Gentle Persuasion

by Stan Mitchell
manwalking4.jpg“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” (Proverbs 16:32, ESV).
One of Aesop’s fables tells of a competition between the rain, the wind and the sun. All three were looking down at a man walking along the road on a cold day, his coat and collar pulled tightly around him.
“Let’s see who can take the man’s coat off,” they said. The rain began, pelting the man with a heavy downpour. But the man simply pulled his coat up higher in an effort to protect himself from the elements.
So the wind began to blow, gusts of wind tearing at the man’s clothes in an effort to blow the coat off. But the man simply pulled the coat around himself tighter.
Then the sun began to shine. The sky was blue, the warmth began to seep into the miserable man’s body, and it comforted him. It took a little time, but inevitably it happened. It was so warm and pleasant that the man took off the coat himself.
Many times we try to dominate others, to demand that they do things our way. Not surprisingly, our kids, our spouses and our churches simply pull their coats tighter, in a defensive posture. There is a saying that honey accomplishes more than vinegar. Sometimes where force fails, patience produces.
When manipulation doesn’t work, warm them with the sunshine of your love.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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