"Gentle answers"

Feeling anger emanating from every place inside me, I reached in the drawer for a folder and slammed it on the desk. The loud noise satisfied my irritation, but only for a moment. My frustration only deepened as I realized how emotionally intense I had become. All because of my daughter's grade school party. Disappointed that she was going to miss the party because of another school event, my 9-year- old had disrespectfully expressed her frustration to me. She was angry that I was requiring her to keep her initial commitment. All my efforts at teaching character suddenly dimmed in light of my own behavior.

No one can incite fury in us faster than our own flesh and blood. As godly as we strive to be, every parent has moments when our words are anything but wise or kind (Proverbs 31:26). Parenting is hard work, as much in learning to crucify our own flesh as in teaching our children to crucify theirs.

As parents, we want our children to receive our correction (Proverbs 15:5) but, as children of the Lord, parents must respect the correction He brings us through His Word (Hebrews 12:6). Because of our sin nature, gentleness is rarely our default response to situations that don't go our way. Rather, it is a behavior we must allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).

A sure-fire way to walk in the flesh is to allow a conflict with our children to become a struggle for power. A gentle answer may not turn away our children's anger, but it is sure to waylay the anger within us. We can allow our emotions to rule or we can walk in the power of the Holy Spirit by adhering to the precepts of His Word, even when our flesh is demanding otherwise (Galatians 5:17). , Regina Franklin, Our Daily Journey

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