Hot Buttons and Gentleness

Do you know what your “hot buttons” are? Almost everyone has at least one. That one topic or phrase that causes your blood pressure to rise and your mouth to engage before your brain.

Even worse, do other people know what your hot buttons are?

Many of us have people in our lives who seem to have a talent for getting under our skin. Our normally calm demeanor shifts as soon as we’re in their presence. We may become defensive, watching for even the slightest offense. We may even prepare snappy comebacks, anticipating their negative remarks.

Ah, but God’s children are to respond differently to the difficult people in our lives. He calls us to bathe our responses in gentleness. Rather than escalate tensions, Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) reminds us “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  And isn’t there enough anger in our world already?

Sadly, our culture often dismisses gentleness as a sign of weakness. But gentleness is just the opposite. It is actually a sign of strong people who are in control of their emotions and behavior.

The key is surrendering those hot button areas to the control of the Holy Spirit, because gentleness is His fruit.

Here’s the bonus: as we learn to respond with gentleness, our hot buttons will soon cool off, and our gentle responses will yield the fruit of peace. And that’s something we all want.

[Adapted from Daily Reflections on the Names of God, (Revell) by Ava Pennington.]

Ava Pennington

After a 20-year corporate career, Ava Pennington is thoroughly enjoying her second career as an author, teacher, and speaker. Her book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is published by Revell Books and endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precepts Ministries. Ava has also written for numerous magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse. Her work has been published in 30+ anthologies, including 25 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Ava also teaches a weekly Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. When she’s not writing and teaching, Ava enjoys playing with her mischievous 5-year-old Boxers, Duke & Daisy. For more information, visit

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