new home, and with last-minute wedding preparations this week. I have asked my Compel Writing group leader Tondi Wheat to share some encouraging words with you this week. Compel Writer’s training program is a part of Proverbs 31 Ministries. You can find out more about Compel at Compel training. Without further ado, I welcome my friend, Tondi Wheat to By His Grace Blog today.
Three Reactions to Build Relationships
There are times where I would love to omit some scriptures out of my Bible; they’re just difficult to obey. I grew up when kids were to be seen and not heard, and continued that philosophy when I had my first child.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, “ James 1:19 NIV
During church was no exception to that rule. Toys were to be quiet if my daughter sat in the church service with me. She needed to be dressed for church, with her hair brushed well, and never was there any gum to be played. Gum was meant to be in the mouth; no bubbles and no playing with it. I usually would give her a warning, but after that, it was to be thrown away.
One Sunday morning, church was beginning. My daughter had already sat down by my bag, and I soon joined her. I noticed she was sitting very quietly, playing with something in her hand. My eyes became fixated on the item being stuck to her little four-year-old fingers.
I leaned down to her level and quietly said, “You need to put that in your mouth now. You know you are not to play with gum.”
“But mommy,” she begged as her sweet big blue eyes met my eyes gazing at her.
“Put it in your mouth now,” I said a little more sternly.
“But Mommy,” she pleaded as her sweet looking eyes now looked saddened.
“Now” I demanded.
She quickly put the gum in her mouth as I sat beside her; frustrated she didn’t obey the first time. I began to think about the whole situation. She usually was very obedient. “Why had she not listened and obeyed?”
I thought of the color of the gum and what kind it may have been. Then I wondered where she got it and who gave it to her. So, I asked, “Where did you get that gum?”
She replied, “I found it under the water fountain.”
“Get that out of your mouth,” I said as I took a piece of paper to wrap around it.
She was trying to tell me, but I was too quick to assume she was disobeying. I didn’t want to listen; I wanted her just to do as I said.
We can be so quick to react to a situation without knowing the full extent of the circumstances. When a child appears to have not obeyed; your spouse does something they know bothers you, or a colleague blatantly disrespects you, we have a decision as to how to react. How we react to a situation can build a relationship or build a wall in the relationship.
In James, we are told to “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
Relationships will be stronger when you follow these steps in any situation.
Quick to Listen:
To be a good listener, give them your full attention. Stop what you are doing, and if possible look them in the eyes to ensure they know you are listening.
If you are on the phone and there’s a problem arising with your spouse or kids, if possible, get off the phone. Show them they are more important that the person on the phone.
Slow to Speak:
Just because you think you know what happened, doesn’t mean you need to share it first. Listen to the other person’s side of the story. Show them their words and feelings are important too.
Slow to Become Angry:
When you hear another perspective, it helps to understand another person. Building relationships are God’s focus. If we are angry, we are building a wall between relationships.
When we follow these steps, we may find: our perspective was incorrect; we have caused some feelings in the other person, and they are reacting, or the person is hurting and will lash out at anyone. We are only responsible for our reactions to their actions.
My daughter survived the germs shared by another, and I became a better parent and listener after that gum incident over 20 years ago. I may not always follow these steps, but when I do, it shows others: their words matter; I don’t know everything; and, they are important.
Listen to their side of the story; then speak, so you don’t become angry.
Tondi Wheat grew up in church, being a Pastor’s kid; although, she never fully grasped the concept of God’s love and grace until later in life. She has learned hard life lessons through a failed marriage, raising a daughter to adulthood, homeschooling, life changes, and remarriage. She loves doing life with her husband of 14 years, adult daughter, and two young sons. They reside in the country, outside a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. You can follow her on her facebook writer’s page: Tondi Wheat, writer.