I recently did a live video on a simple truth I've learned. Then realized many of you who read Embrace the Grace wouldn't have a way to watch the video. There are probably others who might want it in a written form to use for devotions or a prayer time. So, here you go . . .
Several years ago, I discovered a type of nail polish that really does strengthen my fingernails. It's clear and dries quickly. It helped my nails and if it got chipped, no one could tell. All these were selling points due to my sometimes hectic life.
The one drawback was a serious one. The bonding agent in the polish (which makes it strengthen my nails) also becomes a bonding agent under the lid when tipped over. In other words, after several uses the bottle often became almost impossible to open.
I would wrestle several minutes with the bottle then finally go to Frank for help. It was SUCH a good bonding agent that many times he had to use pliers to open the closed top.
One day, I needed the polish in a hurry and of course it was stuck. Frank went straight for the pliers. Unfortunately, someone had moved them. He went to look for them but carried the polish in his hand to keep him on track with the search. After several minutes, he still had not located the pliers and I needed to go.
Frank started walking back to where I waited with the intention of explaining that the polish was still closed. He gave the top one more twist and to his utter shock, the top came off easily!
"Look!" he exclaimed. "The top came right off after being in my hand while I was searching. We didn't even need the pliers."
Now, we know the secret. When the top is stuck like cement and refuses to open, we wait. We patiently hold it in our hand until our warmth releases the bonding agent.
The nail polish bottle is a silly item that taught me a valuable lesson.
When I discover people in my life who are closed off to me, how do I react? Do I rush over and grab pliers hoping to force them to open up to me? Do I pressure them with guilt or other forms of manipulation? Or do I utilize the lesson of the bottle? Have I tried offering them warmth and patience? Have I genuinely offered kindness which might cause them to want to open up?
This truth can be effective for parents with teenagers who have become closed off and refuse to communicate. It's also effective for CEO's working with people who stand back and resist bringing their gifts to the team. It's a great truth for us as pastors. If someone is struggling, we wait and pray and trust that the kindness we offer will eventually help them open up to us.
I've long appreciated Proverbs 15:1 which says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath." But I found it in the Passion Translation which says, "Respond gently when you are confronted and you'll defuse the rage of another. Responding with sharp, cutting words will only make it worse."
Did that make you say, "WOW!" ?? It certainly had that affect on me.
So, I'll leave you with this thought, dear friend. The next time you come up against that person who seems so angry and closed off to you - try warmth. Your act of extending patience and kindness may prove to be the very thing they need to open right up.
It's certainly worth a try! Blessings
How about you? Have you experienced the frustration of trying to work with someone who shuts you out? Has that been a family member or a co-worker? Was there a time when YOU were offered warmth that made you want to open up to someone? We'd love to hear about your experience in the comment section.