Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Soft Answer

"A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger."
Proverbs 15:1
(KJV)


Today, I parked our car at the far end of a local fast-food restaurant drive-thru lane,
after being asked to move away from the window to wait for our food.
The minutes ticked by, until finally I turned off the motor to save gas.

Zachary had a homeschool appointment that we really could not be late for,
and I began to feel very stressed and frustrated as I sat there waiting.
I felt like I was wasting time, and that always bugs me.  

I kept looking at the digital clock on the dashboard,
not hardly believing how long I had been sitting there.

What on earth could be taking them so long?
Why is it that every, single time I visit this place, 
I am asked to pull forward so they can prepare our food?
Why don't they just stop calling it fast food...since there is nothing fast about it?
Our order wasn't all that big,
and we didn't ask for anything unusual.

The longer I sat there, the more my tolerance was depleted.
By the time I saw an employee walking towards the side door with a bag in her hand,
I was near to reaching the end of my endurance of the situation.

Thinking she was finally bringing our food, I turned her way so I could take the bag,
thank her, and move on.

"Oh, no, Sweetie, this is for him!"  
She was smiling from ear to ear, 
sweet as could be,
pointing to the guy in the car in back of me,
who, by the way, had also been asked to pull forward,
but who had only been waiting for a few, short minutes....
much less time than the several minutes I had been sitting there.

Are you serious? I was thinking to myself.
Surely she has to be kidding.
Not only had I waited an unreasonably long time,
but the guy behind me got there after I did!
Shouldn't I get our food first?
Isn't that the way it is supposed to work?
First come, first served??

Thank God for grace.
He kept my tongue in check, 
and I didn't utter the aggravation I was feeling.
I sure was tempted to, sad to say.
I'm so glad He covered me.

I heard her laughing and talking to the guy in the car behind me.
I was feeling pretty perturbed.

"Sweetheart, what did you order?" she asked, as she approached my window again.
"I'm going to go get your food right now."
There was a kindness to her tone...
a real genuine quality about her niceness.

I reached for the receipt lying on the seat beside me,
and I began to read off my order to her.
I learned a new appreciation for God's help, as He enabled me to be nice.
It's amazing how kind words receive kind echoes.

Somehow, my anger had dissipated.
All those long minutes waiting didn't seem to matter.
This woman cared.
She was kind.

She walked to the drive-thru window and began knocking on it from the outside,
trying to get the employee's attention who was inside.

"I need her food", she demanded, pointing in my direction.
"Come on, we need to get her her food."

It wasn't very long before she had our food in her hand,
and she had walked it to our car.

"Make sure it's right, will you?
Make sure everything is in there that should be, Sweetie."

I did.
It was.

I looked up at her, thankfully, and said,
"Thank you so much.
You are so sweet."

Her face lit up.

"Oh, thank you!!" she called over her shoulder as she walked back inside, still smiling.

I drove off, and God began to speak to my heart....
about her soft answer.

My wrath was completely gone.
It was all gone...because of her....and the soft, kind tone she used when dealing with me.

Believe me, I had already decided that when I got home, 
I would go online and fill out the handy-dandy survey on the back of that receipt. :)
 I was even keeping track of how many minutes I had to sit and wait....
that is...until I heard the soft answer in her voice.

It immediately turned away my wrath.
And though there was undoubtedly some incompetence involved on the part of the employees,
and though I drove all the way home only to open my Whopper 
and find that they had left off the onions and tomatoes, 
(What is a whopper without onions?????),
and there wasn't a drop of sauce in the bag to go along with Kevin's chicken tenders,
I am going to choose to overlook it all.
The missing items were easily fixed.
I peeled and sliced an onion when I got home,
picked up one of the tomatoes on our kitchen window sill and washed and sliced it,
and took the Sonny's barbecue sauce out of the refrigerator for Kevin.
No big deal.

That soft answer was still echoing in my mind,
in spite of the added frustration.

Had she come out that door with a different attitude,
had she spoken to me with grievous words spoken in a different tone,
the tension would not have been diffused.
It would have been infused...with more tension and more frustration.

She is to be commended.
She took a potentially business-damaging situation
and gave it a surprise pleasant ending.

How many times do we add grievous words to already-explosive circumstances?
What would happen if we exercised self-control and gave a soft answer in place of harsh replies?

The word "grievous" in this verse literally means:
a word that hurts,
painful,
a pang,
harsh,
hard

I admired her ability to turn things around today.
All it took was a soft answer.
I saw its effectiveness.
The Scripture was proven right before my eyes...
not by me giving a soft answer,
but by me receiving one.

In the past, I've always thought of being the one who needs to speak a soft answer...
to turn away someone else's wrath.
Today, I was the one on the other end feeling the wrath that needed to be turned away.

Sometimes, God has to allow us to be on the other end of a situation...
He wants us to see the other side....
to be the one who is receiving Christlike treatment...
in order for us to fully comprehend the meaning of His Word
and to see a personal demonstration of its effectiveness.

I will more than likely re-visit the same restaurant.
Even though I know it will probably be a trial.
We go into it with our eyes wide open every time we decide to eat there.
Oftentimes, something goes wrong...
either they'll mess up our order,
we will end up waiting for an unreasonably long time, 
or, at times, we may even be ignored or treated disrespectfully.
Much to the hindrance of my weight-loss endeavors, 
sometimes, I get to craving a Whopper just that much!
Sometimes, a person is willing to put up with whatever it takes to get one. :)

Especially, if there is someone there 
who is known to speak soft answers.


8 comments:

  1. I have a child that has been difficult and I often fail to provide a soft answer. Thanks for the conviction. May the Lord turn his face toward you. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, bless your dear heart! May God bless you and give you the extra grace that you need during this season of life. I so appreciate you stopping by and leaving encouragement behind. So happy to have "met" you. Love, Cheryl

      Delete
  2. I blew it majorly today and yelled. I needed to read this tonight. Thank you.
    Laura

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I surely know how you feel...I have blown it so many times. I don't mean to...some days, I just don't have the patience I need! And I often forget how powerful a soft answer truly is. Thank you so much for stopping by! Love, Cheryl

      Delete
  3. One more thing, I'm gfc following you now.
    Laura
    Harvest Lane Cottage

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you SO much! I just figured out how to add that feature tonight! I was so proud of myself. :) I'm not the most computer savvy person...LOL! So, this was a major accomplishment for me! I am so excited you are now a follower! Looking forward to our journey together...I LOVE your blog!

      Delete
  4. Nice post, Cheryl. I think you made her day better too. And, it is a good reminder how we should react.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, my dear, sweet friend. So glad you stopped by...it always brightens my day to hear from you. :) Love & appreciate you, Cheryl

    ReplyDelete