January 7 – Drip, Drip, GUSH!

By long forbearance and calmness of spirit a judge or ruler is persuaded, and soft speech breaks down the most bonelike resistance. Proverbs 25:15 AMP

We got off on the wrong foot. I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me. I was given a job to do and that’s all I was doing. I never meant to tick him off.

I was once hired to motivate a group of leaders and maneuver them into key and vital roles necessary for increased productivity and heightened morale. These were volunteer leaders, so I scheduled what I felt was a business-friendly meeting.

Nothing had been done like it before and many of the people were alarmed at my enthusiasm and watched me closely. But after we met, and I shared, most of them were at ease and on board…except him.

He ran his own business and was quite successful in his own right. Who did I think I was calling meetings and issuing “ultimatums” to a bunch of good-hearted volunteers?

Needless to say, my boss had a few words with me and assured me, I was doing the right thing, but I better figure out a strategy real quick to deal with the hornet’s nest I had just knocked over.

Truthfully, in part, I was a little ticked myself. I, mean, one of the main reasons I was hired was to “fix” this problem. And now, it seemed I would be hung out to dry because somebody got their feelings hurt. But I also wanted what was best for all parties involved. So I reached out to him.

I called, he wouldn’t answer. When I would see him, from time to time in the building, I would speak and he would just nod at me with a semi-menacing look. He wouldn’t acknowledge me or my meetings. He wasn’t budging and he made it clear.

Then one day, unannounced, he showed up at my office. “You hungry?” Totally “bumfuzzelled,” I stammered, “I could eat a bite.”

For the next three years, we rarely missed a week for lunch. To date, some of my fondest memories happened around somebody being obstinately opposed to me.

In life, the hard people, places and things make you better. God uses them to prove you and teach you what’s on the inside. And, the truth be told, those moments make for the best stories!

Patient persistence pierces through indifference; gentle speech breaks down rigid defenses. MSG

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