Saturday, June 6, 2009


Photo image property of Barbara K Dittrich, 2009
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 
(Ephesians 4:15, NLT)

There is no doubt about it, parenting a child with a special need is stressful. Contending with doctors, insurance companies, schools and those who lack understanding can be frustrating and exhausting. With these vulnerabilities, it is easy to come at people with "guns a-blazing" when we need to make a stand.

Yet, our challenging lives do not entitle us to verbally abuse others. If you look back at the first few verses of Ephesians 4, you can see that God's expectation is that we treat one another with humility, gentleness, patience and that we bear with one another. This means taking a deep breath and calming down to choose our words wisely. I have at times even prefaced a tense situation by saying, "I'm just going to apologize right now because I'm upset, and I may lose it during this conversation." That admission has been successful in changing the entire tone of an exchange.

God shows us what happens when we're not careful with our words in Proverbs 12:18, "The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." (NIV)  We can cut others to their very core. At the same time, we lose credibility and may appear unwise. What if, unbeknownst to us, the person we're talking to just recently lost a loved one? Or found out they had cancer? Would we give them more grace? We don't know what's on the heart or mind of others we need to work with. Further, we must understand that the other individual has not walked a mile in our shoes. We can help to increase their understanding by treating them the way we would hope to be treated.

My mom taught me the saying, "You catch more bees with honey than you do with vinegar." When we tell the truth to others firmly but lovingly, we win them over to our cause. And face it, we could all use a few more allies on our side!

~ Barb Dittrich

1 comment:

  1. I was just in a situation where I knew, just knew I could not have the conversation without hurting the other person. I had to send someone else to speak for me! It was amazing how God used this person to share my heart, and the end result was beyond what I could have hoped for. I thank God for the nudge He gave me to hold back and let Him fight for me!