Honey > Vinegar
Have you heard of this statement? “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” The meaning of it goes something like, “Reaching people by patience and gentleness works better than by arguments and confrontation.” Vinegar is sour. While you might catch some flies with vinegar, something sweet—like honey—works far better. People are like flies. We are drawn by kindness and love more so than by rebuke and correction.
This is a lesson I am learning more and more through pastoral ministry. I would have always said that kindness is the way, but I haven’t always known what that looked like. It’s one thing to know conceptually or academically that “mercy triumphs over judgment,” but its another thing to know what and how that looks relationally in normal, everyday life, with people who have real pain and struggle (Jas 2:13). I have had to learn, through my own sins and mistakes, that vinegar isn’t the best attractant. Honey works a lot better.
If you’ve been someone who has received vinegar from me when I should have given honey, I apologize and sincerely ask for your forgiveness. God is chipping away at my sins and immaturities. Despite myself, God is helping me mature relationally. Although the process is painful for those I have hurt, I trust that God is working in our midst. Thank you for being a part of my sanctification process. I need you. You need me. We need each other.