“Patience can persuade a prince, And soft speech can break bones.” — Proverbs 25:15

Solomon, the writer of Proverbs, offers similar counsel in Proverbs 16:2:
“Better to be patient than powerful;  better to have self-control than to conquer a city.”

and in Proverbs 15:1:  “A gentle answer deflects anger, But harsh words make tempers flare.”

Patient persuasion is much more effective than using resistance or force — whether with someone in authority over you or someone under your authority. It works in both directions!

Abraham Lincoln famously said, “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him your friend.”

But patient persuasion takes time and effort, doesn’t it? How often are we in too much of a hurry to be willing to take the time patient persuasion requires?  

God uses patient persuasion with us, doesn’t He? He doesn’t force us to act in a certain way (although He certainly has the power to do so!). Instead, the Holy Spirit works within us to bring about His good purposes. As Philippians 2:13 says, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

But if we resist, God may choose to bring circumstances into our lives that encourage us to change direction. I’m reminded of The Hornet Song (see Exodus 23:28):

When the Canaanites hardened their hearts against God
And grieved Him because of their sin,
God sent along hornets to bring them to time,
And help His own people to win.
The hornets persuaded them that it was best,
To go quickly, and not to go slow;
God did not compel them to go ’gainst their will,
But He just made them willing to go.
He does not compel us to go, No! No!
He does not compel us to go.
He does not compel us to go ’gainst our will
But He just makes us willing to go.

(Read more:

I’d rather not have hornets in my life! How about you?

How much better to walk closely with God, and allow His patient persuasion to grow us in the grace and knowledge of God!

by Darrel Eppler, Chairman of the Elder Board

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