Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Romans 2:4)
“It is so obvious that you are a teacher.” One of the others around the table said that to ma and, honestly, it left me a bit confused. How so? She explained, “I was right about to yell at one kid for going too slow, but I bit my tongue. The next one to go went much faster and you complimented her for breezing right through her turn. Your carrot is far more effective than my stick.” I hadn’t really thought about it, but she was probably right. There were nine of us playing a game together, four adults(ish) and five kids (as in preteen) and the game was going a bit slower than I would have liked.
I know the carrot works a lot better than the stick in my own life. If someone yells at me, I am just as likely to shut it down and quit as I am to try harder. If someone encourages me I am far more likely to try even harder next time. I guess in that game I was acting out the golden rule. If I want others to be motivated through kindness and encouragement, why not do the same thing to others? What about you, are you more likely to be motivated by the carrot or the stick?
React: Why is it that what something I am encouraged by and something that comes as second nature for me in conversations with others seems to disappear when I am witnessing? If I were to try witnessing to the Samaritan woman at the well, I would not have approached the conversation the same way Jesus did. My approach usually falls into two categories: rebuke, “you’re drawing the water all wrong” or condescension, “Here. Let me show you a much better way to draw water than that.” Even though it is His kindness that leads me to repentance, all too often I find that kindness incredibly difficult to pass on to others? Do you?
I am so grateful that You wooed me, and You continue to lead me closer to You through kindness. All too often, though, this is a fruit of the spirit that I find lacking in my own life. All too often I have not been a good or a kind representation of You to my world. Thank You for reminding me of those times I have gotten it right and help me to live in such a way that others would say, “I can see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God through him is with me.”