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“Although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I appeal to you on the basis of love” (Philemon 8 & 9).

Sheep can be led but not driven. Attempt to drive sheep and they will stampede and scatter. It is no mistake that God calls us His sheep. Christians don’t like to be driven, either. We’ll kick and run. Our feelings will become bruised. But allow a gentle shepherd to lovingly show us the way by example and we can do marvelous and wonderful things.

Tact seems to be in shorter supply these days. We have become an impatient society. Microwave meals and instant tea and coffee, smart phones and texting leave us itching to get on with life. We are busy people. All our hurrying and scurrying allows little time for tender social graces. The result is rudeness.

Some of us are like the blunt and caustic preacher who judged the impact of his preaching by the number of those he wounded on Sunday. When a sweet sister suggested to him that he could catch more flies with honey than vinegar, he retorted, ― “Sister, I’m not in the fly-catching business. AMEN.”

When will we learn? Paul knew that there were many ways to approach a single situation. He could have been rude and abusive. After all, he was an apostle! He could have reproved and rebuked with all ugliness, yet he chose the gentle approach. He used God’s psychology. He became all things to all people, so they would be able to accept the message (1 Corinthians 9:22).

Marketing has convinced us that packaging is vital. This writer even bought once some cologne simply because the bottle was pretty. But, the contents STUNK! Contents is what matters. Is it worth it, and profitable for the intended purpose?

Nobody takes rude orders well. But I believe most thoughtful people will accept truth/advice when it is ― “packaged” in the spirit of gentleness and offered ―ON THE BASIS OF GODLY LOVE. It would do us all well to speak words seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6). After all, we may have to eat them later. ~~ West Berry Banner

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