Be Kind

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sweet on veg

photo source: Sweet on Veg, used by license unchanged

God wasn’t kidding when he advised us, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19

There are so many opportunities to misunderstand, hurt folks with our words, or overreact. We can wreak much damage on others when we don’t listen, choose our words carefully, or control our reactions, however justified we think they may be.

I received an email this weekend that was rich in criticisms and short on questions. It came out of the blue. And boy, did it sting. I’m choosing not to respond until I can be gracious. 🙂 In the meantime, it’s been a great reminder to me to be gentle with my words, to be kind.

  • Do I accuse my children without asking questions, without attempting to hear the whole story?
  • Do I approach my kids with a laundry list of their failings?
  • Do I build up instead of tear down?
  • Do I consider all sides of an issue before barging in?
  • Do I make my expectations clear before holding someone accountable?

It’s often when we’ve been wronged that we’re reminded to examine our own behavior and to be a bit kinder.

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  1. This is a great reminder of how powerful our words are, and that we should be slow to respond if we can’t do it nicely. Thank you for the reminder.

  2. Thank you for this timely reminder. I appreciate your wise words, “I’m choosing not to respond until I can be gracious,” I also need to wait and put this wisdom into practice.

  3. You know what? Forward that email to me – I’ll respond on your behalf 🙂
    You’re being mature and smart – and thinking about it always is the best choice. Nothing more humbling than realizing I’ve wronged a child, been unkind – devasting

  4. Thanks for sharing and sorry you had this happen. Your message is a great reminder for me, as I prepare for a family visit in a not so ideal time. I pray for a smooth family visit!


      Timely post. I’ve been thinking about this topic the last few days. I noticed it particularly this past week while leaving comments on blogs. What I’m thinking doesn’t always come out the same way. I especially Like your list of ideas. Thanks

  5. While you do open yourself up to all sorts of people in blogging about your life, it’s not like you’re forcing people to read it—if they don’t like it, they don’t have to read it! Why would someone write you and be UNconstructively critical? Good that you’re waiting to respond when you can do so nondefensively and nonreactively. My mother always said, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.” Some people!

  6. Should you reply at all to the person so full of criticism. You don’t owe anyone explanation. You an are awesome fishmama. I doubt you will change their mind.

  7. Yes, my mom always told me to wait a few days to respond in a situation like this–very wise. I just turned 44 and I still struggle with bowing down to the idol of “Wanting Everyone to Like Me.” That said, I do have a tendency to quickly judge and my husband often reminds me of Jonathon Edward’s resolution: “Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.” I also need to remind myself that God is my avenger. Yes, I fall short in so many ways each and every day, but I am being sanctified in Christ and in Him I am wholly redeemed.

  8. ooh, life can be tough sometimes. far too often i find myself making situations far worse than they need to be by selfishly reacting rather than acting in a Christlike manner. your post was a very good reminder for me. good for you for taking a set back. for what it’s worth, i think you’re awesome.

  9. Rock on Jessica! Kudos to you for being able to be so gracious. I know you mentioned it was a personal e-mail; but along the same lines I would NEVER be able to do what you in the area of blogging either! I don’t have thick enough skin for it ;)! I don’t participate in any form of social media aspect for this reason either. There are just too many unhappy people out there ready to hack us all down at the knees. I have a lot of admiration for you and your generosity with your ideas,.despite the criticisms you receive! Sending you a “wink” to brighten your day!