Proverbs 25:15 - By long forbearance and calmness of spirit a judge or ruler is persuaded, and soft speech breaks down the most bonelike resistance.
Proverbs 31:26 - She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction].
The Dictionary defines forbearance as patient endurance. The Hebrew breaks down soft (speech) tongue as tender, delicate, soft, gentle words.What about those hard to deal with people? Stubborn? Or even just those people who don't see it "your" way? Maybe you are trying to convince your spouse of something YOU want.... his resistance is frustrating and you just want to have your way.
I used to be (and really probably still am) a very stubborn person. I believe the difference between my childhood stubbornness was the defiant iron will that came from my eyes, the hardness, the bonelike resistance. Like a bulldog, I was not going to let go or give in if I had my mind set on something. My teeth would have to be pulled out before I would let go of my grip on "my way." Patient endurance did not define my means of acquiring things, nor did opening my mouth in skillful or godly wisdom.
Both Proverbs 25:15 & Proverbs 31:26 give us insight into breaking down bonelike resistance. It boils down to one word, not manipulation, but love. Love does not manipulate. Love does not try to twist words, position words in the best sales manner to succeed. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is soft. And with soft, kind, gentle words, love pulls, love does not push. Love draws in. Love does not force.
Equally, in all of loves efforts to guide, give counsel and instruct, love also leaves the right for the recipient to refuse counsel, refuse guidance, refuse instruction. Love leaves room for freedom of choice. In attempts to break down the bonelike resistance, the stubbornness, love speaks softly. Love speaks in kindness. Loves true desire is wholeness, but love is strong enough to open hands of release. Love is strong enough to let go.
Manipulation is a perverted way to get something that we want. Manipulation twists, and turns, positions in a sneaky way. Manipulation gets what it wants at any cost. Manipulation will lie & deceive. Manipulation is close-minded to anything but getting it's way. Manipulation's mindset will have it's way one way or another, even if it has to force it.
Love allows freedom. Love softly and delicately prods. Love has soft eyes. Love draws in. Love yearns for, but because of it's great depth is willing to let go. With kind words, love ultimately seeks what is best, but allows freedom of choice. Love listens. Love is unconditional. Love is in spite of mistake. Love is in spite of betrayal. Love is present at all times, even in disappointment.
Gentle words. A soft tongue. Love leaves God in control of the outcome.
Substitute your NAME in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 where the word "love" is. Do you epitomize the meaning of "love?" Does your name fit?
- _(LOVE)_ is patient
- ______ is kind.
- ______ does not envy,
- ______ does not boast,
- ______ is not proud.
- ______ does not dishonor others,
- ______ is not self-seeking,
- ______ is not easily angered,
- ______ keeps no record of wrongs.
- ______ does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
- ______ always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
How are you handling your current situation? In Manipulation or Love?
- ______ never fails.