The other day, one of my daughters stomped in from declining to do a task that had been Grossly Unfairly Assigned to Her, and angrily (and loudly) grumbled, “WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO BE NICE TO ANYONE WHEN NO ONE IS NICE TO ME?!”
Praise the Lord for His discernment and the fruit of self-control, because it truly was Him keeping me from becoming furious right back at her. It amazed me to hear the words coming from my own mouth, calmly and gently (how ’bout that, another fruit?!):
And in that moment, it was like a switch was flipped. Her fury subsided, she gave me a hug and went back to what she’d been asked to do.
Please understand, if you don’t know my kids personally, this is NOT what any of them are naturally inclined to do. Naturally, they are inclined to argue, defend, pout, grumble about fairness…you get the picture. Further, I am not naturally inclined to be calm and gentle when faced with Ultra-Snarkiness. This was not a natural phenomenon. It was quite literally, supernatural.
There’s simply no substitute for memorizing the Word, purposefully hiding it in your heart. I guess that’s one of the side-benefits of having that Word in your heart–it’s right there, ready to spring forth on your lips when you need it the most.
Now it doesn’t always work that way. Not because the Word of God is impotent, but because I’m sometimes inclined to put my own parental two-cents worth in–you know, “improving” God’s Word with my own “so there!” (Because God really needs my help…yes, right.)
But this day, the Lord gave me the discernment and strength to be able to respond like Jesus did when tempted in the wilderness by the devil himself, with the Word and the Word alone. Noteable that when Jesus responded to the enemy with the Word (“It is written”), “then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”
If it’s good enough for the King of Kings, perhaps the strategy might be good enough for me and my family. Worth a try. Sure helped score one in the win column that day.