I asked my youngest son Carl to replace a light switch plate in his bedroom with the new one. A couple of minutes later I heard him revving the DeWalt cordless drill. I rolled my eyes and thought, “Any excuse to use a power tool…” A regular screwdriver would’ve been the best choice for such a simple task. Besides, if you don’t know how to use a power tool properly, you could do some damage. Talk about overkill!
There are many situations in which it’s possible for us to be guilty of overkill. Mainly, let’s give some thought to how we react to others. Do we feel the need to make some noise? Is that really more effective? Or are there times when a quieter approach is more appropriate? Just because we own power tools doesn’t mean every situation calls for them. Consider some examples:
With our children. When we’re admonishing, we don’t have to raise our voice to show significance. “If I yell at them, they’ll know I really mean it!” If we have to shout before they know we’re serious, it’s because we’ve conditioned them that way. There are times when shouting (the power tool) is appropriate, such as stopping a child from running out into the street, but most of the time a raised voice does more harm than good. We can discipline without yelling. We can still be strict and serious without intimidating our children or losing our temper. Patience, gentleness, and self-control demonstrate the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). What are we demonstrating when we’re quick to shout?
With our spouse. Shouting matches behind closed doors are often the result of misunderstandings. When we assume that our spouse knows what we want or understands the way we think, we feel hurt or angry when hopes aren’t realized or something is handled unexpectedly. Then we take it personally. Discussions escalate, and doors are slammed to punctuate. This kind of ugly damage can be avoided. It’s not fair to expect your mate to read your mind, and then let them know you’re frustrated when they don’t measure up. Talk, discuss, share. And when a disappointment still comes, talk through it again. Danger hovers close to heated arguments because we know our spouses’ vulnerabilities. We know how to hurt them. We can communicate effectively without threatening or insulting. Quietness doesn’t signify a lack of passion. It means we want to love like Christ loves (Ephesians 5:22-28).
With our brethren. Upon seeing a weakness or shortcoming in a brother, some are too eager to make some noise. Condemnations are spouted on facebook, but to what end? If the goal is to help, encourage, or restore, wouldn’t a simple, quiet one-on-one approach be more effective? Upon seeing imperfections in a preaching school or Christian college, wouldn’t a direct conversation with the administration be adequate instead of publicly writing off all such institutions? And instead of slamming the Lord’s church for all the world to see/ read/ hear, wouldn’t it be better to demonstrate a Christ-like life to show the world the beautiful nature of God’s Family? When we’re quick to condemn, we do more harm than good. Looking for ways to lovingly make a difference doesn’t mean we tolerate sin. It means we’re humbly bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2).
It didn’t take long for Carl to let me know the job was done. He even revved the drill a couple more times to emphasize his manliness. I laughed at that. But it’s no laughing matter when we overreact to our families, and to God’s Family.
Prayer for Today: Thank you for your Son, who showed us how to love and live with patience and humility.