“Why are you yelling?”
“I’M NOT YELLING. HOW CAN I BE YELLING? THIS IS AN EMAIL!!!”
Melody realized how tight her jaw muscles were as she mauled her sandwich and began dumping her morning frustration on the lunchroom table. “Customer service jobs suck—that’s all there is to it.”
“Wait a minute! What day is it? Didn’t we have this conversation yesterday.” That was Melody’s best friend in the cube farm—Tanya.
“Yesterday and everyday from now on. I’m putting it on the calendar: ‘hate work.’ I mean, where does this guy get off? I’m glad it was an email and not a call. But still, I swear it hits me just the same. Oh great! Listen to me practically yelling at you now!”
“I know,” replied Tanya in a more subdued tone that allowed the other workers to return to lunch. She had been in the chair at PayUsToFeelSafe Mutual for several years longer than Melody, and had almost adjusted to the occasional roughing up. “What gets me is that they actually think they’re going to accomplish more by being jerks.”
Melody was struck by Tanya’s easy vibe. “Why can’t people be like you? I’ll bet you’ve never raised your voice in your life!” Her voice was lower, but the sandwich was still paying a terrible price for her wrath.
“Hahaha! You have no idea! I still cringe when I remember how many times I took anger from bad days here and sandblasted people at home.” Tanya reflected a moment and then continued. “Yeah, ‘abrasive’—that’s exactly the picture. Dan and the kids would be home, but I’d be alone in the family room. It finally dawned on me that everyone had snuck off into conflict-free zones.”
“And so you just turned over the gentle leaf?! Why aren’t you giving lessons? Humanity needs you! Let’s start a podcast and change the world!”
“You’re hilarious,” Tanya said drily. You really want to hear it? It has to do with the Bible.”
Melody scrunched her nose like she knew it might hurt, but said, “Of course” in a cheerful voice that was only a little fake.
“Well, it was during that time I was going through my health crisis. The doctor had prescribed a medication. I guess it was necessary, but it made me feel awful. Anyway, I was dealing with that when I came across a passage in the Bible that says gentleness is something that marks God’s Spirit at work in us. I was aware of how my abrasiveness was affecting my family, so I was curious about the verse. I’ve got this app on my phone. And you can click on a word and see what the original Greek word was—and what it meant.”
“Greek word? Who are you?” Melody asked, rolling her eyes.
“Let’s not get lost there. The word translated ‘gentleness’ was linked to medical terminology that talked about a mild medication. You know, one where the remedy isn’t worse than the disease. My abrasiveness, an upset stomach from strong medicine, and this concept of gentleness—it all came together for me in a pretty powerful way. That was the catalyst for change I guess. ”
Melody stopped chewing for just a moment and then said smiling, “And now you’re perfect. And I hate you.”
Tanya gave Melody a little hip check as she got up from the table, making her spill her last sip of iced tea. “How’s that for gentle!?”
The story of us all:
Gentleness is non-abrasive. It takes no pleasure in seeing people cringe. Followers of Jesus are called and empowered to be considerate and tender toward others; mindful that they are made in the image of God.
One important Scripture:
Philippians 4:5 – "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near."
Your own story:
You’ve heard Tanya’s story, you know the story of us all. Now, let’s talk!
Can you afford to be gentle in a society like ours?