GENTLE PERSUASION - The Warrior's Journey®


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For more than twenty years, French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) physicist Jean Duprat and his colleagues have been collecting snow samples in central Antarctica. What have they been looking for? Extraterrestrial dust, i.e. micrometeorites. These dust particles are very small, measuring between 30 and 200 micrometers. Keep in mind a human hair averages about 70 micrometers in width.

What are their conclusions? First, the source of these dust particles varies between comets from the Kuiper Belt (80%) and particles from the Asteroid Belt (20%).

But of greater consequence, Dr. Duprat determined that, each year, about 5,200 tons of these micrometeorites fall to the earth. This is in stark contrast to larger meteorites. Each year only about 10 tons of meteorites reach the surface of the earth – out of the 10,000 tons which plunge to our planet. In contrast, about 5,200 tons of micrometeorites reach the earth’s surface.

Why this disparity – 5,200 tons vs. 10 tons? Larger meteors and meteorites hit the earth’s atmosphere with far greater force and speed and, therefore, almost always burn up before reaching the ground. In contrast, micrometeorites or dust particles tend to float down as they fall to earth. Though their descent is slower and less detectable, it is far more successful in reaching the earth’s surface.

This disparity of success between the larger and heavier meteorites vs. the smaller and much lighter micrometeorites has a profound application to human interaction. A gentler and slower approach to influence and persuasion is far more successful, than a heavy-handed one. A forceful effort to motivate others only works when rank and punishment for disobedience are behind it. And continued forcefulness will breed resentment and eventual resistance. Like the meteorite that burns up in the atmosphere, the perpetually angry and hostile leader will self-destruct. And he or she will only leave a trail of resentment behind them. Too often, such force is employed in the absence of brains and skill.

The Bible teaches that “A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words only stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife. But the one who is slow to anger pacifies contention” (Proverbs 15:18). “Patient persistence pierces through indifference; gentle speech breaks down rigid defenses” (Proverbs 25:15, MSG). Jesus told us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).

Doesn’t it make more sense to use such skill and tact in our influence so that the other person doesn’t even know they’re being persuaded? Isn’t it wiser to convince those we seek to win over, that it’s in their best interest to do so? That it’s their choice to do so? It’s certainly a smarter strategy than giving the impression that we’re ‘out to conquer others.’  That approach guarantees stiff resistance.

Never forget what almost resulted from Nabal’s haughty response to David (1 Samuel 25). He and his household came close to annihilation. Only the kind and tactful words of Abigail prevented massive bloodshed. And keep in mind Reheboam’s disastrous “heavy-handed” approach to leadership (1 Kings 12). It backfired badly and lost him most of his kingdom. This is why Jesus assured us, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

Gentle persuasion and tactfulness are critical to effective leadership and influence. “Nothing is so strong as gentleness; nothing so gentle as real strength” (Saint Francis de Sales).


PRAYER:  Dear Father in heaven, please help me to wise up. Train me, dear Father, to be slow to anger, but ready to forgive. Give me the love, skill, and wisdom to be a peacemaker and to defuse volatile situations. Teach me the value of gentle persuasion and tactfulness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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